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Former Parliamentarian turns 100

Jane Ellen Usher is today celebrating her centennial year. Our young viewers and listeners may not be too familiar with Mrs. Usher, but she is one of Belize’s highly accomplished women. Many Belize City residents may also be familiar with her as she is the current Chief Executive Officer at the Holy Redeemer Credit Union. She has held that position since 1956 and that is why she is also known as the longest running CEO in the country. But that’s just part of her legacy. Mrs. Usher was born in 1917 and has served in the People’s United Party as a Cabinet member of Health and Cooperatives, President of the Senate, and member of the House of Representatives. Today, the media visited her at her workplace in Belize City where her colleagues, friends and family celebrated her 100th birthday. She told our colleagues at KREM this morning that it felt like any other day.

CEO of Holy Redeemer Credit Union, Jane Usher: “Today is worthy of a celebration we have Jane Usher who is 100 years old today. American women actually got the passage of the 19th Amendment which granted them the right to vote in 1919, she is older than that. She has been one of the icons in our Belizean history, in our Belizean women’s history and I think we really need to pay tribute to her. When we look at her achievements they are very stellar. From 1979-1984 she was first the Deputy Minister of Housing and Cooperative she actually served in opposition. When the PUP lost in 1984 Jane Usher was the only seat of the ten constituencies that was won and she did it because of her brother George Price. He asked her for him to try to secure independence to take care of the Pickstock division. She is a woman who was the president of the Senate. She has a daughter who has been speaker of the House and President and Senate in the person of Elizabeth Zabaneh. She raised ten outstanding children, what is there not to honor. She is really a part of Belizean history and today is her birthday and it’s an excellent day to say thank you and happy birthday.”

Executive Director of the National Women’s Commission, Ann Marie Williams says Mrs. Usher is a remarkable and exemplary Belizean woman.

CEO of Holy Redeemer Credit Union, Jane Usher:  “How I got this job only the dear lord knows because I was getting $30 a week at Landivar, I knew nothing about the credit union. My husband was in charge of the credit union and he got ill and he was sent abroad for medical attention so the Bishop appointed somebody but the poor fellow got into a terrible thing with his employer so they brought him from there and I couldn’t even make out one of these things so I sat down and I just said I go and get old thing at Love FM I can follow suit and I can get into it but when it comes to money I don’t know. So I told ‘count it and put it there.’ ‘How much is that?’ and they put it down they were really good to me and now I can school them I’ve learned so much from them.”

Reporter: “And you have no plans to retire any time soon right?”

CEO of Holy Redeemer Credit Union, Jane Usher: “I have been retired so many times and rehired so maybe if they send me home again and they don’t retire me then I have to stay home. But you know what I do if I stay home? Pick up my embroidery, sit down and just swing my feet and embroider so I have it all planned.”

Dr. Usher who was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Galen University played a significant role in the development of the Holy Redeemer Credit Union (HRCU). In March, the US Embassy recognized Dr. Jane Ellen Mary Usher as the Embassy’s Woman of the Year 2017 for her life-long contributions to economic empowerment and dedicated public service. These awards are part of the larger effort by the U.S. Government to promote gender equality and empower women and girls in America and around the world.