While Independence was being ushered in, historians and family members were saying goodbye to a man who help build the foundation of the United Democratic Party. Family and friends gathered to bid farewell to Dean Russel Lindo at an official funeral. Lindo died last week after a long illness. Minister Michael Finnegan, Lindo’s personal friend, delivered some of the highlights of Lindo’s political career.
Minister Michael Finnegan: “He did not like to see the way that things were going in his beloved British Honduras now Belize and that is what prompted him to step into the offices of the Honorable Philip Goldson and join the political process. You may recall that at one time the opposition never won the Belize City municipality. Under his leadership we won for the first time the Belize City Council Election in 1974 and repeated in 1977. During all those years while he was in the leadership of the UDP things were not always easy for Dean Russell Lindo. As in most mass organization there will always be persons of divergent thoughts and views. Most of them will be sincere but there will also be those who are disingenuous and pernicious and with all the obstacles he faced no whispering, no bad attitudes, no bad mouthing, no devious and pernicious behavior could drive him away from his beloved United Democratic Party. Dean Russell Lindo continued his political career and when the United Democratic Party made the breakthrough in 1984 under the leadership of the Right Honorable Manuel Esquivel he was appointed Minister of Natural resources and Minister of Agriculture and fisheries. He again contested the seat in the Fort George Division in 89 and lost and the UDP lost as well. That would have been his last election as he retired from electoral politics. He remained active in the affairs of his beloved United Democratic Party giving freely of his advice and experience and lending his grand eloquent brain to the challenges facing his party from time to time.
Finnegan also spoke about the close relationship between him and Lindo and the positive impact he had on his life.
Minister Michael Finnegan: “Without his mentorship and political guidance I would not be the man that I am today. Standing here proud and tall and giving testimony on behalf of this gargantuan figure. In my case I will say without hesitation that he fed me, he clothed me, he shletereed me, he educated me.”
As his remembrance came to an end, Finnegan bid farewell to Lindo.
Minister Michael Finnegan: “Today we bid farewell to our Stallia, not only of our beloved United Democratic Party but of our country Belize on a whole. His legacy is humongous and will live on in the history of this country.”
During his time in government, Lindo served as the Minister of Natural Resources and Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. He was also a significant figure in the development of the first Jaguar and Marine Reserve. Lindo also spearheaded research on organic alternatives to chemical fertilizers and pesticides and brought in new legislation against the importation of dangerous commercial agricultural products while also initiating a national Tropical Forestry Action Plan, guiding Belizeans towards sustainable forest exploitation.