She made her mark in the local communities and in the local arts …. And tonight, many are mourning the passing of seventy five year-old, Rita Mae Flowers. Her nephew, Paul Flowers spent most of his formative years with Miss Rita Mae and recalls his aunt’s passion for music, the arts and discipline as well as her shift towards a passion to the spiritual things.
PAUL FLOWERS: “Aunt Rita was a trail blazer her entire life. I see her life in five very strategic categories. Her life started at the National Library where she really first began famously with the children of Belize. She was known by everyone in Belize for her disciplinarian ways. When the library of Belize was the holy grail and every child had to go there before the days of the internet and she was the disciplinarian. You had to be quite, she walked all around Belize going to the different school libraries, generally on her bicycle around Belize City that was where everyone first really got to know her. The next phase of her life that was really a huge impact to Belize was with the arts and that was when she and a part of her group of her talented Belizeans formed a group. She then went on to Minorettes fame where she was really deep and into the Queen of the Bay and the Belizean Kriol culture. She did a lot of Kriol folklore and a lot of theater things with the Children’s Festival of arts and then she moved on to that Minoretts group which we know lead the carnival every year for the last fifteen or twenty years and led the 10th parade going back almost 30 years. Was part of the lead group of people who started the Independence Day parade on the 21st.”
Paul spoke about some of the work she did in her late years, which was leaning more towards Christianity and developed a feeding program for a group she developed in Collet area called the Alpha and Omega Ministry.
PAUL FLOWERS: “Aunt Rita also had a political period where she used to be on a first name basis and worked on a day to day basis with the likes of Phillip Goldson and Said Musa, Assad Shoman and George Price all these people who would have been calling her house in the early 1970s and late 1960s and even visiting her house on a daily basis and that is how she really got to know a lot of these national figures. Aunt Rita in the later part of her years around age 50 she became a born again Christian and she attacked that with the same fire of Rita Flowers, she was one of the mothers of the new revelation band. She led that group spiritually for many many years. She found the Children’s Ministry for the children in the Collet Division and she became an ordained Minister late in her life and performed funerals and wedding and founded the Alpha and Omega Ministries in the Collet area.”
Flowers say that his aunt was tough on discipline and would always push them to stand up for their rights and working hard.
PAUL FLOWERS: “As an aunt and mother she made us. She used to always tell us that we needed to get exposed, she pushed the arts in us and the international travel, she insisted that we needed to get out there and see the rest of the world and know what the rest of the world is like. She was the consulate disciplinarian. She is famous to have put a spanking on every single member of the family; every aunt, nephew, child, cousin, everyone has felt her disciplinary hand and I felt that it was her discipline that has really allowed myself and the rest of my family to have the discipline necessary to do some of the education that we have exposed ourselves to and the achievements that we have in government and other areas in our lives; that all came from a discipline that she was able to instill in us from really early in our lives at a time when Belize was a very different place”
Rita Mehatibel Flowers died last night and funeral arrangements have not been finalized.