05. Manuel Esquivel

Sir Manuel Amadeo Esquivel, KCMG, PC (born 2 May 1940) is a Belizean politician. As leader of the United Democratic Party, he served as Prime Minister from 1984 to 1989, and then again from 1993 to 1998.

Esquivel was born in Belize City when it was still the capital of the United Kingdom colony of British Honduras. He attended St John’s College and later earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physics at Loyola University New Orleans; he subsequently pursued postgraduate studies in physics at Bristol University, England.

After the 1969 British Honduras election Esquivel became head of the pro-business Liberal Party, which merged with two other parties in 1973 to form the United Democratic Party.[1] Esquivel was the UDP nominee for the Belize House of Representatives in the Freetown constituency in the 1979 election, but was defeated by then-Premier of Belize George Cadle Price.[2] He was instead appointed as a minority member of the Belize Senate.[3] Esquivel defeated Philip Goldson for the open UDP leadership post in January 1983, becoming the first and thus far only politician to be elected leader of a major Belizean political party as a senator. Acting opposition leader Curl Thompson stayed on as the UDP’s House leader until the next election.[1]

Esquivel won election to the House of Representatives from the newly created Belize City-based Caribbean Shores constituency in December 1984, becoming prime minister for the first time shortly thereafter.[4] He held the seat until the 1998 election, in which he was defeated by the PUP’s Jose Coye.[5]

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