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Elmira Minita Gordon

Dame Elmira Minita Gordon GCMG GCVO JP (born 30 December 1930)[1] was the first Governor General of Belize from its independence in 1981–1993.[2] Gordon is to date the only woman to have served as Governor General of Belize. She was also the first trained Belizean psychologist having received both a Masters and Doctorate Degree in psychology. She is one of the very few "double dames", having, in her case, been knighted in two separate orders: the Order of St Michael and St George and the Royal Victorian Order.

Elmira Minita Gordon

Governor General of Belize
In office
21 September 1981 – 17 November 1993
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterGeorge Cadle Price
Manuel Esquivel
George Cadle Price
Manuel Esquivel
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byColville Young
Personal details
Born (1930-12-30) 30 December 1930 (age 88)
Belize City, British Honduras
(now Belize)
EducationUniversity of Nottingham
University of Birmingham
University of Calgary
University of Toronto (Master's, Educational Psychology; Ph.D., Applied Psychology)


Elmira Minita Gordon was born 30 December 1930 in Belize City, British Honduras.[3] She grew up in Belize City and attended St. John's Girls' School and then St. Mary's Primary. She continued her education at St. George's Teacher's College [4] and furthered her studies through a correspondence course from the College of Preceptors, Oxford, England. She began teaching at an Anglican school and was a missionary throughout Belize between 1946 and 1958. From 1959 to 1969, she was a lecturer at the Belize Teacher's Training College,[5] after which, from 1969 to 1981, she was a Government Education Officer.[3]

Gordon completed her postgraduate education at the University of Nottingham and University of Birmingham in England and the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada.[4] Between 1977 and 1980, Gordon was in Canada where she served on the Educational Psychology Programme Planning Committee and was a member of the Toronto Leather Craft Club. She earned her master's degree in Educational Psychology and then a Doctorate in Applied Psychology from the University of Toronto, Canada,[5] becoming the first trained Belizean psychologist.

She returned from her studies in 1980[4] and in 1981 was appointed Governor General of Belize.[6] She succeeded James P. I. Hennessy, last Governor General of British Honduras, and became the first Governor General of Belize upon Belizean's gaining their Independence.[7]

Gordon was the first woman to be appointed as Governor General, or the queen's representative, of a Commonwealth realm.[8] She was promoted to both Dame Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG)[9] and Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO).[10]

Dame Elmira Gordon was a member of the girl guides from 1946,[4] and in 1970 became the District Commissioner of the Girl Guides for the Belize district.[5] She became a Justice of the Peace in 1974[4] and a senior Justice of the Peace in 1987.[3] Gordon received a lifetime membership of the British Red Cross in 1975,[4] and in the Belizean Red Cross in 1981. In addition to her public works, Gordon was a master leather crafts artisan having won numerous prizes for her works.[3]


  1. ^ Profile of Elmira Minita Gordon
  2. ^ Biodata,; accessed 20 July 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d Sleeman 2001, p. 210.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Belize's First Governor General is Trailblazer of the Week". Belize City, Belize: Guardian. 4 September 2014. Archived from the original on 3 September 2015. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  5. ^ a b c "Belizean Biographies – Dame Elmira Minita Gordon". Belize National Library Service and Information System (BNLSIS). Belize City, Belize: Belize National Library Service. Archived from the original on 3 September 2015. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  6. ^ "Women Governors-General 1945-2005". Terra España. Terra España. 2001. Archived from the original on 29 August 2005. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  7. ^ Lentz 2014, p. 84.
  8. ^ Greer, Germaine (18 February 2008). "No job for a human". Docklands, Victoria, Australia: The Age. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  9. ^ "Honours and Awards" (49665). London, England: The London Gazette. 6 March 1984. p. 3253. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  10. ^ "Honours and Awards" (50333). London, UK: The London Gazette. 29 November 1985. p. 16780. Retrieved 3 September 2015.


Political offices
New office Governor General of Belize
Succeeded by
Colville Young