Hon. Philip Goldson, Belize National Hero

Hon. Philip Goldson, Belize National Hero

  • Hon. Philip Goldson, Belize National Hero

Philip Goldson (1919- 2011)

The following is a biographical profile of the Hon. Philip Goldson, National Hero of Belize:

  • Phillip Stanley Wilberforce Goldson was born on 25th July, 1923 in Belize City to Peter Edward Goldson and his wife, Florence Matilda Babb Goldson.
  • He attended St. Mary’s Primary School and attended night classes in order to sit the Cambridge overseas Junior Certificate exams which he successfully passed. In 1941 he took the Senior School Exam and again obtained his certificate.
  • Goldson was one of the founding members of the People’s Committee formed on December 31, 1949 in response to the devaluation of the Belize dollar. Later he would also become one of the founding members of the People’s United Party.
  • In 1951, an article from The Belize Billboard had suggested that “there are two roads to Independence: evolution and revolution.” For that article, both Leigh Richardson and Phillip Goldson were convicted of “seditious Intention” and sentenced to one year with hard labor.
  • It was commonly thought that Goldson and Richardson were jailed by colonial authorities so that The Belize Billboard, an anti-colonial mouth piece could no longer be published. However, with the help of a prison warden Goldson and Richardson wrote the articles for the newspaper on toilet paper. This was smuggled out on a daily basis and delivered to the Governor’s own cook, who then secretly delivered the articles to the Belize Billboard Press.
  • Goldson was highly regarded among Belizeans for his stance on what he called the “Unfounded Guatemalan Claim”. For this reason, he never lost an election and was elected each time because it was felt that he would not waiver in protecting Belize from any threat of making concessions to Guatemala
  • Goldson rejected the notion of negotiations, because Belize’s existence was non-negotiable. He asserted that “Belize belongs to all Belizeans and as such, we have a duty, right and responsibility to protect and preserve Belize.”
  • It was commonly thought that Goldson and Richardson were jailed by colonial authorities so that The Belize Billboard, an anti-colonial mouth piece could no longer be published. However, with the help of a prison warden Goldson and Richardson wrote the articles for the newspaper on toilet paper. This was smuggled out on a daily basis and delivered to the Governor’s own cook, who then secretly delivered the articles to the Belize Billboard Press.
  • As a result of deeply rooted disagreements with The People’s United Party, he resigned and formed the Honduras Independence Party. By 1958, HIP joined with the National Party to form the National Independence Party of which he remained leader up to 1979.
  • In 1973 NIP joined two other political parties, the People’s Development Movement (PDM) and the Liberal Party to form the United Democratic Party.
  • While in his 50’s Goldson went to London to read law, and became a lawyer when he was called to the bar at Lincoln’s Inn in London and then to the Belize City bar. After his return he was elected to the House of Representatives and served between 1969 and 1974 as the one-man opposition.
  • By 1984, Goldson won his seat and his party won the national elections. He became blind due to glaucoma and was an advocate for persons with this disability up to the time of his death. He also strongly advocated for the freedom
    of speech and for the empowerment of women in Belize.
  • Was offered US citizenship, but refused because he felt that if he was to serve the people of Belize, he should do so with all its difficulties, he did not want an escape route.
  • By January of 1992, Goldson was instrumental in the formation of The National Alliance for Belizean Rights (NABR) because he had opposed the passing of the controversial Maritime Areas Bill.
  • On October 3, 2001, Phillip Goldson was laid to rest, honoured with the Order of Belize and a State funeral.

 

Information & Photos Courtesy: Florence Goldson, Belize Archives Records and Services, and ISCR/NICH

 

How to cite:

 

ISCR/NICH. “Hon. Philip Goldson, Belize National Hero.” Belize’s Heroes, Patriots & Benefactors Exhibit. Retrieved from: http://belizehistoryassociation.org/course/philip-goldson/

 

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