In the space of five years, from 1969 to 1974, Philip Goldson was reduced from Leader of the NIP to Party Whip of the UDP, but his reduction in rank was not processed in a convention. In other words, it was not a democratic exercise which removed Goldson as Opposition Leader.
As fate had it, these five years were the very five years which marked the existence of the United Black Association for Development (UBAD) and the UBAD Party. So, what happened to Goldson affected me then and affects me now.
I have discussed this period on many different occasions in this newspaper, but I have never discussed the period in its entirety, because I have tried to keep Mr. Goldson’s personal life out of the discussion. But there is somewhat of a mystery which can only be explained if Mr. Goldson’s personal life is taken into account.
In retrospect, Mr. Goldson’s last major, public decision as NIP Leader was to run the December 1971 Belize City Council elections in a coalition with the young and radical UBAD Party, which was led by myself. There were six NIP candidates and three UBAD candidates. The three UBAD were myself, Ismail Shabazz and Clifford Leslie (deceased).
We UBAD candidates submitted ourselves entirely to the leadership, and followed the instructions of, Mr. Goldson. Leslie is dead, but you can confirm this with Shabazz. In the middle of the campaign, I felt that we should do something dramatic. I suggested we hold a public meeting without the required permit. Mr. Goldson’s Deputy NIP Leaders, Simeon Hassock (a former magistrate) and Buntin Fuller (a former Superintendent of Police), immediately rejected such an idea, and so we continued all the way to the election night disaster.
It has always seemed to me that on the night of the counting at St. Mary’s Hall, when it became obvious that the NIP/UBAD coalition would lose, we UBAD, who had been the apprentices, were suddenly thrust into leadership. It was we UBAD who faced a jeering PUP crowd outside of St. Mary’s Hall about 6:30 a.m. the December 9, 1971, morning after the counting was completed.
A few weeks after that, early in 1972, Mr. Goldson went to London to study law. His wife had flown to New York City with the couple’s six children. After that, nothing official was ever heard during her time in New York of Mrs. Hadie Goldson, who had herself qualified as a lawyer in London in 1965. I have one source who has told me that she worked as a legal clerk in New York. That is all.
Early in 1973, things unraveled at the executive level in the UBAD Party, which saw its 10-member executive split right down the middle. The issue which divided the UBAD leadership was the terms under which we should work with the Unity Congress, the template which became the United Democratic Party in September of 1973.
Because we had been so close inside UBAD, the division between the two UBAD factions was bitter, and as 1973 became 1974, my overall situation became worse and worse. All the energies of those Belizeans who had various reasons for opposing the PUP, were being thrown into the UDP election campaign. And it was a case in the UDP of “who is not with me, is against me.” I was out in the cold in 1974, and the only man who could save me was Philip Goldson.
I knew that Shubu Brown also eagerly awaited Mr. Goldson’s return to Belize for the 1974 general elections. Shubu was like Luca Brasi, whose loyalty was to The Godfather alone and above all. I believe that Shubu Brown would have given his life for Mr. Goldson, and he was suspicious of the new UDP’s intentions for Mr. Goldson.
I had been Mr. Philip’s last major ally before he went to London in January of 1972. Although he had not spoken or written a word to me during his time in London, I expected that on his return he would ask to see me. It didn’t happen. Whatever the reason(s), on his return Mr. Goldson said not a word to me.
I knew then that I was completely isolated, and that the UBAD experience had come to an end. The only honourable way out was to run as a UBAD Party candidate in the October 1974 general elections, and then dissolve the party.
It was not until 1981, and the Heads of Agreement, that Mr. Goldson and I renewed our relationship. This reunion was brokered by Odinga Lumumba. Mrs. Hadie Goldson remained in New York. Mr. Philip’s faithful companion was Miss Emma Boiton. But in the final years of Mr. Goldson’s life, which were spent in Belmopan, Miss Emma and the NABR party had no access to him.
I think Miss Emma has become an institution in her own right. I do not believe that is a status she has sought, because her humility is there for all to see. But her sincerity, steadfastness and courage have impressed Belizeans. She was there for Mr. Goldson, day and night, when no one else was there.
Power to the people.