by Charles Gladden
BELIZE CITY, Wed. Jan. 31, 2024
The Philip Goldson bust – an iconic statue that is situated at the entrance of its namesake highway near Pallotti High School in Belize City – was struck down very early in the morning of September 9 (around 3:00 a.m.) of last year by a drunken taxi driver, just a few hours before the start of the country’s traditional Tenth of September parade through the main streets of Belize City.
After being damaged and removed for maintenance, the city entrance was left with a hole inside, as residents of the city along with commuters from neighboring communities in the north witnessed the void area, once a symbol that paid homage to one of the country’s national heroes.
For almost four months that void was there, but weeks before this article was published works were in the pipeline to construct barriers to prevent a reoccurrence of the same incident when the bust was back up again.
“We had to ensure that we put in bollards because I wanted to ensure that if you hit the bollards, then your vehicle would be deflected instead of hitting the monument. We had to put some additional reinforcement in the base so [if] you do hit the base, it will not tilt over. The last one was a wooden structure, and this one was a mass concrete. I don’t think it should be tilted over again,” said Evondale Moody, Chief Engineer at the Ministry of Infrastructure, Development & Housing.
Now, in this week’s publication of Amandala, we are glad to inform our readers of the return of the missed and beloved bust. While the Goldson bust will have historical context for many Belizeans and especially its elder generation, younger Belizeans who seem to have lost touch with the Jewel’s history might not be aware of the importance of Goldson.
Philip Goldson was a founding member for both of Belize’s current major political parties, the People’s United Party (PUP) and the United Democratic Party (UDP) in the 1950s and 1970s, respectively. He served in the House of Representatives as a member of the Albert constituency from 1965 to 1998 and twice as a minister.
Aside from his political career, he was an activist, the leading spokesman in the anti-Guatemalan territorial claim National Alliance for Belizean Rights party in the 1990s. Additionally, a talented writer, he was a skilled journalist who was the editor of The Belize Billboard.
In 1989, the country’s international airport was renamed the Philp S. W. Goldson International Airport. Shortly before his passing in 2001 at the age of 78, he was awarded the Order of Belize and in 2008, Goldson was awarded the country’s highest honour, the Order of the National Hero.
The bust was first unveiled to the public in 2007 and was placed in downtown Belize City on Albert Street, then moved a few months later in 2008 to its present location.