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Lawrence Vernon discusses UBAD history

After being born as the United Black Culture Association at a lecture on Black History given by Evan Hyde at the Bliss Institute in September 1968, the United Black Association for Development (U.B.A.D.) on February 9, 1969 adopted a constitution and elected officers. Its aims were described as “cultural” and “educational”; and several public meetings were held in Belize City and the towns in an effort to gain support.

Along with UBAD there sprang up a similar organization called the People’s Action Committee (PAC), whose main aim and objective was “the changing of a corrupt and oppressive system to a system which ensured freedom, justice and equality for all.” While UBAD emphasized the cultural aspect of the struggle, PAC emphasized the political.

In October 1969 UBAD and PAC joined together under the name Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM), with the following officers: President, Evan Hyde; Vice-President, Assad Shoman; Treasurer, Ismail Shabazz; Chairman, Alfred Faber.

Hyde and Shabazz were charged with sedition conspiracy on March 5, 1970. The Supreme Court case ended on July 7, with both being acquitted.

UBAD RAM moved gradually into the political arena, and by July 15, 1970, had declared itself a political party. On August 12, 1970, the following were elected officers: President, Evan Hyde; Vice-Chairman, Galento X Neal; Chairman, Charles X Stamp.

In April 1971 the UBAD Party and the National Independence Party set up a joint working committee to discuss the upcoming City Council elections. Of particular interest were the need for radio time and the 18-year-old vote; and on June 25, members of the Party marched non-violently through the streets of Belize City demanding favorable action on these two subjects.

UBAD contested the City Council elections on December 8, 1971, but none of the Belize City Coalition (NIP/UBAD) nine was successful.

On June 1, 1972, a UBAD sponsored demonstration marking the end of activities relating to the Pan African Liberation Week, ended in demonstrators stoning the Guatemalan Consulate building and government and business offices.

Evan X Hyde, President of the UBAD Party, unsuccessfully contested general elections on October 30, 1974, as a candidate in the Collet Division.

The UBAD Party phased itself out after the elections, on a farewell note that all that remained of UBAD was a feeling of spirit and the Amandala newspaper which had been attempting to give independent, impartial political reports.

Although during its brief history the UBAD Party seemed a very loose and undefined organization from the outside, in reality it was a very tight, cohesive and disciplined Party internally.

(Amandala Publisher’s NOTE:) The above article by eminent Belizean librarian, Lawrence Vernon, was originally published in READINGS IN BELIZEAN HISTORY (Second Edition) published by BELIZEAN STUDIES, St. John’s College, in May of 1987. The article was entitled “A history of political parties in Belize,” by Larry Vernon.

As I pointed out in a column earlier this year, the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of UBAD was marked in February of 1969. The occasion was completely ignored by Belizean academics, as indeed the history of the organization had been ignored by such academics through the decades since UBAD was dissolved in 1974. Although I find several instances where Mr. Vernon has not been absolutely accurate in his discourse here, I truly and seriously appreciate the fact that he made the effort to chronicle the activities of our group. No one else in Belize’s academic world has done so.

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