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The Alexander Frankson affair of 1953

FeaturesThe Alexander Frankson affair of 1953

(by Assad Shoman, from THE BIRTH OF THE NATIONALIST MOVEMENT, pg. 217 of the Second Edition of Readings in Belizean History, published by BELIZEAN STUDIES and edited by Lita Hunter Krohn.) 

The BILLBOARD had protested the appointment of A. Frankson, a Jamaican, to a post in the civil service over the heads of locals in the service. The Civil Service Association (which was always in favour of the colonial government and hence anti-PUP) condemned this article as politically irresponsible.

The National Party and others welcomed the occasion to accuse the PUP/GWU of racial prejudice, saying they opposed the appointment for the following reasons, (the terms used by the BILLBOARD are used here): that they hope to stir up dissension among people of Negro extraction here so that people of non-Negro extraction may one day control our affairs; in order to build up a feeling against West Indians to prevent Federation and West Indian immigration; and to build a non-Negro majority to lead the country into Guatemala as a department of that republic.

The BILLBOARD answered by stating that the GWU is the only organization in the country which can show a registered membership of any size from every racial stock of the country; that the PUP and GWU have often said they have nothing against West Indians, and many West Indians in Stann Creek are GWU members, but that they are against Federation on economic grounds and against any immigration that displaces local labor or tends to reduce wages; and that, finally, the PUP and GWU have always said “that this country belongs neither to Britain … nor to Guatemala … but to us who for a couple of centuries have inhabited it and are now as much a nation as any other …”

The BILLBOARD perhaps thought it too undignified to point out that most of the PUP-GWU leaders, including the Party Leader, were of Negro extraction, but this was clearly not missed by the people. In the end, the charge of racial prejudice did not stick at all, and it was to the charge that the PUP was selling out to Guatemala that the National Party and the colonial government finally threw all their weight behind.

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