Labor leader, editor, journalist and an excellent public official in the former British Honduras (today Belize) during the second half of the 20th century.

Philip Stanley Wilberforce Goldson was born in Belize City in 1923. The second son of Peter Edward Goldson and Florencia Matilde Babb Goldson, Philip Stanley came from a humble background but showed his determination at an early age by taking night classes and earning his high school degree in 1949 as a reward for his efforts and dedication.

The Civil Service Chronicle, the newspaper of the Civil Service Office in British Honduras gave young Goldson his first opportunity as a journalist. He also contributed to Outlook, the Saint John College Literary Society magazine, and to the BBC in London. His civic and social awareness led him to sympathize with the working class and in 1949 he became an organizer for the General Workers Union and later served as its secretary general.

In 1950, along with John Smith, George Price and Leigh Richardson, Goldson was a founding member of the People’s United Party (PUP). A year later, using the Belize Billboard as his platform, Goldson criticized the ruling colonial system. His words were not well received by the British authorities and he was imprisoned for a year. Once he was free, Goldson continued his political efforts and won a seat in the colonial legislature in 1954. His legislative work was focused mainly on social services, social welfare and community development. In 1955, for example, he supported the reconstruction of the town of Corozal after it was destroyed by Hurricane Janet. He was also an ardent defender of free public education and he guarded the retirement rights of teachers. Under his incumbency, the Department of Housing and Urbanism was created and was directed by Henry C. Fairweather.

Political disagreements led Goldson to dissolve the PUP and form the National Independence Party (NIP), in which he served as secretary. In the 1970s, the NIP joined with two other opposition parties, the People’s Development Movement and the Liberal Party, to form the United Democratic Party (UDP).

In 1984, representing the UDP, Goldson became the social services minister. His work resulted in the creation of social institutions such as the Department of Women’s Affairs, the Family Court, the Belize City Department of Urban Development and the Division of Handicapped Services.

In 1954, he married Hadie Jones and they had six children: Phillip, Dale, Adrian, Karen-Anne, Ann Margaret and Florencia. Philip Stanley Wilberforce Goldson died in October of 2001. A new terminal at the Belize international airport was named in his honor.

Author: Grupo Editorial
Published: June 11, 2012.

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