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May 3, 2013

Sculptor now forging Antonio Soberanis

You might think that business expert, politician, author, community activist and sculptor Stephen Okeke would have his hands full. You might also think that after all the trials, tribulations and controversy surrounding his bust of Phillip Goldson that he would have sworn off sculpting. But you would be wrong. In fact, Okeke is in the end stages of another project and yes, it is another bust. This one is of famous union leader Antonio Soberanis. Today, Okeke told us how he came up with the idea for the bust and the challenges he faced. He also told us that his bust is the real deal, and should replace the bust of Soberanis currently placed at the Battlefield Park.


Stephen Okeke, Sculptor

Stephen Okeke

“It was actually in 2001 when I was contemplating for possible locations for the sculptor of Phillip Goldson that I was at the Battlefield Park discussing with Doctor Barrow and suggesting where I can put it in the Battlefield Park. The man screamed so hard that you can’t try this; this Battlefield Park is Antonio Soberanis. Who is Antonio Soberanis? You are so dramatic about it; you are so passionate. Who is Antonio Soberanis? And then he began telling me about his great man who worked so hard for Belizeans and sacrificed so much for the liberal rights of workers. And I asked where is the memorial to his honor. He said it’s somewhere behind there. And I said no man, a man of such stature deserves something better. It was difficult because they did not have photographs or documentaries on Antonio Soberanis at the library or at the archives department. So I put it on the social media to see if I can get photographs. I couldn’t get and I just began making rough search. And after some time I was able to type in the right search and found so many kinds of Antonio Soberanis and picked out so many photographs. Eventually some Belizeans confirmed that this one could be the one that is Antonio Soberanis. And is when I began to work. Having gone through that process and as usual, I don’t bring to public I have to find a basis for discussion. And I brought the family together including his eighty-four year old son and they were very pleased on what they saw. I’m looking forward to having a discussion with the mayor whenever he has the chance. I’ve been trying to meet him for a very long time. I have spoken to the family. You can see the family well represented in the photographs. They are okay and very pleased about it. We are not contemplating where it should be. It should just be a replacement for what was done before given the service that were available. The service available right now wasn’t in Belize. So whoever did whatever was good enough then. But when the best comes, others will have to be kept aside.”


Okeke’s bust of Phillip Goldson, after a tumultuous period, has finally been laid to rest on the median near the flag monument in Belize City.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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2 Responses for “Sculptor now forging Antonio Soberanis”

  1. history minded says:

    I hate to be the first one to say it.. It doesn’t too much like Antonio Soberanis..

    No pictures at Library and Archives?! It’s laughable. Of course there is.

    Stephen, please don’t hide it in your backyard then go about in FB asking where the bust is..

  2. history minded says:

    Oh oh nonetheless good attempt, and Soberanis deserves the acknowledgement

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