Belize - Belize News - - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Art & Culture, Economy, People & Places » The Significance of the Philip Goldson Bust
Sep 19, 2023

The Significance of the Philip Goldson Bust

A week ago, we brought you the images of a damaged Philip Goldson bust after a drunken taxi driver rammed his cab into it at the base of the overpass adjacent to the roundabout on Freetown Road. The impact damaged the bust, and while the sculptor who created the artwork, Stephen Okeke, had previously said he wanted nothing to do with any of the artwork he has sculpted for public display, he has seemingly had a change of heart. Okeke has decided to make an exception in this case and accept a contract from the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing to repair the bust. This was after several persons reached out to him to ask that he repair the bust. But why is it important to have the sculpture repaired? Because, as Okeke told us, the bust is the image of a man who is a national hero, a man who should be respected. In the following story, News Five’s Marion Ali takes a closer look at Philip Goldson, the legend, the icon.


Philip Goldson

Philip Goldson, National Hero (File: January 30th 1992)

“We have to continue to research whether in fact that law was not unconstitutional in the sense that if we can prove that our territorial seat up the median line was covered by the Constitution, then it may be the law may be challengeable in the court.”


Marion Ali, Reporting

He’s dubbed a Belizean Hero, the Father of Belizean democracy, and the J.F.K of Belize, and the news that the recently damaged bust of Philip Goldson at the entrance to the highway that’s named after him will receive the necessary repairs and refurbishment that it deserves is only fitting in this month of patriotism. Sculptor, Stephen Okeke told News Five that despite his initial sentiment, he has agreed to accept the contract to restore the bust to its previous condition. And he’s doing it because of his respect for the man, Philip Goldson.


Stephen Okeke

Stephen Okeke, Sculptor

“In my view, Philip Goldson can be said to be the J.F.Kennedy of Belize and the Caribbean, global, because he spoke immortal words no other human being alive from Adam and Eve up till now has ever spoken. We are working towards getting it done again. I respect this man’s memory, Philip Wilberforce Goldson because of who he represents to Belize beyond what a lot of Belizeans are aware of. Philip Goldson said, “Whether you’re a Briton, an Afghanistan, a Palestinian, a Mexican, an American, a Belizean, whether you are from any other country in the world, and you see things happening in your country you don’t like, and you see things coming into your country you don’t like, and you see things trying to disrupt the country you have always known, the time to save your country is before you lose it.”

But Goldson was respected for much more than just what he said. He was also a man of action. Historian, Lawrence Vernon takes us back to the early 1950’s when a young Philip Goldson, jailed for sedition, still found a way to get his message out to the people.


Lawrence Vernon

Lawrence Vernon, Historian

“He was the editor of the Billboard along with Lee Richardson. The Billboard was a daily newspaper at that time, and they were anti-colonialists, of course. So they wrote articles condemning the governor and whatnot, right? And so, this specific article that was titled, “There Are Two Roads to Independence: Evolution and Revolution.” So they said now we are trying evolution, so that meant they inferred the government at that time took it to refer to the next step as revolution. So, they were tried and sentenced – he and Lee Richardson, both of them as editors of the Belize Billboard, to one year hard labor in jail for seditious intent. When he was in jail, he educated some of the prisoners as to the English language and what not. And he also smuggled out articles to the Belize Billboard. When his mother used to go and look for him, he would give his mother the articles written on toilet paper and they were printed in the Belize Billboard. (Chuckles)”


It is actions like these and Goldson’s objection to colonialism and Guatemala’s claim to Belize that puts him in the annals of Belizean history, as the Director of the Institute of Social and Cultural Research, Rolando Cocom shares.


Rolando Cocom

Rolando Cocom, Director, I.S.C.R

“He was particularly known for his stance on the Guatemala issue. He felt very strongly that they should be very little to no negotiations with Guatemala; that Belize’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must be protected at all costs, and he’s especially known for seeking to disseminate information as soon as he got them about talks happening with the Belize delegation and the UK, for instance, and would seek to publish information.”


Just as the stance that Goldson took remains permanently etched in our history, so too will the efforts to have his bust protected from future accidents or vandalism going forward. Okeke suggests that stanchions be placed around the bust to prevent any damage. But the work to restore will include a series of tests before the repairs even begin.


Stephen Okeke

“We will have to take it back to the studio; we have to do some compression testing, you know, cover the two sides differently, and try compression testing to see if there are leakages, or if you can see air pockets. a coming out from anywhere. And before even you do that, you have to do drying. You have to do natural draft drying, and then you do artificial draft blast drying before you do the compression testing. After the compression testing, depending on if you find fissures or cracks, then you also do pressure filling from inside because of the kind of material.”


The bust should be ready for re-unveiling in another two months. Marion Ali for News Five.

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.

Advertise Here

Comments are closed