Philip Stanley Wilberforce Goldson, a Belizean National Hero, was laid to rest in 2001. He undoubtedly had a significant impact on the development of the Nation of Belize and has been so honored in 1989, when the Belizean government renamed the country’s international airport the Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport. In September 2001, shortly before his death, Goldson was awarded the Order of Belize and then in 2008, he was posthumously awarded the country’s highest honour, the Order of the National Hero. Today, September 28, 2015, there was another honor for the deceased Philip Goldson; the inauguration of The Goldson House for Governance, Democracy, and Patriotism. The Goldson House is located in Belmopan at # 20 Orange Street. According to NICH Director Dianne Haylock, the Goldson House will serve as a museum to honor Goldson’s life, achievements, and contributions to the nation.
Diane Haylock, Director NICH: The Prime Minister, two years ago actually, on Independence Day announced that the Government of Belize would have purchased this house. The financial institution that held the papers for it and was looking to sell it and Prime Minister Barrow said this house is too important for it to just be out there on the market so he made it possible for the government of Belize to buy the house. The monies that we got, if it wasn’t for the kind of person that he was. I’m not sure we would have been able to get everything we got into this house with the money that government gave us. This was once the home of Mister Goldson and that we would want to retain, some of its original architectural features. We were able to retain the outer walls and we have installed the interior walls to reflect the original layout of the house. The house has 6 spaces in which we have installed with the technical assistances of McNab design, a semi-permanent exhibition. Space 1 features a chronology of the life of Mister Goldson and it attempts to place his life experiences in its proper historical content. In space 2, we have given emphasis to Mister Goldson’s contribution as a writer and a journalist, and we especially feature his contribution to the anti-colonial movement, and to freedom of speech through the recollection through his imprisonment. You will recall that along with Lee Richardson and PM Barrow mentioned it in his presentation, Mister Goldson spent time in jail because of his views about Belize’s eventual achievement of Independence. In the 3rd space we personalize Mister Goldson and feature him in photos including his family. It also contains an important narrative about his philosophical and faith based approach to life and work. 5 Highlights the origin and span of Mister Goldson’s political life and is built around the theme of his contribution to pioneering and defending Belize’s democracy and it’s political institution.
Keynote remarks at the inauguration were delivered by Hon. Dean Borrow, Prime Minister of Belize. He gave a few instances of what made Philip Goldson a hero.
Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister: In 1962 when these talks with Guatemala first started, Britain and Guatemala. Belizean leaders were in that year for the first time were invited to participate. But Philip, the uncompromising defender of Belizean rights, was excluded from that delegation and that was when on his own he went to Puerto Rico where the conference was being held, and demanded admittance to the meeting. When he was refused, he staged a one man picket in front of the building where the talks were being held. Now, as I said on that other occasion, it is one thing to decent and break the law in your own country, quite another to do so in a foreign land, alone, unaided, unfamiliar with the language and laws of the place without any money to secure the services for an attorney should you be thrown in jail. As you so well-known early in life, when he was already beginning to have difficulties with Glaucoma, a glaucoma that would eventually take away his sight completely, Philip went to study law. Of course, he was successful. Was there anything that Philip was not successful at? And even after he was completely blind, that was when he became an elected minister in the UDP government and did all those that are recounted in terms of the family court, the department of women’s affairs, disability services division.
Upon its official opening, the Goldson House will serve as an educational space for students, teachers, and the public at large to visit and learn of Goldson’s legacy to Belize.