Belizean National Heroes

National Heroes of Belize

Belize has three national heroes – Philip Wilberforce Goldson, Monrad Metzgen and George Cadle Price. Each excelled in multiple arenas during his time such as politics, sports, newspaper publishing, research and activism.

Phillip Goldson

Philip Goldson

Philip Stanley Wilberforce Goldson (July 25, 1923-October 3, 2001) was a Belizean newspaper editor, activist and politician. He served in the House of Representatives of Belize as member for the Albert Division from 1961 to 1998 and twice as a Minister. He was a founding member of the People’s United Party (PUP), National Independence
Party (NIP), United Democratic Party (UDP) and National Alliance for Belizean Rights (NABR).

Goldson was born in Belize City to Peter Edward Goldson and Florence Babb and attended St. Mary’s Primary School. Although he never had an opportunity to go to high school he studied at night and succeeded in obtaining the Cambridge University Overseas Junior Certificate in 1939 and the Senior School Certificate in 1941. For much of the early 1940s he participated in the Open Forum movement featuring George Price and Leigh Richardson as well as older activists such as Clifford Betson and Antonio Soberanis. But his main job was as editor of the Belize Billboard, which he took up in 1941.Channel 5, September 19, 2001

From 1941 to 1947, he worked in the British Honduras Civil Service, at the same time started his journalism career doing editing work at “Civil Service Chronicle”. With the advent of the Nationalist Movement, he wrote news items for the Belize Billboard. The plight of the workers in Belize led him into trade unionism. He became the National Organizer of The General Workers Union in 1949, later becoming its General Secretary.

In 1950, Belize’s first major political party, the PUP, was formed under John Smith as leader. Goldson was named Assistant Secretary, working under George Price. He continued to edit the Billboard and kept it running as a daily newspaper until its offices were destroyed in the late 1960s.

In 1951 both Goldson and Leigh Richardson were convicted of Seditious Intention based on an extract from the Belize Billboard, which stated, “There are two roads to self government (Independence). Evolution and Revolution, we are now trying evolution.” The Colonial Government held that the words imputed intention to try revolution if evolution did not succeed. They were sentenced to one year’s hard labour. While in prison he taught his fellow inmates to read and write.

In 1956, he resigned from his post along with nine others, citing Price’s ambitious moves within the party hierarchy. They would never work together again.

Prior to going to jail for his ideals Mr. Goldson won a seat to the Belize City Council and had served as Vice-President (Deputy Mayor) until his conviction.

Once free he went back gladly to public life and in 1954 won a seat in the British Honduras Legislative Council where he was appointed member (quasi-Minister) for Social Services, a post he served with dignity until 1957 when his political career hit a snag. His portfolio included Labour, Housing and Planning, Health, Education and Social Welfare and Community Development. During this period he coordinated the building of Corozal Town after its destruction in 1955 by Hurricane Janet.

He pioneered the Village Council system, enacted a new Education Ordinance making Primary Education free, granting government assistance to Secondary Schools for the first time and initiated special allowance for retired teachers who up to then did not enjoy pension benefits, confirmed Belize as contributing member of the U.W.I., also established Department of Housing and Planning with Henry C. Fairweather as its first Director and Town Planner, and revised Government Workers Rules establishing the check-off system for trade unions.

On Election Day 1954, he married Hadie Jones. Phillip Goldson fathered 6 children: Phillip, Dale, Adrian, Karen-Anne, Ann Margaret and Florence.

Goldson joined Leigh Richardson under the Honduran Independence Party and contested the 1957 election unsuccessfully. He failed again as a member of the National Independence Party in 1961 but won one of two seats in the House for the NIP. This began his role as the long-running member of the Opposition; from 1961 to 1974 he sat in the House alone (he was appointed after the NIP lost all eighteen seats to the PUP in 1961 elections), joined only by Edwin Morey from 1965 to 1969, and remained in opposition until the PUP lost elections in 1984.

Goldson, according to historian Assad Shoman, singlehandedly kept the two party system in Belize alive at a time when citizens distrusted the PUP and ignored the NIP. Goldson, however, eventually left to pursue a law degree in London, returning in 1974 after the formation of the UDP.

After Theodore Aranda was deposed as leader of the UDP in 1982, Goldson ran unsuccessfully against Manuel Esquivel for the post of UDP leader, but won a Ministership in 1984.In the 1984 elections he not only won his seat but also celebrated the first victory of his party (UDP). He was appointed Minister of Social Services.

As Minister he established the Family Court, the Belize City Urban Department, the Department of Women’s Affairs, the District Councils, and the Disabilities Service Division.

Upon the occasion of the Maritime Areas Act’s passage in 1991, Goldson led a group of politicians away to start the National Alliance for Belizean Rights (NABR). He charged that the PUP and UDP had hijacked politics in Belize for themselves and pledged to fight Belize’s cause. Despite his retirement, on January 13, 1992, he was instrumental in the formation of the National Alliance for Belizean Rights (NABR).

When a terminal building was to be built at the International Airport, the Prime Minister and Cabinet decided to rename the facility the Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport. In September 2001, he presented with the Order of Belize and in October 2001 was laid to rest with a state funeral. In September 2008, Goldson was posthumously awarded with the country’s highest honor given to a Belizean, the Order of National Hero.

Source: L – VF Biography 28, 28a and 28b @NHL

Monrad Metzgen

Photo of Monrad MetzgenMonrad Siegfried Metzgen (1894- 13 May 1956, Belize) was a well known national hero of Belize having been a leading citizen in the Colony of British Honduras.

Monrad Siegfried Metzgen was born in Belize (Town) in 1894 as had his father, Karl Alexander Metzgen (born on 24 July 1860 and killed in Peten on 13 March 1930). Monrad was of humble parentage and a Belizean Creole. His grandfather, Charles Alexander Metzgen, was born in Denmark. Monrad Siegfried Metzgen’s mother, Esther Almira Bevans (born on 17 January 1869 in Belize and passed away in 1944), was the second wife of his father (the first one was Estelle Greene, who was half Welsh). Monrad had three children: Louise, Humphrey and Frederick (Bill). Monrad Metzgen was educated at St. John’s College High School.

Monrad joined the Government Service in 1910 as a Copyist. After 10 years he was appointed an Internal Revenue Officer.

Subsequently he acted as District Commissioner in Orange Walk, an Auditor and then Director of Colonial Audits. He was Treasury Superintendent in 1932 and District Commissioner in Stann Creek in 1935. A serious, near-fatal accident eventually caused his retirement in 1939.

In 1918 he was 2nd Lieutenant in the Territorial Army of British Honduras and was promoted to full Lieutenant when the Defense Force was formed in 1928.

Following the Hurricane of 1931, he was put in charge of the rescue of the trapped, the feeding of the homeless and the burial of the dead. For that heroic work he was promoted to Captain and awarded the M.B.E. by King George.

In 1935 he was given the Military Efficiency Medal for British Honduras.

Monrad Metzgen was one of the founders of the British Honduras Agricultural Society; producing an Agricultural and Industrial Exhibition in 1928 and 1931. In 1927, he convened an Agricultural Conference which brought together Planters from all over the Colony. Subsequent to this conference, the Governor of British Honduras appointed an Agricultural Advisory Committee with Monrad as oneĀ of its prominent members.

During World War II, he traveled the Colony making speeches on the dire need for agricultural development and become synonymous with his matra: “grow what we eat and eat what we grow”.

In 1928, on a bicycle ride in the country on the Northern Highway, Monrad Metzgen conceived the idea of what became the first Cross Country Cycling Classic having been struck by the number of bicycles Belizeans used to attend weekly cricket games in rural areas. He developed idea for a cycling “expedition” to San Ignacio in order to test cyclists’ ability to cope with a then-badly built Western Highway. The Governor immediately pledged support and offered a cup as a prize to the winner of the race – a race that continues annually to this day. He enlisted the support of such notables at Matron L.M. Roberts of the Public Hospital, Royal Bank of Canada local manager Charles Beattie, Frans Dragten, Reverend Cleghorn, medical officer Lieutenant Colonel James Cran and that of a young surveyor, Henry Fairweather. Within a month he had the whole programme together and launched.

On April 2, 1928, a parade and inspection of the cyclists was organized by Monrad Metzgen and attended by the Governor, Superintendent of Police and others, who congratulated the cyclists and sent them on a parade through the town’s streets. The official race kicked off on April 5, 1928 from in front of the courthouse at 5:00 AM. The trail was along the Western Highway to Orange Walk (55 miles from Belize City). The first rider into Cayo (90 miles in total), Elston Kerr, was cheered for making it into town in about 13 hours. The men stayed through the Easter holidays, feasting, eating, playing cricket and soaking up the accolades of the Cayo faithful. They also visited Benque Viejo and San Jose Succotz, the westernmost settled areas in Cayo. On April 9, the expeditionists set off at 5:00 AM to return to the City, their progress reliably reported through of all things, the telephone service. Kerr, of Burrell Boom, finished first in 21 hours 29 minutes, 81 minutes ahead of second place Norris Wade, also of Boom. Race organizer Metzgen finished in 30 and a half hours.

Subsequent to the race, Monrad Metzgen formed and chaired the British Honduras Cyclists Association in June 1928. As a result of his experience in the race, he was a key proponent of improved public roads ensuring that successive Governors of the Colony became interested in road building.

Metzgen served on numerous Boards and Committees, including: Three terms on the Belize Town Board; the Belize Electricity Board; Chairman of the St. George’s Caye Day Celebrations Committee; Secretary of the Welcoming Committee when Colonel Charles Lindbergh flew into Belize in 1927; Secretary of a committee to promote the building of a really first class hotel for the town; President of the Native Jockey Club; and President of the Eureka Band.

He belonged to the Belize Literary and Debating Society and gave speeches and wrote papers on the value of educating the masses, including campaigning for a public library in Town. Between 1942 and 1954 he served as Belize’s first librarian.


In 1925, with H. E. C. Cain, he wrote “The Handbook of British Honduras”.

In 1928 he wrote “Blazing Trails in British Honduras” about the first Cross-Country race. (The book was recently reprinted by the Belize Historical Society).

In the late 1920s he worked on the “Archives of British Honduras”, edited by the Governor, Sir John Burdon. His great patriotic pamphlet was “Shoulder to Shoulder”. It was about the Battle of St. George’s Caye.

The Handbook of British Honduras by Monrad Metzgen and H.E.C. Cain, the Brief Sketch of British Honduras by John Burdon, former governor and the book Shoulder to Shoulder by Monrad Metzgen, all talk about the wonderful exploits of the Baymen. These are all out of print and have been officially suppressed in favour of new revisionist history-making.

Source: L – VF Biography 41 @NHL

Right Honorable George Cadle Price

George Price
George Cadle Price (January 15, 1919-September 19, 2011) was the first Prime Minister of Belize and is considered alongside Monrad Metzgen as one of the principal architects of that country’s independence. Born in Belize City, he entered politics in 1947 with his election to the Belize City Council. Three years later, on September 29, 1950, he co-founded the People’s United Party, which he led for four decades and which was devoted to the political and economic independence of the British colony, then known as British Honduras.

Price was never educated further than St. John’s College High School (SJC did not have a sixth form until the 1960s.) While there, however, he was exposed to the teachings of Catholic social justice, in particular the encyclical Rerum Novarum. Upon graduation Price attached himself to local business man Jeff Dunham as his private secretary. He also rallied a few SJC graduates, some of them later members of the PUP, to contest elections in 1944 and 1947 for the local Town Board, being successful in 1947. Price also contributed to the Belize Billboard, then run by Phillip Goldson.

Price, upon the formation of the PC in 1950, was named its Assistant Secretary, and in a famous speech later that year claimed that “National Unity” propelled the PC’s actions. With the formation of the PUP Price’s stature rose and he ascended through the party ranks until he became leader following a dispute in 1956.

Elected to the colony’s Legislative Council in 1954, he also served as mayor of Belize City from 1956 to 1962. In 1956 became also leader of the PUP. As First Minister, a post he held since 1961, he led the team which began negotiations over independence with Great Britain. He maintained that post as premier in 1964.

In 1981 Belize gained its independence, and Price served as the countries first prime minister and foreign minister until 1984. After the PUP’s defeat in the elections by the United Democratic Party under Manuel Esquivel, he resumed the post of prime minister in 1989, serving until 1993, when he was again replaced by Esquivel.

In 1982, Price became a member of the United Kingdom’s Privy Council. In October 1996 he announced his resignation as party leader, and on November 10, 1996 was formally succeeded by Said Musa.


In September 2000, Price became the first person to receive Belize’s highest honour, the Order of National Hero, for the prominent role he played in leading his country to independence. He has received similar honours in other Caribbean and Central American countries.

Source: L – VF Biography 9 @NHL