Author: Lawrence Gordon Vernon
The author has systematically examined Belizean newspapers, particularly that goldmine of Belizean history, the Belize Billboard, to gather a wide array of information on these parties. The focal points of the narrative are the parties’ origins, leaders, candidates, aims, performance in elections, stance on national issues and, all too often, their demise or merger.
Senior Research and Education Officer, Institute of Social and Cultural Research (NICH)
Belize’s parliamentary democracy is best exemplified by its two-party system, with the two leading political parties the People’s United Party, 1950 and the National Independence Party, 1958 and its successor the United Democratic Party, 1973, alternating their predominance in government and as the loyal opposition. It may come as a surprise to many that since the 1950s some 26 parties, many of them long-defunct and now forgotten, have sought to influence the political future of the country.
In this work, Lawrence Vernon, a distinguished librarian and political historian, sets out to chronicle the development of these parties in an effort to ensure that their leaders, manifestos, and impact are not left locked away in archives or in the memories of a few. After introductions which rightly so identify the 1949 devaluation of the British Honduras Dollar as the match that lit the nationalist fires and underscores the importance of Antonio Soberanis Gomez as the father of both trade unionism and nationalism, the First and Third Sections are devoted to the rise of the People’s United Party (P.U.P.) and the United Democratic Party (U.D.P.) from their founding (1950 for the former and 1973 for the latter) up to independence.
Section Two describes the rise of those parties that were in opposition to the P.U.P. starting with the National Party in 1951 and ending with the People’s Development Movement in 1969.
Section Four briefly tells the stories of six small parties that were active between 1974 and 1981.
Section Five examines 10 parties that have sought to become viable third parties, beginning with the National Alliance for Belizean Rights in 1991.
The book ends with short notes on the multiple elections in 2015 that culminated with the U.D.P.’s historic third-term victory.
About the Author
Lawrence Vernon is a career librarian whose ambition since his appointment to the National Library Service in 1956 has been to strengthen and expand the public libraries network in Belize, and improve access to relevant information and education by all Belizeans especially children and special needs groups. His ongoing contribution is the restructuring and equipping of the Belize National Library Service, as well as the eleven years he spent at the University of Belize Library, to allow for greater institutional competencies, and to develop their organizational capacities for financial sustainability. In community services, he has chaired the National Honors and Awards Advisory Committee and been involved in key positions with
- The Council of Voluntary Social Services
- Excelsior High School
- The Belize Book Industry Association
- The National Advisory Committee for the Virtual Health Library
- The Belize National Commission for UNESCO
- The Belize Archives and Records Service Advisory Board.
- Cultural Groups of Belize
- Dreadlocks Displaced
- The Andy Palacio Moment
- A Walk Through Old Belize
- Placencia and its Environs.
Publisher: Reynolds Desktop Publishing (May 30, 2017)