National Alliance for Belizean Rights

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For other organisations called "Patriotic Alliance", see Patriotic Alliance (disambiguation).

The National Alliance for Belizean Rights (NABR), formed as the Patriotic Alliance for Territorial Integrity, was a political party in Belize.

History[edit]

Formation[edit]

In September 1991, Guatemala, after nearly two centuries of denying the right of Belize to exist, seemed to recognize Belize as a sovereign nation. As part of the new harmony between the nations, a draft Maritime Areas Bill was introduced in the House in November 1991, limiting Belize's coastal rights in the far south and guaranteeing Guatemala access to the sea. Both major political parties, the People's United Party (PUP) and United Democratic Party (UDP), supported the measure as a way of ending the claim. Former Prime Minister Manuel Esquivel and MP Dean Barrow toured the country with sitting Prime Minister George Price in support of the bill.

However, certain elements in the UDP, led by Phillip Goldson, refused to grant Guatemala any concessions without an explicit dropping of the claim, and broke away in 1992 to form the NABR. Observers thought the UDP had lost credibility in allowing elder statesman Goldson and up-and-comers Derek Aikman and Hubert Elrington to leave the party. The Patriotic Alliance for Territorial Integrity was formed on 1 December 1991 to respond to the Maritime Areas Act formulated to solve the Guatemalan claim to Belizean territory.

The PATI dissolved into the National Alliance for Belizean Rights on January 27, 1992. In the Alliance Weekly's first issue on 11 March 1992 (the Alliance was an NABR newspaper), the NABR claimed that a third party was needed because the major parties were corrupted from top to bottom, ignored ordinary Belizeans and intended to turn the country into a "two-party political dictatorship".

In late 1992, Freetown MP Aikman was declared a bankrupt and relieved of his seat in the House. This gave the NABR the chance to win its first seat when the by-election took place. However, its candidate, Adelma Broaster, finished third. In the city council elections in March they party also failed to win a seat.

A frustrated Goldson began to draw ire from Belizeans used to solutions for getting out of troubles such as these. So when old foe Price surprised observers by calling elections early in June 1993, the NABR jumped at the chance to reunite with the UDP. The UDP-NABR coalition received fewer votes than the PUP, but won a majority of seats – 16 to the PUP's 14. Of the sixteen seats, fifteen were taken by the UDP and one by the NABR,[1] giving the party its first MP. Goldson received a cabinet post and the NABR demanded that the now Maritime Areas Act be repealed.

In government[edit]

The NABR found that its views were in the minority during the 1993–98 UDP administration. With Aikman already gone and Elrington jumping ship, Goldson struggled on alone. Included among the NABR's setbacks were the UDP's refusal to repeal the MAA, the resurgence of the claim as a result, and Goldson's troubles as Minister of Immigration, when a passport scandal was uncovered in 1995 and 1996. Goldson had increasing trouble with his eyesight, and retired in 1998, having never lost an election in his division. The men who had originally joined him, Aikman and Elrington, both ran for seats in the House under the UDP banner in 1998 and lost badly.

Goldson never recovered from the NABR years. While Belizeans still revered him, his health declined and he died in October 2001. The NABR struggled on. They ran alone in the 1998 elections, but received only 174 votes.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Nohlen, D (2005) Elections in the Americas: A data handbook, Volume I, p106 ISBN 978-0-19-928357-6