Everyone knows very well about nation builders and patriots like George Price and Philip Goldson.
But there are others, equally patriotic and nationalistic who reside in the shadows of history, the stories untold, even as their contributions endure.
One such patriot who's been sitting in the background of Belizean history is Alexander Hunter. He was the first Minister of Tourism, and he's credited with the work he did on policies to govern the Tourism Industry, Agriculture, the Sugar Industry, and the Fishing Industry. He is also described as a politician who championed the causes of the working class during his 18 years as an elected official.
And if you'd like to learn more about Hunter, you can read about him in a new book written by his daughter, Lita Hunter Krohn. It's a tribute to his accomplishments as a Belizean leader and statesman, and today, the book was launched at the Saint John's College Art Center.
Lita Hunter-Krohn, author "Okay, the book is called "The man who wore Khaki." Why khaki, because he wore khaki, he travelled in doreys, he travelled in Land Rover, he travelled in horse back and it's the working person's clothes and that what farmers and fishermen and different people wore and that what he wore? He was at one with them. There was never like me and them. It was always as a fishermen, he knew it was dangerous to go out there and he knew the perils. He had total respect for the working class people and so that's why I called it "The man who wore Khaki." Why did I do it? I didn't plan to. I start to look at photos after my parents past and then I thought let me do something and it just grew and grew and I think it could work as an inspiration. I feel we have this beautiful country, we really do. It just needs good management and I think he manages it well with proper land reform, tourism - he was the first minister of tourism. With citrus industry under his care - many things, especially land reform, caneros - all of these issues."
"He joined the People's United Party in the early 50s. He contributed to Mr. Price when Mr. Price was being accused of sedition by the colonial government. He was the star witness. The story is right there. And then he grew with the People's United Party and from 1961, that's the first time and then later 70-79."
Reporter "You hear about Philp Goldson, George Price. Why is it that you never really hear mucj about Mr. Alexander?"
Lita Hunter-Krohn, author "I don't know. That's why I had to write about it, because I know the story. He left all his papers, meticulous notes and I guess he didn't have the star quality, but he was there in the background working and producing and showing transparency and doing it on honestly."
The book is published by the Image Factory Art Foundation, and it sells for 20 dollars at the Factory's book shop.
Well-known Belizean historian Lita Hunter Krohn has chronicled, as well as taught the history of the Jewel for many years. Her work as a student and scholar in the study of past events has taken her to many places. Krohn’s most recent publication is a reflection on her late father’s work as a former politician, including his many contributions to the cooperative movement in the country. The Man Who Wore Khaki is an in-depth look at the life of Alexander ‘Sandy’ Hunter. Hunter is a former Minister of Trade and Industry, who retired from electoral politics in the seventies after representing the Fort George Division. Krohn describes him as an unsung hero.
Lita Hunter Krohn, Author
“This was never planned. I was going through photographs after my father died, after my mother died and was sorting them out and in those days people took pictures and there were lots of photo albums and so I just had to do something with this and I thought let me just make a quick little book and captions and that will be it. But as I got into it, it couldn’t be like that. You can’t do a story just like that, you have to have the background and you know, because of my history I had to put in the history and put everything in context and I always have my little agendas too and that’s in the book. And I think my father was what they call an unsung hero in his own way.”
“The direct content of the book is a historical perspective on Belize through either your father’s eyes or your eyes using his work?”
Lita Hunter Krohn
“It’s a combination because I try to hook us; you know you always have to have like a hook to do something. So the hook, I think, was him and then the background was that I needed to put it in context.”
“What are some of the notable accomplishments that your father did that was chronicled in this particular publication?”
Lita Hunter Krohn
“Number one, that I remember, he was the first Minister of Tourism with a financial budget of two hundred dollars in 1961. It went up a little bit to fifteen hundred dollars a few years later. Those steps that you see at St. Herman’s were built during his time.”
Lita Hunter Krohn recently launched her book, "The Man Who Wore Khaki." The book chronicles the life of her father, politician Alexander "Sandy" Hunter. She shared that the intention is to use the life of her father to inspire young people to participate in the making of Belize in an honest way. You can purchase the book at the Image Factory.
The man who wore KHAKI (a book commentary)
The book, The man who wore KHAKI, is written by an adoring daughter to make sure her father’s contributions and place in Belize are not passed over. It could have been a biased book. It is not. The man who wore KHAKI, Sir Alexander Albert “Sandy” Hunter (or AA Hunter), is deserving of the recognition, and now he will be remembered and revered by all for his outstanding work for our country.
Lita Hunter Krohn, the author, is an accomplished scholar who has been producing some serious and exciting historical pieces about Belize and our region for many years. Most of us are familiar with the books, Readings in Belizean History 1 & 2, and Belizean Studies. Lita Hunter Krohn was a major force behind those publications, both as editor and contributor. When we read AA Hunter’s story, we learn wherefrom his daughter got her passion for things Belize — present, past, and long past.
The man who wore KHAKI is a rather concise sketch of AA Hunter’s life, and the outstanding people and events of his time. There is no waste of words — the book is only 128 pages — but it is packed from beginning to end with stories, anecdotes, citations that help explain about AA Hunter in those formative years, when our country was just starting on the road to nationhood. His is a fascinating, highly encouraging story.
Briefly, Sir Alexander Hunter was born in 1920, into a privileged family, and while he did not spit out the silver spoon he entered this world with, his privilege did not prevent him from having soul. He entered politics because he cared. His labors bore great fruit, but he did not take from the harvest as if he was more deserving because of his leadership position.
AA Hunter’s first career choice was in the medical field, but his mission got derailed by adverse economic conditions in Belize. He joined the allied forces and fought in WWII. The horrors of that war would haunt him, and maybe was the cause of his struggles with alcohol during his lifetime. After the war he went to work in Costa Rica, where he met and married Araceli Marin. He returned to Belize in 1947, to take up a post left vacant by his brother who had died in a tragic diving accident.
He was the star witness for the defense when George Price was tried for sedition. He later joined the PUP, was successful in three successive elections, and served at the head of various ministries. He was not a devotee of the 12-families capitalism that dominated in certain areas of Central America. He fought for fisher-folk, so they got the price they deserved for their products; he fought for small farmers, especially in the sugarcane belt, so they owned the lands they farmed on; and he fought for transformative legislation such as The Rural Land Utilization Tax (1966) and the Alien Landholding Ordinance (1973).
Sir Alexander Hunter epitomized the kind of virtues we hope for in our leaders. As the Amandala publisher noted some time after his passing, he was from the “old school…from the Belize where honesty, bravery, loyalty, and manliness were cherished values.” Those of us who were not aware of his greatness, all he did to serve his and our country, are grateful to his daughter for her book. Thanks to her, the story of the dedicated service of the man who wore KHAKI will be remembered and revered forever.