A Tribute To Compton Fairweather
In place of the usual Editorial the Reporter will dedicate its space this week to pay tribute to a man of incredible talent and fortitude, the late Compton Fairweather, CBE, OB.
Compton is the oldest child of the late Gerald Fairweather, Anglican clergyman, who in his retirement years did more that any other person as Chairman of the Unity Congress to bring unity to the opposition parties which later coalesced into the United Democratic Party.
Over several decades, Compton Fairweather laboured for the freedom and independence of Belize, and spared neither himself nor his personal resources to bring about a free Belize, unattached to Guatemalan apron strings, despite overwhelming odds.
He worked closely with the late Philip Goldson in New York, London and at the United Nations to frustrate powerful forces in London and Washington who wanted to take the easy way out and appease Guatemala by giving her a part of Belize. Compton Fairweather was born in San Ignacio on March 13, 1931, the year of the great hurricane. He was educated at St. Paul’s Primary School in Corozal, St. Peter Claver School in Orange Walk, St. Andrew’s in San Ignacio, St. Michael’s College in Belize City, the Belize Technical College, the University of Maryland and in New York at its famous School of Engineering and Technology.
As a young man he travelled with his missionary parents and got to know intimately every district in the country. During his high school vacations he conducted tours for a team of geneticists from the New York Zoological Society and after high school he worked for the Gulf Oil Corporation as part of its prospecting team.
In that capacity he travelled up the Sarstoon and down the Rio Hondo. He got to know every town and village and river in Belize. After migrating to the US in May 1854 he joined the US Air Force and served mostly in Japan and Korea. He became a US Federal Aviation Administration licensed pilot and served with the Strategic Air Command in Texas. Because of his being in and out of aircraft loaded with hydrogen bombs, he earned the Top Secret designation for military security.
After military service he worked as researcher and developer on power supplies for Navy torpedoes and submarines and later took up an appointment as a telecommunications specialist with the American Telephone and Telegraph company.
All this experience and technological savvy were put to use when he sensed that his country, Belize, was in danger and that there were powerful forces arraigned against her. He rushed to the aid of the late Philip Goldson who was then fighting a life-and death battle against the 13 Proposals which would have ceded Belizean sovereign rights to Guatemala.
At the insistence of Dr. Samuel Haynes, author of Land of the Gods, which was later amended to Land of the Free when it became our National Anthem, he became Chairman of the newly formed Freedom Committee of New York. He served with distinction in that capacity until 1981, when Belize became independent.
During those momentous years Compton Fairweather has had to pit himself against powerful forces and companies, such as the oil giant Texaco, which pandered to Guatemala by printing and distributing road maps showing Belize as the 23rd Department of Guatemala. It took the threat of simultaneous demonstrations in New York, Montreal and London to get Texaco to back down and withdraw the maps.
He fought the CIA and MI 6, both of which worked for a compromise with Guatemala at Belize’s expense and he was among the first to appreciate the power of the political clout newly independent African countries had acquired at the United Nations.
Compton Fairweather has received awards from almost every Belizean organization in the United States in appreciation of his services to Belize and the highest accolade that Belize can offer, the Order of Belize.
These, he told friends, are among his most prized possessions.
His achievements go well beyond what this modest editorial space can convey. He was a patriot of unique abilities and talent, a man who lived for Belize but who would just as willingly, have died for her. The Reporter
========================For the love of Belize: a part of the Compton Fairweather story
On Monday, November 4, following a brief illness, Compton Fairweather, a man who had lived his life serving Belize selflessly, passed away, leaving a legacy the likes of which has been compared to those of national heroes George Price and Philip Goldson.
Fairweather, the son of Reverend Gerald Fairweather and his wife Estelle Swasey-Fairweather, was born on March 15, 1931, in San Ignacio.
Fairweather’s parents were itinerant, and so in his youth he grew up in different districts in the then colony of British Honduras. He attended Anglican schools at St. Paul’s, Corozal; St. Peter, Orange Walk; St. Andrews, San Ignacio; and St. Michael’s College and Belize Technical College in Belize City.
Fairweather’s work life began while he was still in high school. During his high school years he conducted tours for a team of geneticists from the New York Zoological Society doing research on the wetlands of Belize.
Upon completion of his early education, Fairweather secured a job with Gulf Oil Corporation, as a geological assistant. In that position, Fairweather accompanied the crews who were searching for oil.
In addition to the early travels he had done in the country with his parents, his work for Gulf Oil also exposed him to the entire length and breadth of the country, from the Sarstoon River in the south to the Rio Hondo in the north and all of the other rivers and towns and villages.
In 1954, when Fairweather was about 23 years old, he left home and journeyed to the United States. The US, during this period, was at the height of the Cold War with the Soviet Union and Fairweather received his “greetings from the president” to serve in the US Army, but he chose the US Air Force and served in Japan and Korea.
Fairweather studied military electronics for one year while serving in the US Air Force at Biloxi, Mississippi. He received training at the Strategic Air Command, in Texas, and became a Federal Aviation Administration licensed pilot.
After serving in the Air Force, Fairweather teamed up with Samuel A. Haynes, another British Honduran who had also served in the US military, and whose focus had become nationalistic in regards to major issues relating to Belize. Haynes was also a prolific writer and penned “Land of the Gods,” the variation of which became “Land of the Free,” Belize’s national anthem.
The Haynes and Fairweather partnership led to the formation of the British Honduras Freedom Committee of New York, in mid-1966. Haynes nominated Fairweather to become the first president of the Freedom Committee, which was born out of the controversy surrounding proposals by an American lawyer, Bethuel Webster, to solve the Guatemalan claim. Webster’s proposals were viewed by Philip Goldson and other nationalists as the selling out of Belize.
The work of the Freedom Committee involved lobbying interests across the world on behalf of the country and in establishing a telephone information network to keep the people of Belize informed, wherever they were living.
The Freedom Committee of New York organized for Philip Stanley Wilberforce Goldson to address the United Nations Decolonialization Committee, on August 3, 1967. Fairweather and Goldson were the first from British Honduras to address the United Nations on behalf of the country.
The Freedom Committee was also instrumental in convincing the US authorities in Belize that naturalized Belizeans voting in Belize elections was not against US laws.
Fairweather’s New York Freedom Committee not only organized the Philip Goldson U.N. address, but also went to the aid of the South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) so that they could be heard at the U.N.
The Freedom Committee also lobbied all the former British colonies on the African continent for their support for British Honduras.
The Freedom Committee approached the eminent Canadian international jurist, Louis Bloomfield, and at the request of the British Prime Minister Anthony Eden, Bloomfield wrote the most authoritative book on the Anglo-Guatemalan dispute.
Fairweather and his Freedom Committee also met for three hours with Bethuel M. Webster, the mediator who was appointed by US President Lyndon B. Johnson to mediate the Anglo-Guatemala dispute. They tried to convince Webster that his ill-conceived and biased “proposals” to settle the Guatemalan claim were doomed to fail.
The United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), under its director, Richard Helms, was also targeted by the British Honduras New York Freedom Committee. They rallied against the efforts of its operative in Belize, the US Counsel Robert Tepper, whose mission was to subvert Belize’s self-determination process. Tepper, the CIA later concluded, bungled his assignment and was dismissed.
It was not only the US CIA that was targeted by the Freedom Committee. The British Government Colonial Office and its super secretive MI6, which were both under the direction of one Sir John Rennie, appeared to want to give up sovereignty of British Honduras to the Republic of Guatemala, but the Freedom Committee stood in their way.
On the frontline, with their eyes focused on the interests of Belize, the Freedom Committee threatened the Texaco Oil Corporation with demonstrations in New York, Montreal and London, until it removed an offensive map which depicted Belize as Guatemala’s 23rd Department.
They also fought, through covert means, to neutralize a so-called “5th columnist” based in both Belize and Guatemala.
The British government later accused the Freedom Committee of being responsible for the failure of the British to cede Belize territory to Guatemala.
On a matter closer to home, Fairweather met with US syndicated columnist Jack Anderson at his Washington office to discuss with him information that he had gotten that a British Honduras minister of government had met with Louisiana mafia boss Carlos Marcello, and that there were plans to establish a mafia-controlled gambling casino in Belize.
Fairweather was a member of the International Travel Association of Travel Agents (IATA) and has taken Belizean groups to several countries, and he himself traveled to more than a dozen African countries.
Every Belizean organization has honored Fairweather for his work and contribution to the development of Belize and Belizeans. In addition to his many awards from Belizean organizations all across the US, on December 13, 1995, Fairweather was conferred with Membership of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.
A soft-spoken, unassuming man, Fairweather deployed the skills and training he acquired as an engineer in the cultural arena when he organized the first U.S. tour for a Belizean musical group.
Fairweather pioneered and created his own record label, CES, which ended up capturing the golden era of Belizean music from the 1950s, 60s and 70s. In its heyday, CES records produced a number of 45s and LPs. CES reportedly produced 156 songs during the more than two decades when CES was involved on the music scene.
Fairweather also contributed greatly to culture with recordings of the best known Battle of St. George’s Caye celebration music, traditional folk music and skits that were written in Creole.Amandala
he Embassy team expresses heartfelt condolences on the passing of Mr. Gerald Compton Fairweather.
We are very proud of the years of service Mr. Fairweather gave to the United States – his adopted home – as a pilot with the U.S. Air Force’s Strategic Air Command and his lifetime of work in the private sector. His contribution to democratic principles, human rights, and public service in both the United States and Belize is a rich legacy of which his family can be very proud.
We join Belizeans in celebrating the life of Mr. Compton Fairweather.
BELIZEAN PRODUCER, HISTORIAN, COMMUNITY ORGANIZER, POLITICAL ACTIVIST & BELIZEAN DIASPORA PIONEER!
By Bilal Morris
Eh gawhn, eh gawhn, da di pramis land! (Mr. Peters)
In the 1980s in the Belizean diaspora when there was no cell phones and social media, there was a landline telephone number that Belizeans in the United States and all over the world use to call to get the most current news and information on Belize. It was a kind of Belize news media via telephone and it was produced by a New York based Belizean name Compton Fairweather.
Throughout the 1970s and 80s, Belizean music had to be produced abroad because Belize did not have any kind of music production studios. And so all of Belize's top bands had to travel to the U.S. to make a record and later return with the manufactured vinyls for sale at the record shops throughout the country of Belize.
In visiting some of these popular Belizean record shops in Belize City like "Teens", "Martins" and others in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, you could find the music of Belizean bands like the Lord Rhaburn Combo, Harmonettes, and Jesus Acosta & the Professionals that were on sale to the general Belizean public and Belizean music lovers. It was so nice when one of these albums would touched your fingers and hearing the record shops playing them blaring out on the streets to the passerby.
All of these records and music albums were recorded and produced by CES Records that was a Belizean record label and production company based in New York that was owned and operated by Compton Fairweather and his wife Carrie Fairweather. The pair was a husband and wife team of Belizean entrepreneurs who invested in Belizean music and so gave these Belizean bands an opportunity to record their music for the Belizean entertainment scene in Belize as well as for the global music market. It was one of a kind, and at that time nobody else was doing this and making this significant contribution to the development of Belizean music, the arts and culture like the Fairweather's were.
The name Compton Fairweather goes almost synonymous with Belizean politics of the 1960s and 70s because he was one of the instrumental supporters of the National Independence Party of Belize the "NIP" during the 1960s, 70s and 80s that was led by the legendary Belizean politician, the late Philip Wilberforce Goldson. There was an organized and consorted effort on the behalf of the two Belizean men to make a difference in Belize through providing a relative alternative to the domination of politics in Belize by the Peoples United Party (PUP) led by its iconic and legendary Belizean political leader, George Cadle Price, that became Belize's first premier during Belize's transition into self government.
But Fairweather and Goldosn changed the present status quo on the ground in Belizean politics around that period of time by building an alternative opposition party to the PUP. The revolutionary activist contribution that Fairweather provided to the NIP as an astute Belizean political organizer in the diaspora resulted in some of the most important political financing for the NIP that was coming directly out of the Belizean diaspora community in New York.
Presently, there has been no other Belizean diaspora political movement in the New York Belizean community and and in other states that have continued Fairweather's political work, except that which was developed by the late Belizean political activist Paul Warren in Los Angeles, California who was Fairweather's ally on the west coast. Warren organized along with others in the Los Angeles Belizean community in the early 1980s, financial and political support for the political campaign of the coming to power of the 1984 United Democratic Party (UDP), government of the Esquivel administration.
Since then, Belizeans in the diaspora have not been able to duplicate the community organizing and political savviness that Compton Fairweather's Belizean nationalist "Freedom Committee" organization in New York was able to do. The F.C. was able to understand how to implement the organizational effectiveness of fundraising for political campaigning on the American scene being Belizeans that had migrated out of Belize and developed the knowledge and skills to organize a political machinery.
Fairweather was a man of exceptional abilities in financing, politics, international relations, and community organizing. He made the new York Belizean community what it has become today as one of the largest groups of Belizeans that are living abroad in the U.S. and outside of Belize. Some of the first migrants from Belize to the U.S., especially after Hurricane Hattie, went to New York. New York became the American dream for many Belizeans who began to migrate and live there, and Belizeans like Fairweather were among some of the first migrants to the shores of the U.S. as Belizean immigrants.
In his repatriation back to Belize in the late 1990s, Fairweather continued his work of supporting Belizean causes as well as becoming one of Belize's most prolific experts on the Anglo Guatemalan Claim of Belize. He wrote proficiently in Belizean newspapers on the aged old dispute and claim, and also provided historical and political analysis on Belize's colonial history, politics, and how Belize is connected to the global international geopolitics. He also made some very outstanding appearances on Belizean media in articulating Belizean politics, history, culture and perspectives on the British colonial establishment in the former British Honduras.
Volumes can be written about the work of Belize's native son, Compton Fairweather, and as a student of Belizean history, it is only my touching on the surface of the in-depth body of work that this Belizean renaissance man and Belizean diaspora pioneer, the late Compton Fairweather had left behind for Belizean students of history, music, and politics to research and learn from.
May the people of Belize resurrect his spirit of national service and philanthropy to Belize and the people of Belize of the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Being gone but not forgotten, it is only necessary that we Belizeans from all walks of life study those who came before us as it is on the shoulders of giants like Compton Fairweather that we stand upon. May his works be seen and may he rest in peace.
=======================The National Institute of Culture and History notes the passing of Mr. Compton Fairweather, a Cultural Pioneer and Political Activist
The Honourable Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture and the National Institute of Culture and History notes the passing of Belizean Cultural Pioneer and Political Activist, Compton Fairweather O.B.E., J.P. Compton Fairweather was born in San Ignacio, Cayo on March 15th, 1931 and attended St. Paul’s Anglican School in Corozal, St. Peter’s in Orange Walk, St. Andrew’s in San Ignacio, St. Micheal’s College in Belize City, Belize Technical College, University of Maryland, and The City College of New York.
As a political activist between 1966 and 1981 Compton Fairweather with support from Samuel Haynes emerged as the leader of the Freedom Committee which was formed by Belizeans in the diaspora to support the work of Philip Goldson and the National Independence Party. Compton Fairweather worked directly with Philip Goldson to craft a strategy for rejecting Guatemala’s unfounded claim and by directly lobbying with every former African British country of the United Nations to raise awareness about the claim and its hindrance to Belizean Sovereignty and Independence. As a result of his efforts, he joined Philip Goldson as the first Belizeans to address the United Nations Committee on Decolonization on August 3rd in 1967. Compton Fairweather is one of Belize’s patriots and was recognized by the Government of Belize when he was awarded the Order of Belize in 2009.Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun
by Wellington C. Ramos
SUNRISE: March 15th 1931 SUNSET: November: 4th 2019 A TRUE BELIZEAN AMERICAN NATIONALIST WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN THE BELIZE FREEDOM COMMITTEE, THE NO GUATEMALA MOVEMENT IN NEW YORK CITY, THE BELIZE WEEKLY NEWS ON TUESDAYS, THE BELIZE ANNUAL PARKFEST, MUSIC PRODUCTION AND MANY OTHER BELIZEAN CAUSES ON BEHALF OF OUR PEOPLE AND COUNTRY.
When I left Belize to come and live in New York City in 1978, the biggest issue in Belize was George Price and his People’s United Party (PUP) travelling all over the world to try and get support for our independence. The leader of the United Democratic Party, Dean Lindo, and his members, were afraid that if we obtained independence without a defense guarantee from Great Britain, Guatemala could invade our country. The UDP held many “No Guatemala” demonstrations in Belize City that drew large crowds from all over the country.
When I arrived in New York City, Mr. Compton Fairweather was the President of an organization by the name of: “Freedom Committee”. They had officers like; Muriel Laing-Arthurs, Eddy Staine, Mr. Lloyd Pipersbugh, Ms. Leotin Lewis, Mr. Betson, Ms. Flowers, Carrie Fairweather, Keith Elrington, Hector Locke, Mr. Trapp and several other people who I cannot remember at this moment. Their main goal was to do any and everything to save Belize from a Guatemalan takeover. This was done by keeping the Belizean people informed on all the things that were taking place in Belize, Guatemala and Great Britain concerning Belize. They held meetings every Sunday at St. Mark’s Church located at Ocean Avenue in Brooklyn.
Several speakers, including myself, would come up and give speeches as to why we must love our country and do what we can to save it from Guatemala despite the fact that we live in the United States. When Guatemala stepped up its claim in the 1970’s and threatened to invade Belize, this committee organized demonstrations in front of the Guatemalan Embassy in Manhattan to alert the world about their aggression.
Many NIP and UDP Politicians came from Belize to give speeches at their meetings. At the end of the meetings the members gave donations to send to Belize to assist the Belizean organizations that were a part of the “No Guatemala Movement”. Food and refreshments were served at all meetings before the members went home.
Mr. Fairweather later established a “Belize News” on a taped telephone message to call every Tuesday midnight of the week. Belizeans from New York City and all over the United States would call to get the news, death announcements, parties and other upcoming Belizean events. Many Belizeans looked forward to calling the tape number before they went to bed. This news service lasted until the early 2000’s when Mr. Fairweather made the decision to go back home and live. Belizeans were not happy when he left because they depended on this news source for all their news, upcoming events and death announcements.
General Elections were scheduled for November the 21, 1979 and the PUPs had their minds made up that if they won the election with a huge margin, they were going to continue their drive for independence. The PUP won the elections of 1979 by winning 13 out of the 18 seats. This was a huge margin of victory and even the UDP Opposition Leader Dean Lindo was defeated in that election which resulted in his resignation as party leader.
Doctor Theodore Aranda became the new leader and was invited to New York City to give an update on the talks between Great Britain, Guatemala and Belize regarding independence. Belize became independent on September 21, 1981 and after independence, the Freedom Committee began to decline. Many Belizeans believed that once our independence was obtained, our people and country will be safe from Guatemala.
The late Philip Goldson, who I continue to admire as a true Belizean National Hero, was the only Belizean politician that I heard saying on several occasions that if Great Britain does not grant Belize a defense guarantee, Guatemala will continue to claim Belize. His words were true then and now. It is now left for us to see if the International Court of Justice (ICJ) will resolve the dispute between Great Britain and Guatemala over our territory of Belize permanently.
I consider Compton Fairweather to be a Nationalist Belizean. A man who really loved his people and country and did all that he could have possibly done, to try and convince other Belizeans to do the same. He was honored by our country of Belize for his service. It is because of people like him, the late Belizean International Lawyer and Jurist Edward Laing, Curl Thompson, Philip Goldson and my late grandfather Simeon Marcus Sampson, that I decided to commit myself to do Belizean activism.
Many of our Belizean people are only proud to be Belizeans but have not committed themselves to do something of significance for our country. There is still time left for all Belizeans to follow in Mr. Compton Fairweather’s and other nationalistic Belizeans footsteps. If they do then our country of Belize will become a much better place for us to live for generations to come. May his soul rest in peace and his contributions and accomplishments be cherished by us. We need more Belizean Nationalists to save our people and country, Belize.Amandala