Shubu Brown, UDP stalwart and nationalist
Shubu's most vocal days were perhaps those in which he advocated against Guatemala's territorial claim over Belize.
Even though he was born in Guatemala, Shubu was of Belizean parentage, and he became very vocal about national issues, Belizean issues – and aided the causes of the minority. He joined the workers' struggle while he worked as a stevedore at the Belize Sugar Limited.
He had migrated to Belize sometime around the late 1930's to early 1940's, when he came to live with relatives. Shubu never claimed Guatemalan nationality, but always regarded himself as a Belizean.
In many eyes, Shubu Brown is recognized as a patriotic Belizean, and his political activism, some believe, demonstrated his love for Belize.
In 1984, when the United Democratic Party won the general elections for the first time, Shubu was granted Belizean citizenship, and in 1985, a year later, he got his first Belizean passport.
Shubu was once a member of the ruling People's United Party (PUP), but he had a change of heart. He consequently became a heavy supporter of the Opposition, the United Democratic Party, which was when he was named mace bearer in the House of Representatives, an honor bestowed upon him for his loyalty.
Odinga Lumumba, a former officer of the Belize Action Movement (BAM), told Amandala that this great man was not honored for what he actually stood for.
"Particularly during the [time of] Heads of Agreement, the Tactical Unit [of the Police Department], headed by the late Inspector Wallace Joseph, detained Shubu and myself, and took us to the Queen Street Police Station, where we were lined up on the stairs of the station's back entrance," Lumumba recalled.
He said that on both sides of the stairs, there were men with huge clubs, who then told them that they should walk up.
He further commented: "Shubu was the first up the stairs, and he was beaten by [members of] the Tactical Unit. The way he was beaten made him bleed through his nostrils; his back was swollen, leaving him with tremendous back pain for weeks."
Lumumba still recalls the pain they both suffered then, but his concern at the time was for Shubu, who was much older than Lumumba was.
Lumumba told us that the respect that he had held for Shubu evolved into a long-lasting friendship, which was based on the common ground of nationalism, not party politics.
In conclusion, Lumumba prayed that his soul would rest in peace, and that those who run the affairs of this country would give this nationalist the honor and respect due him.
Those who knew of Shubu will remember that each day after he finished his work on the ship, he would hire a taxi to go around and announce meetings for the UDP; the money he used was his hard-earned cash, said Lumumba.
Still passionate for Belize up until the time of his death, Shubu yearned to be active again and wished his health had been better so that he could have participated in the "March for Freedom," a protest march organized by the UDP in August of this year, Young recalled.
Shubu's peers remember that his political history stems back to the days of his mentor, the late national hero, Philip Stanley Wilberforce Goldson, now deceased, who was a former member of the Opposition.
We viewed many pictures of Goldson and Shubu that were taken at public meetings, while others were pictures of political affiliates, as they paraded together during the years that UDP were in power. Shubu kept these as souvenirs to record the long road that he had traveled for freedom and justice in Belize.
Shubu had no children, even though he was once married. Little is known of his private life.
Young also reminisced that Shubu was always the first person to light up the neighborhood for the Christmas holidays, and he made the occasion a special one. He would play his music loudly, but he was nevertheless admired by his many neighbors.
Ms. Emma Boiton, former editor of the Alliance newspaper, shared with our newspaper her memories of Shubu.
"He was the type of person that was liked by [people from] all walks of life for being himself and for what they recognized in him as a patron, in making a difference in Belize due to his way of life. He should be honored," Boiton commented.
Mesopotamia Division Area Representative, UDP member Hon. Michael Finnegan, in an interview with Channel 7 News on Monday December 20, referred to him as a rare specimen, adding that you do not come across people like Shubu on a regular basis.
History by Amandala
Photograph courtesy Belize Abroad
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