Leigh Richardson - A Patriot and Genuine Belizean Leader

Leigh Richardson – A Patriot and Genuine Belizean Leader

Leigh Richardson - A Patriot and Genuine Belizean Leader

Leigh Richardson was born on 26 April 1924 in Puerto Castilla, Honduras. In his life, he was a teacher, journalist, Belizean patriot, and politician. He taught at Wesley College, based in Belize City. In addition, Leigh and Nacho Valdez were the founders of the renowned Belize Billboard, which was a daily newspaper in British Honduras (now Belize) in the 1940s.

Richardson was a brave and strong man who championed the rights of his people, majorly via the People’s United Party (PUP). Leigh was among the founding and executive members of the PUP. In 1951, Richardson, alongside Philip Goldson, served nine-month imprisonment on a sedition charge served by the British authorities in British Honduras. During the imprisonment, they were forced to engage themselves in hard labor. This entire experience indicated how dedicated they were to Belizeans at large. 

Richardson became the second leader of the PUP when Johnny Smith was exiled to the United States. This led the party to its first victory politically in 1954. However, in 1956 Richardson ceased to be the leader of PUP after being overthrown by George Price at Riverside Hall. Mr. Price took over as the PUP’s third leader (the greatest leader).

In 1957, Mr. Richardsonand Mr. Goldson founded the Honduran Independence Party (HIP). However, in 1958 Richardson was exiled to Trinidad, where he practiced as a journalist for a couple of years. Despite being a journalist, he published no literature about the revolutionary years between 1950 and 1956. This shows us that Richardson didn’t like sharing his personal information publicly.

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The Honduran Independence Party they formed was one of the parties that merged to give birth to the National Independence Party (NIP). NIP, alongside the Peoples Development Movement and liberal party, collaborated in 1973 for opposition politics. This led to the formation of another party by the name of the United Democratic Party (UDP) in the same year. (UDP is currently the opposition party). Unfortunately, at this time, Richardson had left Belize for Jamaica. While in Jamaica, he worked for the Jamaica Gleaner. Afterward, he moved to Trinidad and, finally, the United States.

Shortly before his death on 18 September 2008, Richardson was recognized as a truthful Belizean patriot. Leigh was honored with the Order Of Distinction and ranked the third highest honor at that year’s celebrations for independence. His sister-in-law accepted the honor on his behalf since he was so ill to attend the occasion. The sister-in-law remarked how Richardson contributed to Belizean politics and society at large. She also talked about his exile, which she stated was beyond his control. Richardson succumbed to death due to complications as a result of being infected by Parkinson’s disease.

The former Prime Minister, Hon. Manuel Esquivel, having received the Order of Belize the same day, mentioned that he was humbled to be honored alongside great men like Goldson and Richardson. He further noted that Richardson and Goldson were the first political prisoners in Belize. This illustrated how Richardson was a true revolutionist and patriot with the people’s interests at heart.


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