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A Tribute To Compton Fairweather

A Tribute To Compton Fairweather
November 08
14:16 2019

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.

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