Times Past

25 Years Ago

A Shetland woman, who is watching with keen interest events in Haiti, is Mrs Martha Goodlad, of the Cutts, Trondra. Her father, Paul Magliore, an army general, was a member of the governing junta in the 1940s and in 1950 became President.

Following a period of unrest in 1956 he was advised to leave Haiti and in the following year Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier became Pres­ident and Mr Magliore had to go into exile with his wife and five children. They lived in France for a time where the family owned property and where the girls were at school and eventually they went to live in New York.

That exile may soon be over for ex-President Magliore, now aged 77. The first action by the new govern­ment was to pass an Act allowing Mr Magliore and another former president Daniel Fignolé, to return home.

Mrs Goodlad was only 10 when the family had to leave Haiti and cannot remember much about the country. She remembers the reg­imented life of the palace and her rare visits outside with her mother (who died four years ago) when they went to visit a hospital or other institution.

Needless to say Martha, her three sisters and her brother, are now wondering how long it will be before they can go back to Haiti for a holiday. Mr Magliore’s property was confiscated when he was forced into exile and Martha wonders what state it will be in now after all these years. There is also the question of his army pension which he should have been entitled to. She believes that Haiti could have a bright future since the USA and other countries are poised to invest a lot of money in the country to rebuild the social structure and its economy which was bled dry during the infamous rule of the Duvaliers.

50 Years Ago

The motion at the Althing Social Group’s latest debate, in Tingwall Public Hall on Saturday, was “that racial segregation has its place in the modern world”. A large audience heard speakers who really knew the subject speaking in support of, and against, the motion.

Dr S. A. B. Black, County M.O.H. and the Rev. John Moffat, Dunross­ness, took the affirmative and negative viewpoints. Both men have had first-hand knowledge of the problem. Dr Black worked for a long time in Africa, and Mr Moffat was at one time a missionary in India.

The M.O.H. said that even amongst the African nations, there was segregation between two races, and it was far too complex a problem to be abolished suddenly. He went on to say that he held no brief for compulsory segregation or apartheid.

Mr Moffat viewed the situation from a religious angle, and said he thought that it is a Christian duty to oppose racial segregation.

In support, the Rev. K. Thomson gave several examples of injustice which followed compulsory seg­regation.

Supporting Dr Black, Miss G. M. T. Halcrow thought the problem had a parallel in Shetland – the way tinkers were housed!

In the chair, Mr D. G. Sutherland controlled the many arguments which followed, and a vote was taken which resulted in a score of 22 for the affirmative, and only 13 for the negative, but many people were unable to give either side their support.

100 Years Ago

Homeless Family – Lerwick Man Charged with Neglecting Wife and Children – In the Lerwick Sheriff Court on Monday, before Sheriff Broun, Laurence Thomson, Lab­ourer, Lerwick, was charged at the instance of the Lerwick Parish Council with neglecting to maintain his wife, Andrina Sinclair or Thomson, and his children, Jemima Margaret and May, whereby they became chargeable to the Parish of Lerwick on 1st February. Mr J. S. Tulloch, solicitor, prosecuted on behalf of the Parish Council.

Thomson had been arrested on a warrant that morning. He was allowed the usual 48 hours’ notice before pleading. In the course of a statement which he made in Court he said he had been going to see about a house when arrested and was willing to pay the Parish Council for the expenses which had been incurred in lodging his wife in the Poorhouse. He would take his wife out and put her into her mother’s house until arrangements were made.

Respondent came up at the pleading diet on Wednesday. He pleaded not guilty to the charge of neglect saying he could not get a room in Lerwick and had brought his wife to prove it. He was entitled to get her to speak as a witness on his side. Mr Tulloch said that as this was a pleading diet he had not brought his witnesses. He finally agreed, however, to go on with the case forthwith.

James Innes, Inspector of the Poor in the Parish of Lerwick, said he knew accused and his wife. About the beginning of the month he had a call from Mrs Thomson, whose object was to get into the Poorhouse. She said her husband had failed to provide a home for her and she had not got any money from him for a considerable time. In consequence of her statement he gave her a line for admittance to the Poorhouse, and at the same time intimated to Thomson that, if he did not remove her within eight days he would have to take the consequences. Thomson paid no attention whatever to the communication, and this action was brought. Mrs Thomson called on him either on the last day of January or the first day of February. She had two children, one four years old and the other aged one year and five months. They were removed that morning from the Poorhouse. Witness had spoken to Mrs Thomson in the passage that morning and she had said there was no house provided yet.

After hearing Mr Tulloch, his lordship delivered judgement. Addressing accused he told him he was not satisfied he had done all he ought to have done to maintain his wife and children. He had got married and had children, and a person in that position was bound to provide for his wife and child­ren. If he (the Sheriff) had been satisfied that it was impossible to get work he would not have been hard on him, but he was not satisfied of that. Accused did not do enough to try and find work and to spend his money properly when he had got it. In these circumstances he had failed to maintain his wife and children, and even now he (the Sheriff) did not think there was even the probability of getting a room. It was very unsatisfactory getting a room without furniture and accused’s wife said – and he quite agreed with her – she could not possibly live unless there was something to support her. In sentencing Thomson to imprisonment for thirty days he advised him to get work as soon as possible.

Thomson – I will, sir, but not in this part of the world and not for her either.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.