Garifuna Settlement Day in Belize

Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow called on the Garinagu (also known in other regions as the Kalinago) people to preserve their traditions and rich culture when he spoke on the occasion of the 213th anniversary of the Garifuna Settlement Day at Punta Gorda, the southernmost town in Belize. He was invited by the National Garifuna Council (NGC). Celebrations were held on Friday, November 19, in Punta Gorda, Gangriga, and Belize City, among others.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “Gibe memegill wayu maha, lidanba uarani wawansera” [We continue to have many aspirations; in unity we advance]. Minister of Human Development and Social Transformation Peter Martinez, who is a Garifuna, explained that “The theme reminds us that as a people, the Garinagu have a long and proud history of accomplishing great things, despite seemingly insurmountable odds when we have come together as one, under a shared vision.”

Barrow said that his government is prepared to assist the Garinagu to provide facilities for them to sustain their rich culture; for example, the government has already built a school for them in Punta Gorda as one step in the process of preserving the Garifuna language. Martinez added, “The Garifuna language is widely spoken and recognized throughout our country. Our history of resistance against oppression and enslavement and our determination to always exist as a free people is well documented and taught in every primary school social studies class in this country; it continues to be a source of inspiration and pride for our children.”

For original article, see http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/topstory-Belize-PM-calls-on-Garinagu-to-preserve-their-culture-3520.html

Photo of Garifuna Settlement Day (2006) by Lee Vandewalker from her blog Back to Living in Paradise at http://caribbean-colors.blogspot.com/2006/11/garifuna-settlement-day.html

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