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Thread: Happy National Heroes Day: St. Vincent And The Grenadines

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    Happy National Heroes Day: St. Vincent And The Grenadines

    Vincentians honour National Hero Paramount Chief Joseph Chatoyer

    Sheron Garraway 16.MAR.07

    No more Carib!

    Decendents of Paramount Chief Joseph Chatoyer.

    Describing the word "Carib" as a derogatory name given to the indigenous peoples by colonialists, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said it was time that that the word be "put out of our heads."

    Speaking at the wreath laying ceremony to honour this country's first National Hero Joseph Chatoyer who was also Paramount Chief of the indigenous peoples Dr Gonslaves explained that the name "Carib" came from the Northern Finnish term which meant "fierce and warlike." The Prime Minister said that this was an inaccurate description of the indigenous peoples who before the "invasion" of the Europeans called themselves "Callinago" or "the peaceful peoples."

    Dr Gonsalves said that the celebration of National Heroes Day was special because it was also the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and the struggles of the Callinago or Garifunas was the beginning of the end of slavery.

    The Prime Minister said in reclaiming the past the truth of this country's history must be defended.

    The leader of this country said that history seemed to want to repeat itself today with "other people" trying to invade and steal the lands but when the land is defended the indigenous people are slandered.

    The Prime Minister critically pointed out, "That's like modern day invaders, whether they want to invade you with physical weapons or they want to use weapons of the mind and weapons of the economy to try to subjugate us. They talk of how we should be grateful with the state of subjugation and of course there are some in our midst who would want to facilitate that subjugation. I am too old to facilitate that given my history and my struggle."

    Dr Gonslaves also pointed out that there was a need to play more local music on the airwaves to commemorate National Heroes Day and said that the spirit of Chatoyer who was disciplined and a hard worker needed to be seen more in Vincentians.

    The Prime Minister however expressed the need to see Chatoyer depicted as the Chief he was and not always in a loin cloth as he often has been envisioned by European historians. He said many of the colonialists who depicted these artistic expressions were racists and the true image of the Paramount Chief in all his majesty must be reflected.

    Dr Gonsalves invited everyone to the opening of the Rabbacca Dry River bridge on March 28, which he said was not just the opening of a physical bridge but also a spiritual connection between the people of the north and those to the south.

    He stated, "This is an existential link in the consciousness of our people. We are establishing a nexus."

    Meanwhile Minister of Culture the Hon. Rene Baptiste called Chatoyer a legend in history who equals and surpasses people such as Churchill, Wilberforce, Newton and Einstein. She announced that a grant has been given by the US Embassy to research the life of the Callinago Chief and that plans were also being made to produce a documentary on the Chief which she would attempt to have shown on the History and National Geographic channels.

    The Culture Minister also expressed the hope to see Team Athletics honour the name of the great leader with the endurance marathon called "Chatoyer Gold" and revealed plans to recognize the Cross Country Trail in North Leeward.

    At the wreath laying ceremony which was punctuated by cultural performances, calls were made by Zoila Ellis Browne of the Garifuna Heritage Foundation and Oswald Robinson of the World Garifuna Council to have the island of Balliceaux where 5,000 indigenous peoples perished, be made a sacred heritage place.

    Robinson also passionately supported the Prime Minister's call to delete the word "Carib" from the minds of people and stated that for many years the name "Carib" had a psychological effect on people of that ancestry.

    He lashed out, "They called our ancestors cannibals, they called our ancestors destroyers, they say that they were unchristian and uncivilized but in very simple language the term terrorism and invasion did not exist in those days. And that is actually what happened to our ancestors."
    Last edited by VINCYPOWA; 03-15-2007 at 01:01 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VINCYPOWA View Post
    Vincentians honour National Hero Paramount Chief Joseph Chatoyer

    Sheron Garraway 16.MAR.07

    No more Carib!

    Decendents of Paramount Chief Joseph Chatoyer.

    Describing the word "Carib" as a derogatory name given to the indigenous peoples by colonialists, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said it was time that that the word be "put out of our heads."

    Speaking at the wreath laying ceremony to honour this country's first National Hero Joseph Chatoyer who was also Paramount Chief of the indigenous peoples Dr Gonslaves explained that the name "Carib" came from the Northern Finnish term which meant "fierce and warlike." The Prime Minister said that this was an inaccurate description of the indigenous peoples who before the "invasion" of the Europeans called themselves "Callinago" or "the peaceful peoples."

    Dr Gonsalves said that the celebration of National Heroes Day was special because it was also the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and the struggles of the Callinago or Garifunas was the beginning of the end of slavery.

    The Prime Minister said in reclaiming the past the truth of this country's history must be defended.

    The leader of this country said that history seemed to want to repeat itself today with "other people" trying to invade and steal the lands but when the land is defended the indigenous people are slandered.

    The Prime Minister critically pointed out, "That's like modern day invaders, whether they want to invade you with physical weapons or they want to use weapons of the mind and weapons of the economy to try to subjugate us. They talk of how we should be grateful with the state of subjugation and of course there are some in our midst who would want to facilitate that subjugation. I am too old to facilitate that given my history and my struggle."

    Dr Gonslaves also pointed out that there was a need to play more local music on the airwaves to commemorate National Heroes Day and said that the spirit of Chatoyer who was disciplined and a hard worker needed to be seen more in Vincentians.

    The Prime Minister however expressed the need to see Chatoyer depicted as the Chief he was and not always in a loin cloth as he often has been envisioned by European historians. He said many of the colonialists who depicted these artistic expressions were racists and the true image of the Paramount Chief in all his majesty must be reflected.

    Dr Gonsalves invited everyone to the opening of the Rabbacca Dry River bridge on March 28, which he said was not just the opening of a physical bridge but also a spiritual connection between the people of the north and those to the south.

    He stated, "This is an existential link in the consciousness of our people. We are establishing a nexus."

    Meanwhile Minister of Culture the Hon. Rene Baptiste called Chatoyer a legend in history who equals and surpasses people such as Churchill, Wilberforce, Newton and Einstein. She announced that a grant has been given by the US Embassy to research the life of the Callinago Chief and that plans were also being made to produce a documentary on the Chief which she would attempt to have shown on the History and National Geographic channels.

    The Culture Minister also expressed the hope to see Team Athletics honour the name of the great leader with the endurance marathon called "Chatoyer Gold" and revealed plans to recognize the Cross Country Trail in North Leeward.

    At the wreath laying ceremony which was punctuated by cultural performances, calls were made by Zoila Ellis Browne of the Garifuna Heritage Foundation and Oswald Robinson of the World Garifuna Council to have the island of Balliceaux where 5,000 indigenous peoples perished, be made a sacred heritage place.

    Robinson also passionately supported the Prime Minister's call to delete the word "Carib" from the minds of people and stated that for many years the name "Carib" had a psychological effect on people of that ancestry.

    He lashed out, "They called our ancestors cannibals, they called our ancestors destroyers, they say that they were unchristian and uncivilized but in very simple language the term terrorism and invasion did not exist in those days. And that is actually what happened to our ancestors."

    Quote Originally Posted by VINCYPOWA View Post
    If I win that JACKPOT, this is what my PLAN.

    1. Build a STATE of the ART MUSIC STUDIO in VINCYLAND. My plan is to bring all the PRODUCERS and ARTISTS under one UMBRELLA.....my VISION is to make SVG the MOTOWN of the Caribbean.

    2. I am going to INVEST in AFRICA....buying LANDS in South AFRICA, ETHIOPIA, EGYPT, SUDAN, CONGO, SOMALIA, GHANA and KENYA.

    My plan is to OPEN UP businesses that will ENHANCE the LIVELIHOOD of the PEOPLE of the MOTHERLAND.

    3. I am going to OPEN UP a ENTERTAIMMENT business....it is going to be called VINCYPOWA ENTERTAINMENT. This VENTURE is going to COVER all MEDIA in the CARIBBEAN and AFRICA.

    4. I am going to BUY that ISLAND in St. Vincent and the Grenadines called Balliceaux (where THOUSANDS of GARIFUNAS DIED before being SHIPPED by the WICKED COLONIAL POWER of the DAY, THE BRITISH CROWN to CENTRAL AMERICA) and TURN it into a NATIONAL PARK/MUSEUM DEDICATED, 101%, to the GARIFUNA n CARIB PEOPLE in the DIASPORA and in VINCYLAND.

    I will do EVERYTHING in my POWER to see that the GARIFUNA CULTURE FLOURISH in VINCYLAND, again.

    I will start this by having a MASSIVE CONCERT in VINCYLAND (by BRINGING all the KNOWN PUNTA and PARANDA artists around the globe to perform in VINCYLAND)

    5. My GOAL in the END is to ALLOW that MONEY to make EVEN more MONEY where I can HELP the CARIBBEAN and AFRICA.

    6. My VISION for the INTERNET will ENCOMPASSED everything that I've ALREADY LAID out in 1-5.

    Ohhhhhhhhh yeahhhhhhhhhhhhh

    PROPHECY REVEALED.
    Last edited by VINCYPOWA; 03-15-2007 at 01:02 PM.

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    ‘Let’s Talk Garifuna’ campaign launched
    Staff Reporter 16.MAR.07
    A new page in Garifuna history in St Vincent and the Grenadines will be written when the “Let’s Talk Garifuna” project launches today, Friday March 16.

    The project includes the establishment of a Special Collection of artifacts, literature and audiovisual material at the library of the Sandy Bay Learning Resource Centre. There will be an exercise book series featuring aspects of Garifuna culture, and the contracting of a teacher from Belize to teach the Garifuna language in that community.
    The project was designed by Nadia Slater, a final year student of the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC) University of the West Indies, Mona as part of the requirements for fulfilling her degree.

    It is being implemented through Garifuna Radio, with the support of the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication, UNESCO, the Ministry of Culture and The General Co-operative Credit Union. The launch will take place on Friday March 16 2007, beginning at 10:30 a.m. at the grounds of the Sandy Bay Learning Resource Centre.

    Quote Originally Posted by VINCYPOWA View Post
    4. I am going to BUY that ISLAND in St. Vincent and the Grenadines called Balliceaux (where THOUSANDS of GARIFUNAS DIED before being SHIPPED by the WICKED COLONIAL POWER of the DAY, THE BRITISH CROWN to CENTRAL AMERICA) and TURN it into a NATIONAL PARK/MUSEUM DEDICATED, 101%, to the GARIFUNA n CARIB PEOPLE in the DIASPORA and in VINCYLAND.

    I will do EVERYTHING in my POWER to see that the GARIFUNA CULTURE FLOURISH in VINCYLAND, again.


    Ohhhhhhhhh yeahhhhhhhhhhhhh
    PROPHECY REVEALED

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    Who will be SVG’s next National Hero?
    Staff Reporter 16.MAR.07
    Vincentians celebrated National Heroes Day this past Wednesday, March 14, however, so far, only one National Hero has been proclaimed - The Right Excellent Paramount Carib Chief Joseph Chatoyer.

    A release from the Ministry of Culture states that they have requested that the National Heroes Advisory Committee be summoned this year to consider the declaration of a Candidate for National Hero status, partly, to commemorate the struggle against the Trade in Enslaved Africans.

    The Legislative provisions show that only persons who are deceased can be considered. There are a number of persons whose names have been in the public domain as possible candidates including the late Ebenezer Joshua, George Mc Intosh and Captain Hugh Mulzac.

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    PTM
    Stolen from Africa PTM's Avatar PTM is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by VINCYPOWA View Post
    Who will be SVG’s next National Hero?
    Staff Reporter 16.MAR.07
    Vincentians celebrated National Heroes Day this past Wednesday, March 14, however, so far, only one National Hero has been proclaimed - The Right Excellent Paramount Carib Chief Joseph Chatoyer.

    A release from the Ministry of Culture states that they have requested that the National Heroes Advisory Committee be summoned this year to consider the declaration of a Candidate for National Hero status, partly, to commemorate the struggle against the Trade in Enslaved Africans.

    The Legislative provisions show that only persons who are deceased can be considered. There are a number of persons whose names have been in the public domain as possible candidates including the late Ebenezer Joshua, George Mc Intosh and Captain Hugh Mulzac.
    Joshua all the way. Champion of the poor. Mulzac should be taken off the list. Maybe I'm wrong, but what did he do for SVG?

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    Quote Originally Posted by p'tanimas View Post
    Joshua all the way. Champion of the poor. Mulzac should be taken off the list. Maybe I'm wrong, but what did he do for SVG?
    Why should HE?

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    If I had a CHOICE, I would go with DUVALLE, the CHIEF of the so-called RED CARIBS as our NEXT NATIONAL HERO.

    I am always SURPRISE his name gets hardly any CURRENCY, unlike CHATOYER.

    Do not get me WRONG, THERE is ABSOLUTELY NO DOUBT THAT CHATOYER DESERVES all the ACCOLADES BESTOWED upon him, being that he was the PARAMOUNT CHIEF of VINCYLAND of that MOMENT in TIME, but DUVALLE was just as PROMINENT in the FIGHT against the COLONIZERS taking the HOMELAND.

    But if I have to PICK from the CHOICES given, JOSHUA would be my PICK, by a LANDSLIDE.

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    Joseph Chatoyer (d. March 14, 1795) was a Garifuna Carib chief who led a revolt against the British colonial government of Saint Vincent in 1795. He is now considered a national hero of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

    For two centuries, the indigenous Carib population of the island succeeded in resisting European attempts at colonization by retreating to the mountainous, densely forested interior of the island. By the 1770s, however, both Britain and France had made inroads on Saint Vincent. In 1772, the native population rebelled. Led by Chatoyer, the First Carib War forced the British to sign a treaty with them--it was the first time Britain had been forced to sign an accord with an indigenous population in the Americas.

    By 1795, it became apparent to the local population that Britain had no intention of keeping to the treaty. This time, however, the Caribs were joined by a group of French radicals inspired by the ideals of the French Revolution. In the Second Carib War, Chatoyer divided the island with DuValle, another chieftain. Working his way along the coast, Chatoyer met up with his French supporters at Chateaublair, and together the forces worked their way to Dorsetshire Hill, from where they would launch their attack on Kingstown.

    On March 14, a battalion of British soldiers led by General Ralph Abercromby, marched toward Dorsetshire Hill. That night, Chatoyer was killed by Major Alexander Leith. Though the rebellion continued, until June, 1796, Chatoyer's death led to the desertion of the French supporters and turned the tide of the war.

    Chatoyer is now considered the national hero of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. A monument to him stands on Dorsetshire Hill, where he died.

    SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Chatoyer

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    Recapturing our Vincentian history


    Designer of the "Let's Talk Garifuna" project Nadia Slater surrounded by students of the Sandy Bay Primary school.
    Sheron Garraway 23.MAR.07

    Claiming that it was the bravery of the Garifuna and Callinago peoples which inspired other Caribbean countries to rise up against the oppression during colonial times, designer of the “Let’s Talk Garifuna” project Nadia Slater believes that Garifuna peoples must be recognised for their outstanding contribution in the fight for freedom.

    Slater, who is a final year student at the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC) at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, launched the project at the Sandy Bay Resource Centre on March 16 as part of requirements for completing her degree.

    In her address to the gathering, Slater expressed the opinion that the impact of St. Vincent’s history on the rest of the world has been seldom mentioned, notably Chatoyer’s 13-year war against the colonialists 210 years ago. She also pointed out that because of Chatoyer’s rebellion, this country had one of the shortest periods of enslavement compared to other Caribbean countries.

    Slater said, “Joseph Chatoyer and the Garifuna peoples should be revered and celebrated. The rebellion that Chatoyer led against the colonisation also inspired other Caribbean countries to rise up. When we learn of Caribbean history we do not hear about St Vincent, but hear about Trinidad, Jamaica and Barbados. We do not have an appreciation because our history is isolated from us.”

    The emotional final year CARIMAC student said that the project was not about her “just getting a good grade,” but was about Vincentians “recapturing their history.” Slater outlined that her project would entail a radio programme on learning the indigenous language on Garifuna Radio, a facilitator from Belize teaching members of the community the language, a children’s production, pen pal exchange with children in the Diaspora and a mini-museum.

    She said that many Garifuna descendents living in the Diaspora find it shocking that Vincentians cannot speak the indigenous language, and she hoped to facilitate a stronger link with the descendants of Chatoyer living in other parts of the world.

    Meanwhile, feature speaker at the launch, Pastor Peter Ballantyne also expressed disappointment that Vincentians could not speak the indigenous language. Pastor Ballantyne said that the colonialists ensured that they not only robbed the Garifunas of their homeland by banishing 5000 of them to the rugged island of Balliceaux, but they also made sure that they were punished if they spoke the indigenous tongue.

    He expressed resentment for the way in which the Garifuna or Callinago people have been depicted in history books as “fierce and warlike Caribs” and stressed that it was only natural for them to defend their homeland which was being invaded by the colonialists.

    Ballantyne preached that those who were not banished to other countries such as Honduras, Belize and Nicaragua resorted to the hills to escape colonial rule and were robbed of their identity, becoming exiles in their own homeland.

    The featured speaker said that the Garifuna peoples were not as warlike as the colonists made them out to be, and noting that when an African slave ship ran aground between Bequia and St Vincent, the Garifunas were the first to welcome the Africans who later fought in the struggle with them to ward off the Europeans.

    Praising the initiative of the “Let’s Talk Garifuna” project, Area Representative for North Windward, Montgomery Daniel said that it was always his dream to be part of a project that promoted the Garifuna Language.

    He admitted that when he was approached by Slater to conduct a project to revive the Garifuna language he was overwhelmed and hoped that one day the entire nation would learn what he described as the “mother tongue.”

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    ‘Chatoyer was an outstanding ruler’


    Montgomery Daniel

    Staff Reporter 23.MAR.07

    Members of the Garifuna Community and Vincentians on a whole have been urged to reflect the good qualities possessed by National Hero Joseph Chatoyer.

    The call came from the Hon. Montgomery Daniel representative of North Windward - the constituency which is home to a large percentage of indigenous people.

    He was at the time delivering an address at the National Heroes Day Rally and launch of the Junkanoo Festival at Sandy Bay.

    Daniel hailed the Hero as an outstanding ruler of the Garifuna people, one, which he said ensured that the Calinago and Garifuna people were not enslaved by British dominance. He said that because Chatoyer stood firm, we are able to celebrate his victory.

    Minister Daniel also had high praise for the Chatoyer youth movement; a group which he said has done a very good job in keeping the Garifuna spirit alive. He encouraged the members to continue their work.

    Commendations were also in order for the Garifuna Radio Station, which is celebrating its first anniversary.

    Minister Daniel said that since the station started operations, there has been further unity in the Garifuna Communities.

    He also made mention of the week of activities put on by the station. He pointed out the Ecumenical Service which took place on Sunday to launch the activities. According to him, the spirits of the ancestors seemed present, as the people sang and enjoyed themselves.

    Other activities will include two pageants and the launch of a program to recapture the Garifuna language. (API)

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    Six beauties up for Miss Garifuna Princess Crown



    by Dale Nero 23.MAR.07


    This Saturday, the old Sandy Bay School will come alive from 8:30 p.m. with the staging of the Miss Garifuna Princess show.

    The show is part of the second annual Joncannu festival being presented by the Chatoyer Youth Movement under the theme “Restoring our Culture, Celebrating our Heritage.”

    The six beautiful girls vying for the prestigious title are Rodencia Roberts - Miss Noel River; Nadia Lewis - Miss Comariabou; Damarlie Cyrus - Miss Cayo, Claudia Sutherland - Miss Rabacca Dry River; Lauren Laborde- Miss Caraw River; Janella Osment - Miss Kramacou River.

    The Joncannu festival will continue until the end of March with the Garifuna Queen show slated for March 30th, and the Jouvert Street Jump up on 31st March.

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    Garifunas head back to Balliceaux


    Two Garifuna women from Belize offering gifts of food to their ancestors who lost their lives at the hands of the British.

    Staff Reporter 05.APR.07
    On Saturday, March 31, 2007 a contingent of more than ninety persons representing various organizations made the annual pilgrimage to the island of Balliceaux. The event was organized by the Ministry of Culture to culminate the month of activities held in commemoration of National Heritage and Heroes Month. The pilgrimage to Balliceaux has been held each year to pay tribute to the memory of the hundreds of Garifuna who lost their lives on the island, where they were marooned by the British in-transit to British Honduras in 1797.

    Led by Minister of Culture René Baptiste, the party left the Cruise Ship Terminal at about 10: 00 a.m. to make the eleven-mile journey to Balliceaux, a small picturesque and uninhabited island situated east of Bequia. Among those making the pilgrimage this year were members of Urawani Dance Group of Belize; representatives of the Chatoyer Youth Movement; students representing the Bethel High School, Barrouallie Secondary School and Community College heritage clubs; members of the media and several other persons.

    While on Balliceaux, the group participated in a short and solemn ceremony paying homage to those who lost their lives on the island. There was the ceremonial lighting of the gums by members of the Chatoyer Youth Movement. This flame was lit to symbolize the soulful presence of the hundreds of Garifunas who paid the ultimate sacrifice on the island. The Urawani Dance Group led all present in performing a sacred ritual known as the Mali. This involved drumming chanting and dancing around the flame of the gums along with the food and drink placed as an offering to the souls of the departed that remain on Balliceaux. The ritual ended with the singing of a number of traditional hymns and choruses including Kumbaya.

    In making her remarks, René Baptiste reminded the gathering about the reasons for conducting the pilgrimage. She pointed to the near genocide committed by the British over 200 years ago on the Garifuna people of St. Vincent. She noted that the present generation must never forget and implored the gathering to reflect on what it must have been like to attempt to survive on an island like Balliceaux in the late ninetieth century. The Minister also emphasized the government's commitment to preserving the memory of the Garifunas' struggle through the annual pilgrimage and to erect a lasting and fitting monument on the island. She also issued a call to other groups, organizations and individual to follow the lead of the government in organizing similar activities in memory of a dark period in the nation's history.

    The Garifunas are remembered for the epic struggle the waged against British attempts to deprive them of their land late 18th century. They were finally defeated in 1796. About 4, 339 of them were rounded up and exiled to the tiny island of Balliceaux for about seven months. Some 2, 248 survived Balliceaux and were exiled to Rotan an island off British Honduras, now Belize in March of 1797. In spite of all this, the Garifuna people and their culture have survived and continue to flourish. The annual pilgrimage to Balliceaux has been organized to honour all those who lost their lives on that island in defence of their homeland.

    SOURCE:www.searchlight.vc

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    Garifuna reconnect
    Dayle da Silva
    2007/04/04




    “Our people are the descendants of those who were exiled in 1797 after Chatoyer fell, so at this time when we are given the privilege to come to St. Vincent, to the land of our ancestors to touch ground, is a dream of every Garifuna person.”
    This was the sentiment expressed by Phyllis Cayetano of the Garifuna Dance Group, Urawani, at a press briefing March 30.
    Members of the Belizean group voiced their gratitude for having been afforded the opportunity to visit the land of their ancestors.
    The group was invited to do a cultural performance at the recently opened Yurumein-Taiwan Bridge. However, the trip doubled as an opportunity to re-connect with the land they once called home, and its people.
    “Coming to St. Vincent is like coming to holy ground,” Cayetano said.

    ‘Lots to be done still’

    The visit was Cayetano’s second visit; however, she regarded this one as the more important.
    She recalled her emotions at last Wednesday’s historic event.
    “We are separated by the oceans, I know what the people north of the dry river must have felt daily as they could not cross—they could not connect with the people in the south. To be able to be here to experience the opening of the bridge was a very significant moment,” Cayetano said.
    She said that the small contingent shared in the feelings of being displaced and now being reconnected.
    An obviously overwhelmed Cayetano thanked Prime Minister Gonsalves for affording her the opportunity to visit.
    Cayetano also noted that, although there were positive steps being taken towards reviving the way of life here, “there was still a lot to be done.”
    “We have survived, we have concurred, we have overcome, but there are still lots more to be done,” she said.
    There was a call from the National Garifuna Council in Belize for Belize to be recognized in some way as a reminder for those who lost their lives there.

    Monument on Balliceaux

    Minister of Culture, Rene Baptiste reiterated that the idea of a pilgrimage to Balliceaux was to honour those Garifuna who had fallen in the war of resistance against British rule.
    Baptiste said that there had already been plans for the erection
    of a monument on Balliceaux.
    She also fired back at critics of the planned pilgrimage saying that the site was significant to the Garifuna people here and in Central America.

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    Balliceaux: the start of the genocide
    William “Kojah” Anthony
    2007/04/04



    Since 1797, there has been something of a curse hanging over the Grenadine island of Balliceaux. But today, that plot of land could be converted into a special piece of real estate. Its tranquil setting might be ideal for the nature lover, keen to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

    Arid, but who cares?

    Balliceaux is about a 90 minute ride by boat from capital City Kingstown. Of course that depends on the type of craft you are riding. Visiting there is like a trip down memory lane, for there is hardly anything else there except a few shrubs, some wild cactus, and other non-commercial greenery.
    The land is almost arid, unsuitable for cultivation, and perhaps more conducive as a backdrop to a film requiring a Wild West outlook.
    That is as far as the barren nature of the land is concerned, but the Caribbean Sea washes the coast of Balliceaux and, surrounded by Mustique to the south, Bequia to the West and mainland St. Vincent to the North, Balliceaux is regarded as within distance.
    But there is no one living there, for life in that setting is difficult even for the most foolhardy.

    Historical significance

    But that’s the island to where over 5,000 fighters were banished, who the British thought were the trouble-makers. That was two years after their paramount Chief Joseph Chatoyer was killed in battle at Dorsetshire Hill on mainland St. Vincent.
    In order to complete the extermination of the indigenous inhabitants, any sight and sound of the warriors had to be removed, and that’s exactly what happened to the Garifuna inhabitants.
    However, even after their transfer to more appalling conditions on the island of Rataan off the coast of Central America, the Garifuna people have survived and maintained a culture that has become a wonder of the world.

    The Pilgrimage

    It was in that setting that last Saturday’s annual pilgrimage was staged.
    In recent times, Balliceuax has become a rallying point, as the story of the genocide of those inhabitants gains international attention.
    But not everyone is aware of the horrors that the island has seen, nor are there many persons keen to reveal the affair.
    Some Belizeans retraced the journey however, joined by a number of local enthusiasts, including some members of Heritage Clubs, from the Bethel High School and the Barrouallie Secondary School.
    Culture Minister René Baptiste has ensured that the trip continues to hack away at the horrors of the Garifuna debacle.
    The horrors of the landing by small craft bear grim reminder of the difficulties those exiled to the remote corner were faced with 210 years ago; but things are different today, and only a true confession of the untold reality could flush out the myth of the Garifuna plunder.
    But the efforts continue to highlight the Garifuna cause, and the pilgrimage is playing its role. The story must be known, and with the month of March observed as Heritage Month, Saturday, March 31 was a fitting way to bring the curtains down on the activities.
    Lots of historical details are stretched over the month of March, and would always be. For there is the inseparable connection to the Garifuna story, and Balliceaux has its perpetual place.

  15. #15
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    Letting the Culture flow
    The Vincentian
    2007/04/04






    A full cultural programme marked the momentous occasion of the opening of the Yurumein-Taiwan Bridge, March 28, 2007.
    Some of it was planned like appearances from schools and cultural outfits from the area. Others were in the scheme of things.
    That impromptu version included appearances by Gospel Singer Carlene Davis, accompanied by her back vocalist, and a Dominican opera singer added to the flair.
    A huge crowd assembled at the junction, and with persons in and out of the area continuously, it was hard to estimate the size of the crowd.

    The spirit of the occasion

    The Sandy Bay based Chatoyer Youth Movement contributed their part to the cultural package.
    But perhaps the biggest impact came from Archbishop Johnnie Jones and the Spiritual Baptist Choir. Jones and his ensemble rocked the gathering in every sense of the word. It was revealing to see a mass of people swaying to a medley of chants unleashed by Jones and his choir.
    The session was endorsed by appearances by Culture Minister Rene Baptiste and Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves. In typical political fashion, Baptiste and Dr. Gonsalves weaved their way into the Baptist Choir and fed off the euphoria that Jones engendered.
    That was followed by Carlene Davis’ appearance, and some persons might have been overwhelmed by the outburst of spiritual forces.
    A six member entourage from Belize, the Uwarani Dance Group, also added variety. The Uwarani Dance Group is never out of place in any Vincentian situation, and their presence on stage with the Sandy Bay Quadrille Group was a major cultural boost.

    Culture and more

    It was not a mere cultural event. Lionel Thomas presented a history of the area, while Sandy Bay born Joffre Sutherland, St. Elbert Walters and Aldica Cordice gave greetings. Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves revelled in the moment.
    Unveiling of a plaque, and ribbon cutting preceded the ceremonial crossing, with two wheel chair persons pushed from the northern side to link with those at the southern end.
    Once the formal session was out of the way, it was a stampede as persons rushed onto the site with a degree of gusto and venom which suggested that they were happy with the revelation of the process.
    With the official proceedings completed, it was time for the full-fledged entertainment input and, with a cast including reigning Soca Monarch Delroy ‘Fireman’ Hooper, Calypso Monarch Grantley ‘Ipa’ Constance, Ragga Soca King Shernelle ‘Skarpyon’ Williams, it was bound to be heightened entertainment.
    2006 Digicel Rising Star Kyron Baptiste added some regal splendour.
    Musical accompaniment was provided by the band Akcess, which provided backstopping music for all the local artistes.
    Rabacca is about 25 miles north east of capital city Kingstown.
    A half holiday was granted so as to allow persons to attend the ceremony.
    From as early as midday, the writing was on the wall that the event was going to be huge. The traffic had already ground to a halt before the bulk of vehicles could make their way to Rabacca.

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