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Jul 30, 2015

Okeke Goes on Fundraising Drive

It’s been nine months now since the bust of Garifuna hero and national icon, Thomas Vincent Ramos, was acquired by Dangriga. It was unveiled in that municipality on the nineteenth of November of 2014, but the sculpture has still not been paid for. Bought by credit, reportedly by former Dangriga area rep, Ivan Ramos, sculptor Stephen Okeke says that he still has not been paid for the ornament he created several years ago. Okeke took to the streets today to raise thirty thousand dollars to cover the expenses for his hard work. News Five caught up with him today on Albert Street.

 

Stephen Okeke

Stephen Okeke, Sculptor

“The payments haven’t been coming, it hasn’t been paid for and a lot of Belizeans have been encouraging me, Garifunas have been encouraging me to sue Ivan Ramos, who is the signatory who acquired it on behalf of the Garifuna people on credit. Ivan Ramos is the grandson of the great TV Ramos, the national icon and the great Garifuna hero. It’s my right to sue him, but I want also to make clear that if I sue him for this money, eventually, Belizeans will understand that it is an insult to the intelligence of all Belizeans for them to sit back and I to sue the grandson of a great Belizean icon for an ornament, for Belizeans to say thank you to him for what he has done for the nation of Belize and for the Garifuna nation—locally and globally. What I am doing right now is that I’m trying to help Belizeans who have been saying they expected this to have been settled long time; they are embarrassed that this hasn’t been settled; they want to find a way to participate in settling this. Now I’ve written letters to the corporations, to the government, to B.T.B., to the prime minister and all those who should be involved in this. This shouldn’t be paid by anybody, but by the nation and the people of Belize. So I am doing this street fundraising, beginning from Albert Street and I’ll be here for the week if it is necessary and if it is necessary, I will go to all the streets to raise the funds on behalf of Belizeans so that Belizeans can keep that monument to use and enjoy. It is right now in Dangriga, it is in use in Dangriga right now.”

 

Duane Moody

“So it is really for persons to come out and give something, whatever you can?”

 

Stephen Okeke

“Whatever you can….if you are a business, if you are a company…we all will be using this thing. All Belizeans—your children, great grandchildren—will be using this thing for a very long time. So you come out and put in something so that as you see it in use—just like we have the Antonio Soberanis over there—you can beat your chest and say I helped make this happen.”

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