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Nov 18, 2015

The Day Represents a Reflection on the Garifuna Culture

Francisco Zuniga

Following the mass, a parade will leave from the St. Martin De Porres Church travel contrary to traffic on Vernon Street turn into Youth for the Future Drive over the BelChina Bridge and on to Douglas Jones Street. The procession continues on to Freetown Road and to an open lot across from Atlantic Bank, where the official ceremony will get underway. Frenisha Augustine and Mayor Darrell Bradley are the guest speakers for the event, which will be followed by another round of bramming. According to Zuniga, while a large part of the day is celebratory, it is also a reflection of their struggles.

 

Francisco Zuniga, President, National Garifuna Council, Belize City Branch

“The central idea had been focus on just the celebration. But it is also should be a reflection on the struggle. I think that I did a research recently and it is very alarming to learn what our Garifuna people went through and again placed on a ship to be deported from their own country land, homeland and end up in Honduras. One article call Roatan, Honduras; that’s the land where apparently abandoned people have been placed. And the ship, one writer described the ship as what he called a floating concentration camp. I mean that is so alarming, that is so touching to see the endurance that our people had actually went through. So indeed it is not just a moment of celebration, but should be a moment of reflection on the hardship our people had went through. But at the same time, because we have all blended into that one community as Belizeans, we also have to celebrate the joyful memories; the contributions that our people had actually given. So we do have an impact and we deserve to also celebrate that. But indeed it is also a moment of reflection on the hardship, the struggle, but at the same time, celebrate the victory and the blend where we now form part of this melting pot in our country.”

 

Adequate security measures including the presence of police officers and traffic personnel will be in place for all the Garifuna Settlement Day activities starting tonight.

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