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May 18, 2016

Resolution Drafted on Concerns of Indigenous Communities

Joseph Palacio

Earlier today, a group of Garifuna elders, including Doctor Joseph Palacio, issued a statement on the current conditions of Garinagu in Belize.  The Garinagu, like other ethnic groups in the respective municipalities, are affected by existing urban issues such as poverty, crime and violence and health.  Despite those prevailing concerns, resolutions have been drafted to assist in guiding the indigenous community forward.  Doctor Palacio talks about how the group came together to discuss and take a critical look at those issues.

 

Dr. Joseph Palacio, Resident of Barranco Village

“It was a group of us who got together and looked at the overall situation affecting our people, as to where we are and the relative lack of regard to the people as a whole and along with this came issues like the Reverend Stirm statement, the situation at the Sarstoon and a few others like that and we had two meetings.  Subsequently we decided to draft a statement which would indicate as to where we are at this point in time and what the way forward would be.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Speak to us a bit about the points or the resolutions that came out of that particular discussion.”

 

Dr. Joseph Palacio

“Okay, the main question is a group of people called the Garifuna people.  What are their problems at this point in time and what suggestions can we make to help ourselves as well as the larger Garifuna nation which is so dear to all of us.  So we also wanted to start off from the perspective of the larger nation state of Belize, where we are, our relationship with other Belizeans and those kinds of overall beginnings and then to gradually focus in on these are situations that we need to focus and this is where we need to be looking into if we can be successful in helping ourselves.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“The release that was issued earlier today speaks on various factors, if I may, including the socioeconomic aspect of everything as the Garinagu are also dealing with poverty and other issues.  Do you believe that what the Garifuna people are going through at this point in time may be overshadowed by other social issues, including the fact that we constantly hear about the Mayas in the news with regards to land rights, the issue of the Sarstoon overshadowing everything else within that area and the village of Barranco is smack dab in the middle of that geographical context.”

 

Dr. Joseph Palacio

“Okay.  That’s a good way to put it forward in that obviously there is always what makes the media kick and that has to do with the current issues, particularly those that are demanding a lot of publicity.  But there are lots and lots of issues affecting us.  I live in Barranco at this point in time and I’ll have to tell you that the major concern in Barranco at this point in time is that the population is dwindling.”

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