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Mar 20, 2014

Stephen Okeke creates a bust of Thomas Vincent Ramos

Thomas Vincent Ramos, founder of Garifuna Settlement Day, is widely regarded as one of our many national heroes.  While he is remembered during the month of November when Garinagu in Belize and abroad celebrate the arrival of their ancestors to the shores of Belize almost two centuries ago, master sculptor Stephen Okeke has immortalized Ramos in bronze.  Over the past nine months Okeke has been working tirelessly, creating a bust of the cultural icon which will eventually join the pantheon of sculptures honoring famous Belizeans.  According to Okeke, the idea is to formally hand over the bust to the people of Dangriga, with whom the model belongs.


Stephen Okeke, Sculptor

Stephen Okeke

“This is a great Belizean icon and he’s a local and international Garifuna hero.  He’s somebody who’s celebrated every year.  Every year we celebrate the Garifuna Settlement Day and this is what it’s all about.  And I thought, after so many years, that there is no insignia, there is no symbol, there is no monument to his memory.  Everywhere in the world that is how it is done and for the ones I have done in Belize so far, that is the very reason I did them.  But if you want the young people to change, to change from what to what and why, what are the models?  What do you show them you benefit, what are the benefits for sacrificing, for going the extra mile?  You have to be able to show them that you appreciate sacrifice and this is how you do it.  Out of sight is out of mind, so it’s not just enough you talk about the… or you give them a certificate, you build memorials, you iconize them, you know, you immortalize them, you deify them and that is exactly what I did because this is a great man and you know, when people are great and have done great things but did not do the model thing, they are so easily forgotten.  I feel bad about that all the time and I did something about it.  And, of course, Belize is tourism based.  This is history in the round, history in three dimensions, this is called public visual dialogue.  You don’t need to ask about T.V. Ramos, it tells its own story, it makes you interact with it and from that and the history of the person is not just remembered on the Nineteenth, it’s not just remembered in November, it is remembered everyday because it is in your face.  The tourists come there, it is talked about, the children talk about it, the parents talk about it, it’s part of your everyday life.”


Isani Cayetano

“Has this bust been procured by any organization or anyone particular individual?”


Stephen Okeke

“No, it has not been procured by any individual or company.  Actually from the onset, it’s been in process for a long time, an active process for nine months.  I’ve worked with the Ramos family, with the Garifuna community, you know, the town council, with the Mayor of Dangriga and, of course, with the Garifuna people in the Diaspora, in the U.S. and different parts of the world and they have all endorsed.  They are so excited about this project but I think they all believe I should raise the money by myself.  But I’m not going through the process of raising the money individually, it would be difficult at this time.  I won’t be able to do that.  I’ve decided to approach corporations to see if I get corporate sponsorship.”


Okeke is in talks with Smart and the Belize Tourism Board to procure the bust of T.V. Ramos.


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3 Responses for “Stephen Okeke creates a bust of Thomas Vincent Ramos”

  1. Rod says:

    How come this Nigerian has never been sent back to Africa he came to Belize illegally and stayed this is the bigotry Iam talking about if you black you can stay in Belize but if you Spanish you will be deported racist bigot judas barrow and this udp gov.

  2. Bzean says:

    I am going to go paint his house, wash his car and chop his yard. Charge him, and if he refuses to pay I will go to the Media and complain.

    Just saying Mr Okeke you have a flawed business plan.
    Your actions are like a watered down version of extortion and blackmail mixed together.

  3. Natty Dread says:

    This TV Ramos bust is the same nonsense that happened with the Philip Goldson bust that he was peddling for so long and nobody wanted. I am tired of hearing about this Nigerian and his ongoing fiascoes, Can we get a break from Stephen Okeke Negative Vibes news please?

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