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Sep 16, 2014

FirstCaribbean’s Dangriga Branch Manager Reassigned

Sandra Miranda

Former employee of CIBC First Caribbean International Bank, Uwahnie Martinez broke the silence surrounding her plight at the Dangriga branch last Tuesday, following her resignation from the institution.  According to Martinez, she had been reprimanded by the branch manager for speaking Garifuna in the workplace, particularly with customers doing business.  Undoubtedly, it created a firestorm of protest from residents of Dangriga and quickly became a public relations nightmare for the bank.  While the matter has subsequently seen cooler heads prevail, following a meeting between FCIB’s senior executive Ella Hoyos and CWU president Audrey Matura-Shepherd, there are still a few unresolved issues to report.  News Five understands that branch manager Roxan Bowen has been assigned to another project.  This was confirmed earlier today with FCIB’s Country Manager Glen Smith, who told us that Arlette Trapp has been appointed to hold over in the interim.  During an appearance on Open Your Eyes this morning, Sandra Miranda, Vice President of the National Garifuna Council, as well as Dangriga Mayor Gilbert Swaso, commented on the matter.


Sandra Miranda, Vice President, National Garifuna Council

“Why?  Why in Dangriga?  Dangriga is the culture capital, it is predominantly Garifuna and this is a Caribbean bank.  The Garifuna history is all over the Caribbean and I know that they are aware.  So why?”


Gilbert Swaso, Dangriga Mayor

Gilbert Swaso

“This issue is not only a Garifuna issue but rather a national issue and that is also, in our humble opinion, is also embraced because when we demonstrated about this issue it was not only the Garinagu that were present.  Several other ethnic groups were in solidarity with us because if you start to attack and assault one ethnic group then you are demonstrating that if there isn’t any fight about it then you are saying it’s okay, we have now taken over, right, and win that battle over the Garinagu.  So now we can start on the Creole, then the Maya.  So I believe we have to defend and stop the nonsense immediately.”


Sandra Miranda

“If this is our culture, the basic essence of your culture is the language.  There is no restriction that you cannot speak English, Spanish and your native language, whether it be Garifuna, Creole [or] Maya.  That’s within you, that’s how you grew up right, and that’s your first language.  Growing up the first thing you will hear is Garifuna.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “FirstCaribbean’s Dangriga Branch Manager Reassigned”

  1. CEO says:

    Good job Mr. Swaso!

    I too say that this is an embarrassment to Belize and all Belizean. I am not Garinagu but I am Belizean!

    3 Different Mayan languages, Garifuna, Creole, Chinese, are spoken in Belize along with a host of more recent dialects and languages. Our country’s ethnicity is vast and needs to stay that way and ignorance like trying to silence a part of our country needs to go!

    Everyone feels more welcome when they can be attended to at a place of business in their first language. If that bank had any sense they would encourage this.

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