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Jun 2, 2016

Tour Guide Up In Arms After Being Suspended from Altun Ha

Anne Marie Arana

A freelance tour guide and artisan is up in arms tonight after she was suspended from selling her arts and craft and setting foot on the Altun Ha Archeological Site by the Institute of Archeology, NICH. Anne Arana has been working at the Mayan site for almost two decades, providing tourists and visitors with authentic crafts and trinkets. But in early May, Arana was allegedly aggressed by a couple, who also worked from a booth inside the grounds. She claims that she was racially discriminated, her products broken and her son beaten. Police from Maskall and Ladyville, as well as on-site park rangers, were called in to arrest the situation that had spiraled out of control. But Arana even took it further…she lodged a formal complaint on the matter with the Institute of Archeology in Belmopan days later. Fast track to today when she received a letter from NICH that she is suspended from the archeological site for two weeks, effective Friday. The letter cites that her behavior will not be tolerated as it gave a negative impression on visitors at the site. A baffled, but furious Arana came to News Five’s studios today to discuss:


Anne Marie Arana, General Freelance Tourist Guide, Altun Ha

“May eleventh, they had a confrontation with me ina di morning. People come to my shop and disrespect me in my shop. I never answered anybody, I walked away and went to the NICH people and gave a professional complaint in front of the tourism police that they threaten my life. They tell me if I noh stop obeah them, dehn wah kill me. Now I noh obeah nobody. They call me kerob and all kind a thing; this was around nine-thirty on May eleventh. Between eleven-thirty and twelve-thirty it just got worse. They came back to my booth, which is booth number four, and they just start to bruk up my Mayan chest sets, my Mayan masks and all of the brothers jump my son and beat up my son in front of me. I only stand and watch them and I stand up and cry. They even tear up mi clothes, bloody up mi clothes and I noh tell nobody nothing. We end up all the way in Ladyville police station. I gave a proper report. The Friday morning, which is May twelfth, May thirteenth; the Friday morning I went to Belmopan and I asked to speak with the people in charge of NICH which is Mister Thompson. I told him what was happened; he said he will see what he can do about it. Now three weeks later or so, I get a letter stating that I cannot open my place of business, my shop. This is how I live, this is how I eat, this is how I pay my loan, feed my family for the past eighteen years. Here I am a freelance tourist guide; I have to conduct tours on my site. I am the only general tourist guide at Altun Ha. There are tourist guides for the past year, but they are site guides. I am not site; I am general. You are telling me that I cannot go to my shop and my site to make my money. That is unfair. Every day they call me kerob, obeah dolly every day. They even tell my tourists sometimes that she noh make dehn thing; dehn make dah Mexico. The tourists laugh and they still buy it. And please tell them stop call mi kerob because I dah noh kerob. I must wear mi Garifuna clothes fi wah purpose. Dah because ah my ma dead so I have to dress like this. I noh like it, but I love it. I embrace my culture. Me dah noh kerob; me Garifuna, noh kerob.”


Arana told News Five that she will retain the services of an attorney to address her concerns, so that the suspension can be lifted and she can reopen her shop. 

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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2 Responses for “Tour Guide Up In Arms After Being Suspended from Altun Ha”

  1. Elgin Martinez says:

    This issue need to be addressed by the National Garifuna Council.In the year 2016 why do other ethnic groups in Belize feel like they can refer to us Garinagu using derogatory terms.Let’s keep it real i as a Garifuna will not entertain any disrespect from anyone as it relates to who i am.If it means taking a life then so be it.I believe in the Malcolm X way a doing things.My Garinagu brothers and sisters stop being to nice to people.Last but not least Fuck all of you idiots that disrespected my Garifuna Sister.That’s all you idiots in Belize can think about victimize and intimidate people.Guess what we’re living in a different time Belize no one is going to stand for your bigotry and divisiveness.This KEROB willing to die for what he believes.

  2. Proud Garifuna says:

    The Garinagu people should never give up their culture in an effort to imitate European/American failed culture. Our Garinagu young men would not be involved in the violence in Belize city if they would follow their Garifuna traditions! It behooves the Belizean public to encourage Garifuna traditions. Furthermore, the word “Kerob” was derived from African slaves(today’s so-called creoles) were trying to imitate their british masters who call Garifuna “Caribs”. But because of their African accent they said “Kerob” like they say “Jawdn for Jordan”. This is the legacy of the so-called creole’s attempted imitation of british! Stop it, so-called creole and embrace the Garifuna as a reminder of what you were before you were beaten into submission!

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