National Heroes and Heritage Month Special – March 2006 Culture Minister: Remember Chatoyer
As celebrations marking Heritage Month take place during the month of March, a strong call has been made by Minister of Culture Rene` Baptiste for Vincentians to remember the struggle of first National Hero, Paramount Chief Joseph Chatoyer.
Baptiste, who was speaking at a press conference at the Cruise Ship Berth on Wednesday March 1, said that the Garifuna people under the leadership of Chatoyer fought for 12 long years to fight off the colonialists. She said that they were defeated despite their efforts and Vincentians have been âripped cleanâ of their heritage.
She noted that Fort Charlotte is probably the only Fort in the world to have their cannons facing inland to fight off the indigenous inhabitants who fought passionately to protect their land from being conquered from the Europeans.
Baptiste noted that the fort is now 200 years old and a special celebration and book launch will be held on Saturday March 11 from 4 pm.
The Culture Minister lamented that Vincentians donât appreciate and reflect deeply enough on the sacrifices the Paramount Chief and Garifuna peoples made to stand up against the imperialists who fought with guns.
She called on Vincentians to build their national consciousness and to support the bill which will be going to parliament to preserve all national monuments throughout the country.
The month will be observed under the theme, âPreserving Our Heritage with Pride.â
Some of the activities to commemorate Heritage Month include a Workshop for Teachers on the Garifuna Heritage on Monday March 13, the wreath-laying ceremony at the Obelisk at Dorsetshire Hill from 8:30 am and the lighting up of the Obelisk at 7pm. On Thursday 23rd there will be a pilgrimage to Balliceaux and on Friday 31st a tribute in the form of a Dramatic Production will be made to the late G.C.H. Thomas who was a lover of culture and history, at the Peace Memorial Hall.