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Garifuna descendant visits SVG

Garifuna descendant visits SVG

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A visiting descendant of this country’s indigenous Garifuna people says that the links that bind are disappearing.{{more}}

C.P Cacho, a Belizean descendant of the Garifuna, and formerly employed at the World Bank, says that it is important that Garifuna descendants residing in the diaspora get into contact with their homeland St. Vincent, which is called Yurumei in their language.

“What I will do is get in touch with some of the Garifuna Organizations in the US to tell them that the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is interested in our getting closer to each other.”

“I think it will help most of us to grow if we got to know more about each other.”

Cacho, who was born in Belize of Garifuna parentage, visited these shores for the second time in his life on Tuesday, December 28, while on a cruise with his wife.

He indicated that his first visit to the motherland was in 1968 when he came with his father, who was disappointed that their ancestors residing in Sandy Bay were not familiar with the language.

“He went there and he hoped that he would be able to speak in our language and there was no response. He tried to get to the culture and there was no response.”

“I perceived disappointment in him. I had to explain to him what happened and why this was so.”

The economist who once held the second highest rank in the Belizean civil service recounted the plight of the Garifuna: which began with the defeated Black Caribs being shipped from Balliceaux and Battowia to Roatan Islands just off the coast of Honduras in 1797, two years after the defeat of Paramount Chief Joseph Chatoyer.

The displaced people then migrated to Belize, Guatemala, and Nicaragua, where the Garifuna culture was established and can still be found today.

‘Like my father, most of us still regard St. Vincent like a kind of Mecca, particularly the old people.”

“I know that many Garinagu visit here from the United States… and unfortunately when they come here they have no links to their history… and I would hope that when they come here, that they could be taken to the Garifuna areas, meet with their people to interact with them, because we want people in Sandy Bay to know that they are not alone; there are thousands of us all over the place who are still linked to them, not only by blood but emotionally.”

Cacho noted that annually in Central America and the United States where large Garifuna populations are found, September 19 is celebrated as the day their ancestors landed in then British Honduras.

He said that the songs, folklore and poems all contain mention of Yurumei and this country’s sole National Hero Chief Joseph Chatoyer.

Cacho said that he will use his long time friend and fellow economist CI ‘Cims’ Martin as a go between the diaspora and their motherland, by making him a contact person whom visitors can call on when they choose to visit ‘home’.

He thanked Martin as well as Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves for the opportunity to speak to a wider audience and said that his people have come a long way.

“We are proud of our ‘Garifunaness’ and I want to tell the Garinagu people here, especially the young people… that you may be disadvantaged, you may be the minority, but you can become anything you want to be.”

“Let me express my delight, my honor, my privilege to be in St. Vincent, my country.”

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