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Garifuna Summit to provide unique opportunity for Vincentians

Garifuna Summit to provide  unique opportunity for Vincentians

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Come March 2015, the Vincentian population will be exposed to a number of opportunities to learn about their Garifuna heritage.

For the first time ever in St Vincent and the Grenadines, the Garifuna Heritage Foundation will host an International Garifuna Summit, at which persons from across the globe will gather to celebrate their heritage, under the theme “The Garifuna, a Nation Displaced — Cultural Rights, Economic Survival and Reparations.”{{more}}

During a press briefing this week, members of the planning committee gave updates on the various activities that are expected to take place at the week-long event, scheduled for March 8 to March 15.

“The Summit will seek to focus attention on the African component of the Garifuna Heritage and Culture,” said committee member Fitzgerald Providence.

“The events taking place during this Summit will provide a unique opportunity for Vincentians to view displays and presentations, as well as participate in discussions on the way of life of the Garifuna and Kalinago people. We are inviting Vincentians nationwide to participate in all the events, which will be free of cost to the public.”

Additionally, Providence called on the private sector to lend their support to the summit so that the nation’s heritage can be developed, which, by extension, should strengthen the heritage aspect of the tourism product.

“We thank the members of the private sector who have contributed generously in the past to support our work. We also express our gratitude to the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines for its unswerving dedication to strengthening the cultural fabric as a part of the process of economic development and commit ourselves to continued partnership with all individuals, communities and institutions interested in working along with our organization in pursuing our developmental goals,” Providence said.

The inaugural conference will comprise eight main activities.

These include the creation of a Garifuna Village on the compound of the old Public Library at Heritage Square and an International Garifuna Music Show, which will feature performances from international Garifuna artistes from Belize and the United States of America.

The second International Garifuna Conference will also take place during this week and will see delegates from Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala and the USA coming to this country to participate in a number of discussions.

Several workshops will be held on various topics surrounding the Garifuna life, including food, music, history and spirituality; four films will be screened for viewing by school students and there will also be an exhibition of an authentic Kalinago Village, which will be mounted by archaeologists from the University of Leiden in the Netherlands.

A National Schools Garifuna Folk Festival is expected to take place on March 12 and on National Heroes Day, an International Garifuna Cultural Extravaganza will take place at Heritage Square, following the traditional wreath laying ceremony at Dorsetshire Hill.

The official opening ceremony for the International Garifuna Summit will take place on March 11 at the Peace Memorial Hall, beginning at 7 p.m. and will feature an address from leading scholar of the Global African Diaspora Dr Sheila Walker.(BK)

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