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Bring Garifuna Collective to SVG

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16.MAY.08

Editor: I am wondering why the Garifuna Collective (we’ve already missed out on the performance of Andy Palacio… RIP) has yet to perform in SVG?

Their 2007 album, Watina, has gained tremendous praise in the International market and has won many international awards; yet, in the land where the Garifuna people and culture originated, St. Vincent, we have yet to see their performance on our soil.{{more}}

By the way, how often is this album being played on stations like NBC Radio and Star FM?

Anyhow, I think it is time that we have this group and other Garifuna artists performing on our shores so that our people can relearn some of the cultural aspects of a culture lost when so-called “Black Caribs” were imprisoned on Balliceaux and then were exiled to the island of Roatan, which is off the coast of Honduras. Moreover, I am pleading with the Minister of Culture, René Baptiste, to start the process rolling on an annual Garifuna festival in SVG. It would be so fitting to eventually have this festival on the island of Balliceaux.

I do not foresee this festival not being a success, if planned properly. It will be a win/win formula for all the stakeholders involved. SVG will benefit economically and culturally. I can visualize a large contingent of tourists coming to our shores just for this event, especially those from the large Garifuna communities around the globe.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines should be the epicenter of the Garifuna culture, and this festival can be the start towards that goal. This culture is our birthright. We should be doing our best to engage the Garifuna communities in Central America and beyond, so we can relearn that which has been taken away from us, because of the exile of our people to the island of Roatan. It is also part of our legacy and history of which we should embrace as part of our cultural revolution. After all, our first national hero is Paramount Chief Joseph Chatoyer.

Come on, St. Vincent and the Grenadines; let us not drop the ball on this one. This is part of our culture and history, and we should be proud of it. Yes, we should embrace this festival (and it should be held eventually on the island of Balliceaux) as part of our rich history and cultural awakening. Moreover, it is a guarantee economic winner.

Again, I am reaching out to the Minister of Culture, René Baptiste, and the Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, to make this a priority towards the reawakening of our indigenous cultural practice. But more importantly, it will be another part of our nation’s cultural revolution, especially as we move forward in the development of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Lance Davis

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