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Organizations » World Garifuna Organization (WGO) in Brief
Sep 30, 2003

By: Dr. Theodore Aranda
Paramount Chief

The World Garifuna Organization (WGO) is a registered Non-Government, Non-Profit Organization, established April 12, 2000, to pursue the Unification, Cultural Preservation and Economic Development of the Garifuna People. The WGO encompasses the Garifuna People throughout the world but it specifically covers the six nations of Honduras, Nicaragua, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, United States and Guatemala.

In brief, The Garifuna People, a black people, African, up to 1797 occupied what is today
St. Vincent and the Grenadines of the Windward Islands or Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean off the
north-eastern coast of South America. In terms of our history, we have amply documented accounts
of our struggle with the colonizing efforts of the British, our defeat in that struggle, our expulsion from
our then home-island St. Vincent and the Grenadines and our subsequent dispersion in what today are
today are Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Belize and subsequently the United States of America.

During all our occupation of the Caribbean islands we maintained our Africanness and African identity of race and culture as manifested in our language, food and diet, music and dance, dress, spiritual rituals and family relationship, so much so that UNESCO announced that the "International Jury of World Heritage Center in Paris" proclaimed the Garifuna culture "Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" recognizing Garifuna "language, music, dance and spiritual values" to be outstanding universal value to all humanity.

Prior to St. Vincent and the Caribbean, we might have been the Great Warriors of Darien who travelled to the Caribbean and other parts of the Americas before 1,000 BC. We also could have been members of the Abubakari the Second of Mali expedition to the Americas in 1311. We have oral history arguing direct African lineage and prominence in Central American and St. Vincent prior to Columbus. As a matter of fact, the argument is that our Garifuna ancestors met Columbus in Honduras in 1502.

What we don't know is our origin, that is, the Pre-Columbian presence of this particular African People in the Americas, and how possibly we might have fit into those early and pre-Columbian African crossings of the Atlantic. But there is a very strong and arguable belief that our ancestry was Muslim, from or at one time in Mali, West Africa. WGO is pursuing possibilities of researching that area.

Presently, WGO is pursuing two projects:

[1] The "Consecration of Balliceaux into a Sacred and Holy Site" due to the extremely elevating cultural, historical and unifying value of this project. Balliceaux is the island/rock and one of the places where the British massacred thousands of our Garifuna ancestors and from where Garinagu were expelled from their then island-home of St. Vincent to what today is Honduras. Most Garinagu remained in Honduras, but some dispersed to Nicaragua, Guatemala, Belize and subsequently the United States.

[2] WGO is pursuing a Black Summit for next year 2004, in "Education" and "Family" to directly impact black economy, social concerns and education.

But in the course of the just completed first-ever Belize Black Summit, jointly organized by WGO and UEF, WGO Paramount Chief, Dr. Theodore Aranda, accompanied by WGO Public Relations Officer, Mr. Leonides Sanchez, met with Dr. Molefi Asante, to discuss a major concern of WGO.

Given that WGO is an organization establishing a Black and African Awareness in the Central American, Caribbean and United States Afro-descendants, WGO sees a need to draw the entire region into an African Diasporal link with active and full partnership by major mainland African nations into what may be denominated an "African Connection". One of the main thrusts, as WGO sees it, would be the development of a "Black Consciousness" .... "Unity", if you like .... whereby Blacks gravitate to one another into what can be considered a "Strategic Alliance". African national leaders would need to be conspicuous in this "Connection" to serve as magnets for this black "Unity". The underlying and major factor that WGO sees of utmost significance for us Black People is to be connected locally, regionally and internationally concentrating and edifying on our strengths, common aspirations and consciousness. It is imperative for our improved self-image, respect for ourselves as a People and the realization of our long-denied economic and social equality within our own Nations, Diaspora and the World at large.

The "Connection" would also need to be underlined by business and investment ventures in partnership with or involving black entrepreneurs from both sides of the Atlantic. Finally, an activity revolving around this idea can be organized for 2005. Dr. Asante expressed interest and so have other personalities from African nations.


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