WGO Seeks Support From
TO: Hamet Maulana
Co-Chair of AWRRTC
African World Reparations
and Repatriation Truth Commission
Ghana West, Africa
30 Oct 2000
Receiving your e-mail answered my inquiry. For I had heard
about your movement since about a year ago, but was unable
to get any information even from high government officials
of Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya
and other African countries.
First of all, I do wish you all success because I am the Paramount
Chief of the World Garifuna Organization that is also seeking
reparation from Britain for crimes against humanity committed
against the Garifuna (Black) People in St. Vincent, West
Indies during the 16th, 17 and 18th centuries.
crimes were mala in se:
of the Garifuna People. (2) Dislocation
from their Homeland, St. Vincent. (3) Partitioning of St. Vincent. (4) The enslavement of the remaining inhabitants.
All of these crimes were committed by His Britannic Majesty
George III and the British Government, against the Garifuna
People of St. Vincent (Yurumein), whose direct and indisputable
descendants now reside in Saint Vincent (Yurumein), Nicaragua,
Honduras, Belize, Guatemala and the United States.
As the first correspondence with the Afrikan World Reparations
and Repatriation Truth Commission, I hope you are willing
to share information about your organization so we, the
smaller ones, can learn from your experiences; and can I
begin with inquiries into:
(1) What's the
prime goal or direction for which you intend to use your
Reparation funds. (2) How do you
acquire financing for research, travel cost, meetings and
assemblies and the overall preparation of claims.
By December 2001 you hope to have assembled a team of international
those lawyers will be specialists in a wide variety of subject
matters. But who is your chief lawyer and how did you
acquire his services? I
don't think I need to say that you are going to be closely
scrutinized for all sorts of reasons. But my organization
to observe you very closely wishing you success all the way
and at the same time observe how you solve major problems.
I will be very grateful for continued communication.
Lawyers plan to sue for African American slavery reparation
article is an Associated Press International article that
was in our local Killeen Daily Herald Newspaper, dated;
5 January 2001.
A powerful group of civil rights and class-action lawyers
who have won billions of dollars in court is preparing a
lawsuit seeking reparations for American blacks descended
from slaves. The project, called the Reparations Assessment Group, was
confirmed by Harvard law professor Charles
J. Ogletree and appears to be the most serious effort
yet to get American blacks compensated for more than 240
years of legalized slavery. Lawsuits and legislation dating
back to the mid-1800s have gone nowhere.
“We will be seeking more than just monetary compensation,”
Ogletree said. “We
want a change in America.
We want full recognition and a remedy of how slavery
stigmatized, raped, murdered and exploited millions of Africans
through no fault of their own.”
Ogletree said the group, which includes famed
attorney Johnnie Cochran, first met in July
and will hold its fourth meeting in Washington D.C. later
“This country has never dealt with slavery. It is America’s nightmare. A political solution would
be the most sensible but I don’t have a lot of faith that’s
going to happen. So
we need to look aggressively at the legal alternative,”
For now, there are more questions than answers in the
planned litigation. Left
to be determined are when the suit will be filed, exactly
who will be named as defendants and what damages will be
Ogletree decline to discuss specifics but said the
federal government, state governments and private entities
such as corporations and
institutions that benefited from slave labor could
be targets of the legal action.
“Both public and private parties will be the subject
of our efforts,” he said.
Ogletree said the Reparation Assessment Group includes
attorneys Cochran and Alexander J. Pires Jr., who
won a $1 billion settlement for the black farmers who claimed
discrimination by the U.S. Department of Agriculture; Richard
Scruggs, who won the $386.5 billion for states against
tobacco companies; Dennis C. Sweet III, who
won a $400 million settlement in the “phen-fen” diet drug
case; and Willie E. Gray, who won a $500 million
judgment against the Loewen Group Inc., the world’s
largest funeral home operators.
Also in the group is Randall Robinson, president
of the TransAfrica Forum, a think tank specializing in African,
and Caribbean and African-American issues.
Robinson recently wrote the book “The Debt: What
America Owes to Blacks,” which argues for reparations.
“This will be the most important case in the history
of our country,” Pires
said Friday. “We
all agree the suit has to tell the story of what slavery
has done to Blacks in America…
"We are still suffering from slavery’s impact
today,” Pires said.
Ogletree said the assessment group will call on experts
in education, politics, family development, health and economics
to help trace how slavery’s outgrowths such as segregated
schooling and neighborhoods have affected society today.
Enslavement of Africans in America began in the 1600s.
A slave sale was recorded in 1619 in Jamestown, VA.
The “peculiar institution” helped to fuel the prosperity
of the young nation, while also dividing it.
Slavery was not officially abolished in the United
States until the 13th amendment was ratified, in 1865.
Reparation supporters point to recent cases where groups
have been compensated in cash for historic indignities and
A letter of formal apology and $20,000 were given by
the U.S. government to each Japanese American held in internment
camps during World War II.
Distributes Draft Declaration for comments
1 Nov 2000
The Executive of the World Garifuna Organization is extremely
happy to put forward its declaration and seek support for
its claim for Reparation from the British Government for
crimes against humanity committed against the Garifuna People
in Yurumein (St. Vincent) from the 1500's with reverberations
and direct effects on us, their descendants, to this day.
The tragic history of the Garifuna People has been suppressed
over the years and its only of late that scholars are bringing
The Garifuna People were the indigenous inhabitants of the
Island of St. Vincent (Yurumein) and many of the Windward
Islands of the Eastern Caribbean.
In the seventeenth century the British advanced to
colonize the islands, in particular St. Vincent, but the
inhabitants, the Garifuna, resisted so successfully that
the British could not get the islands under their control.
On September 1795, the British put their troops into motion
and during the five months of that war the Garifuna people
were ravaged and slaughtered. There is no accurate count
of the slaughtered in that war.
But even after the active war the killings continued. The British rounded up more than five thousand
men, women and children and imprisoned them on the island
one of St. Vincent islands, a barren rock, surrounded by very violent seas
and fierce running currents from which no one could possibly
swim to safety. The
rock, a very tiny island, which could not hold a thousand
people at any one time was turned into a island - prison
for more than 5,000.
After some eight months of malnutrition, pestilence, epidemic
and rising death rate, the British left the very sick and
weak to die while they herded more than two thousand (2,248)
of the stronger survivors on to ships, March 11, 1797, ferried
them away for more than a thousand miles around and across
the Caribbean sea, with no knowledge of their destination,
and eventually literally dumped them in Roatan, off the
coast of Honduras, April 12, 1797.
All the while, during these killings, the British undertook
a massive vilification and dehumanization of the Garifuna
People, so effective that today, some 203 years afterwards,
the damage still reverberates from street corners to Houses
of Parliament in the social, economic and cultural life
of the Garifuna. Concurrently, the British conscience was
being soothed with accounts of barbarity by those "ferocious,
warlike and lawless savages" who were even supposed
to habitually relish English flesh.
Expelled from St. Vincent to Honduras, most of us, Garifuna,
stayed in Honduras. But
others dispersed to what today are Nicaragua, Guatemala,
Belize and eventually the United States.
In spite of our dispersion, we remain readily identifiable
through our common culture and language; and although battered
by severe discrimination and poverty, we are organizing
as one people through the World Garifuna Organization.
goal of our declarations is to acquaint readers and listeners
with the objectives of the WGO and hopefully receive support
in its effort at Reparation.
The WGO recognizes that our Reparation cannot succeed without
determined, united and sustained effort. Fundamental human rights are always won only after arduous battles.
Our national branches will agree on the programmes for which
they need funds. But presently, the WGO is seeking funds
for research, legal costs, travel expenses and conference/executive
assemblies, and we will be most indebted to donors.
Below is our declaration as we solicit support hoping that
our plea for assistance is understood in its proper context
because any struggle for reparation for crimes against humanity
is a struggle and cause for all against whom crimes against
humanity have been committed as well as those who abhor
discriminatory acts and violence against others.
We particularly call upon the Garifuna People to realize that
this struggle is a struggle for all Garifuna People.
*** The Monument ***
is the symbol
of our Oneness ***
with our Reparation
the triumph of our
Organization (WGO) Declares:
Unification Reparation Development
1. The World Garifuna Organization (WGO) is a Non-Government,
Non Profit Organization organized April 12, 2000 to represent
the Garifuna People worldwide in the pursuit of their individual
and diasporal rights, freedoms and advancements. The aims
of the Organization can be synthesized into: 1. Unification
of the Garifuna People.
Reparation from the British Government for atrocities committed
3. Developing the Garifuna People
whereby they can continue their social, economic
and cultural progress.
The Garifuna travails today is a direct result of our travails
in Yurumein (St. Vincent) brought about by British greed
Garifuna groups and organizations should be aware that unfriendly
governments, organizations and groups will try to deceive,
and even finance, them to work against the WGO.
We should know our enemies.
It certainly is not one another.
The WGO will be closely observing the struggle of the Afrikan
World Reparation Repatriation Truth Commission.
The WGO stands ready to cooperate and work with all groups
on how to support our
claim for Reparation.
By December 2001, the WGO branches will have developmental
plans in place.
7. All Garifuna Organizations have the right to
seek membership in the WGO and must lean on each other in
the spirit of our ancestors.
The WGO is pursuing:
(1) Unification of Garifuna People throughout the world.
(2) Claiming Reparation from the British Government for crimes
against humanity committed against them.
(3) Developing the Garifuna People whereby they can continue
their social, economic and cultural progress.
9. Reparation, therefore is about Offence:
(1) Crimes against humanity.
(2) Genocide of the Garifuna People.
(3) Dislocation from Homeland, St. Vincent.
(4) Partitioning of St. Vincent.
(5) Enslavement of remaining inhabitants.
Garifuna People of St. Vincent, whose direct and indisputable
now reside in St. Vincent, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala,
Belize and United States.
His Britannic Majesty George III
The British Government
Seeks to Branch Out into Other Garinagu Concerns
10 Nov 2000
To: Several Embassies & Organizations
World Garifuna Organization, in its effort to develop its cultural heritage and
assist the Garifuna People into self-reliance through economic
empowerment, is seeking support and financial
assistance to complete the construction of its Culture Park.
The development of the Park is cultural, however, that cultural
development offers enormous potential and possibilities
and opportunities for investments.
goal of this paper, therefore, is to acquaint interested
parties with the Park and what it stands for with the hope of enkindling discussions and communication
with benevolent and able entities willing to assist the
Garifuna People in uplifting their cultural aspirations
as well as their economic empowerment and development.
Garifuna Culture Park
Garifuna Culture Park, from its inception, is embodied in
two of the three pillars of the World Garifuna Organization,
(1) Unification of the Garifuna People
(2) Developing the Garifuna People whereby they can continue
their social, economic and cultural progress.
The Park therefore is cultural in that it relates to and portrays
the history, travails and culture of the Garifuna People. But at the same time it underlies business
activities for economic
empowerment, especially as a feature in making Dangriga, the Stann Creek
District and the Country of Belize a tourist destination.
Park, located in Dangriga, Stann Creek District, offers yet another feature
to the great manifestation of the Garifuna culture which
when combined with the renowned Jaguar Reserve, the industries
of Banana and Citrus, the Tobacco Range (very easily the
most beautiful section of this second largest reef in the
world), and the Mayflower Mounds (with their fantastic water
fall) makes Stann Creek the highest tourist potential in
the entire country of Belize.
No other area can boast such combination of tourist
After several discussions involving the Prime Minister, the
Minister of Tourism, The Belize Tourism Industry Association,
Tourist Groups and Secretary General of the World Garifuna
Organization, there is solid consensus that a concerted
effort be taken to consolidate these potentials into making
the district a tourist destination.
Of course, each of the potentials mentioned above
needs its own mode of improvement. This paper, therefore,
is for the development of the Garifuna Culture Park.
The Garifuna Culture Park
architectural design of the Culture Park as conceived from
the very beginning.
(1) At the four corners of the Park are Memorials commemorating different
events in the Garifuna history.
At the top right is the Struggle Memorial, which depicts and explains
the struggles of the Garifuna People in Yurumein (St. Vincent)
up to the death of Paramount Chief Joseph Chatoyer and the
final defeat of the Garifuna People.
(2) At the bottom right stands the Expulsion Memorial, which explains
the events surrounding our expulsion from our homeland,
such as the rounding up of our ancestors as captives, their
imprisonment and dying out on Balliceaux and their eventual
expulsion, never to return.
(3) The bottom left is the Travail Memorial, which relates
the incidents and deaths on the seas and ships between Yurumein
(4) The top left is the Arrival Memorial, which tells the history of our
being dumped on the islands off the coast of Honduras and
the incidents surrounding it.
The idea around the Memorials is that after visiting
all four, one would have a fairly good idea of the history
of the Garifuna People up to their arrival in Honduras and
The largest structure on the inside right is the Centre For Garifuna Studies. This centre is for research into the so many
questions that remain to be answered and explained about
the Garifuna People, the study of the Language, Music, Technology,
Food, Dress, and all the factors affecting and influencing
the Garifuna culture.
On the left inside stands the Centre For The Performing Arts.
This centre is dedicated to all
the aspects of the Performing Arts, such as dancing, choreography,
and the production of music.
The Garifuna People have a rich legacy of music and
performance, but have been able to perform only a few.
The Centre is to improve what we already have, interchange
with the outside world, especially with cultures akin to
ours, and to perform at world-class level.
Dabuyaba at the middle bottom is for our spirituality. To the bottom left centre are Garifuna Replica Houses. To the bottom right centre are buildings for
& Craft and other
products. The top
left is the Memorabilia Store from where
we sell cultural products, produced at the Park or outside. In the left centre is the Museum. In the top center stands the Arch over the
entry to the Park while in the upper right are the Office Buildings. The rest is for landscaping, recreation and
the very centre stands, majestically, the Monument "Chuluhadiwa
Garinagu", the only structure of the Plan already constructed (April
Monument is the symbol of the oneness of the Garifuna People erected
to memorialize the Arrival of the Garifuna People in Central
America after their expulsion from Yurumein, their Survival
throughout the ordeal and their Prosperity thereafter.
As it stands in the middle it gives fullness and completeness
to the Park recounting and reflecting the history, culture
and triumphs of the entire Garifuna Diaspora.
That is, the Monument and the Park together represent
our most significant cultural achievement, constitute the
greatest cultural landmark of the Garifuna Diaspora and
afford a new light in interpreting the Garifuna People and
Monument is inseparable from the Park, and vice versa. The two form a unit. They are built to fully interpret Garifunaness
and all things Garifuna throughout the world. They do not reflect any one country member
of the diaspora separate from the others.
The two form an indivisible whole … Garifuna ….
The People, their Culture, Language, History, Travail,
and Triumph. It is in this fullness, this oneness that the Park must be completed
to fully interpret us and our culture and it is this oneness
and completeness that underlies the richness and business
value to our culture and offers the greatest hope for
touristic endeavours and economic activities.
All great tourist attraction anywhere does not just happen.
They are developed into the great and attractive
places they are. They
all are supported by developmental investment. They requires
to be managed and maintained.
They are built with enormous doses of pride over
a long period of effort and will forever demand continuous
construction and repair.
The Garifuna Culture Park is no different. It has a supporting culture. It
is within a surrounding of other very attractive and potential
areas for touristic development.
It has an architectural draft, there is a great
desire to construct it and it has identifiable clients.
The Park was conceived by the precursor of the World Garifuna
Organization, which will be totally responsible for development
investments, management, maintenance, repair and any other
it has been emphasized that the Culture Park is Garifuna. However it is open and available for the use
and enjoyment of other ethnic groups, organizations and
A VINCENTIAN EXPERIENCE
A Lesson for
Garifuna Reparation Advocates
By: Mr. Godsman Ellis
St. Vincent and
the Grenadines (SVG) is nothing less than an overnight
stop-over in Miami, Barbados or Port of Spain traveling
from Belize. LIAT Airline is the most used by travelers to the Island. Level
of security at the Airport was high, for example, it was
a requirement to state an address while in the country.
The Airport is in Kingstown, the capital.
I found the roads very winding and narrow besides
coping with driving on the left side or the road.
The country is just beautiful with hills and valleys
which make landscaping and architecture a challenge to
I arrived on March
27 in the dry season.
Yet the trees were lush green particularly the
bananas. March 27 was also the day of SVG national elections.
The country did not go to sleep on that night and
results were out by 9 p.m. announcing the 12/15 victory
of the Unity Labor Party (ULP).
The incumbent Government had been in office for
sixteen years. The celebrations were wild; however the new
Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, announced the
following day that there was no violence reported from
the 30,000 people who gathered together at Market Square
that night. It
is interesting to note that the winning Party immediately
changed its campaign slogan from “ Labor Now” to ”Together
Now” after their victory.
The ULP campaigned
on a platform of putting the people first and greater
public participation in governance.
Dr. Gonsalves promotes the concept of a Caribbean
Civilization embracing all the ethnic peoples of the Region
which he described as a civilization “with a particular nobility and history, drowned
with the sounds of the Garifuna, the rhythm of Africa,
the melody of Europe and the home grown lyrics of the
Caribbean itself overlaid with socialism” It is this sensitivity
to the ethnic composition of St. Vincent, which makes
it timely for the Garifuna factor to be raised in St.
Vincent. In fact, two Government Ministers are of Garifuna
have learned about the Garifuna (Kalinago in history writings)
though not to the extent of connecting to present day
Vincentians. Everyone knew something of the Garifuna community
in the village of Grieggs.
Similarly they knew about the Carib community in
Sandy Bay, south of the River.
The River flooded at certain times of the year
and slowed down traffic greatly. The communities south
of the River, according to the Vincentians living north
of the River where the towns of Georgetown and Kingstown
are situated, are stupid and backward people and do not
deserve an opportunity.
The inhabitants south of the River must all travel
to the towns for Government services, commercial activities
and for a high school education. A Carib announcer was employed on a local
radio station but she had been away in Canada for a number
of years. There is, therefore, good reason that the SVG
has a good van-shuttle service.
They travel up to 70 M.P.H. on the roads.
My visit to Sandy
Bay resulted in some surprises to myself. The settlement was predominantly populated by Caribs and had distinct
Mongoloid features, brown complexion, broad faces, and
straight hair. Some
had black genes and had darker skin.
Thy spoke only a broken English which did not sound
like that spoken in Kingstown, rather more like that spoken
by the Miskito Indians in Nicaragua.
How they got to
Sandy Bay and when was not a matter of much importance
any more. One old Carib man asked if there were other
Caribs in the world and where they originally came from. They felt strongly discriminated against by
the people on the northern side of the River.
In the evening men sat on verandahs as the sea
breeze blew and the waves lashed on the shores.
Young men and women waded in the sea and were openly
smoking weed. There
was one girl running a comb several times down her mother’s
greased hair. These
people were not in for much conversation.
Three young men were selling barrow and mackerel
fish and blowing a conch shell to announce.
This custom still exists in Dangriga and Hopkins.
I learned that up until some 20 years ago the Quadrille
was danced in Sandy Bay. The main diet consists of bananas,
rice and fish. Few women still process the cassava into ‘ferine’
as they call the meal.
were wrong about the Carib in Sandy Bay.
He was no longer the proud descendant of the once
proud and strong “warlike Carib”. The Caribs of Sandy Bay were resigned to a life of subservience
and hopelessness. After
one hurricane their Carib brothers from Dominica had come
to give some assistance but did not return.
The advocates of Reparation can use the Caribs
of Sandy Bay for a compelling case study.
The Garifuna in
Grieggs did not speak a word Garifuna, the language of
their forefathers. They had had been visited one time by Garinagu
from Belize back in 1995 and looked forward to another
meeting. They had heard of a delegation taken by Past
Prime Minister James Mitchell to commemorate the Garifuna
Bicentennial in Honduras.
More recently the celebrated Garifuna artist Pen
Cayetano ran few workshops in Garifuna music and dances,
which aroused greater interest in learning Garifuna culture.
They related how
a group of them had fled into the mountains of Grieggs
after their defeat by the British in 1797.
There they established into a Grifuna community.
It was not prudent for them to continue practicing
their culture and customs after the British prohibition.
However, they talked about the dasheen, cocoyams
and Carib yam.
One person pointed
out an old broken iron vessel partly covered by bush which,
he stated, was once used for preparing ‘ferine’.
The people of
Grieggs looked like the Garifuna in Honduras, Nicaragua,
Guatemala, Belize and the United States. They expressed
great enthusiasm in Garifuna culture. A group of youths had formed an organization
for Garifuna cultural retrieval. They were teaching themselves
to speak Garifuna and were eager to listen to anyone speaking
Like the Caribs
of Sandy Bay, the Garinagu of Grieggs felt discriminated
against by the other ethnics, mainly the freed slaves
of SVG, who went straight into a colonial experience after
Governments had subscribed to the policy of the British
to invisbilize the Caribs and the Garinagu on the Island.
This was the policy for over 200 years.
The new Government
brings hope to the Caribs and Garinagu of SVG what with
public statements made by the Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves,
“The Garifuna have been here with us for a very long time”.
. The Minister
of Culture and the Minister of Education planned to develop
programs for cultural retrieval and would be approaching
other members of the Garifuna Diaspora for assistance.
In speaking to persons from the two communities,
they were very optimistic about the change of Government
and expected that their people would receive greater attention.
The timing has
never been so correct as now for pursuing our Vincentian
The Garifuna Diaspora cannot be complete without
that link with the Motherland. The call is to the Garinagu in Honduras, Nicaragua,
Guatemala, Belize and the United States to grasp at this
one-time opportunity of linking with the Motherland.