WGO Seeks Support From

Professional Bodies

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.

The crimes were mala in se:

 (1) Genocide 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 lawyers.  Obviously 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 is going

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.

Dr. Theodore Aranda

Paramount Chief

Lawyers plan to sue for African American slavery reparation

This 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 month.

“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,” Ogletree said.

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 sought.

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 harm.

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.


WGO 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 it out.

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  of  Balliceaux,  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.

The 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.


Most Sincerely,

Mr. Felix Miranda

Secretary General

*** The Monument ***

is  the  symbol  of  our  Oneness ***

Victory with our Reparation

 will be the triumph of our



World Garifuna 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.           2.  Claiming Reparation from the British Government for atrocities committed against them.

3. Developing the Garifuna People      whereby they can continue their social, economic and cultural progress.


2. The Garifuna travails today is a direct result of our travails in Yurumein (St. Vincent) brought about by British greed and massacre.

3. 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.

4. The WGO will be closely observing the struggle of the Afrikan World Reparation Repatriation Truth Commission.

5. The WGO stands ready to cooperate and work with all groups on how to support our   claim for Reparation.

6. 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.

8. 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.


The Garifuna People of St. Vincent, whose direct and indisputable

descendants now reside in St. Vincent, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize and United States.


(1) His Britannic Majesty George III

(2) The British Government



WGO Seeks to Branch Out into Other Garinagu Concerns

10 Nov 2000

To:  Several Embassies & Organizations

The 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.

The 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.

Most Sincerely


Ruben Reyes


The Garifuna Culture Park

World Garifuna Organization

Dangriga, Belize

The Garifuna Culture Park, from its inception, is embodied in two of the three pillars of the World Garifuna Organization, namely: 

(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.

The 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 potential.

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

The 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 and Honduras

(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 Central America.  

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.

The 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 Arts & 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 relaxation.

In the very centre stands, majestically, the Monument "Chuluhadiwa Garinagu", the only structure of the Plan already constructed (April 1993).

The Monument

The 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 their future. 

The 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 need.

Finally, 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 individuals.


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 builders.

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 extraction.

Many Vincentians 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.

My expectations 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 Garifuna.

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 slavery.  Previous 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 Garifuna connection.  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.


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