We need to  bring back the Garifuna Language – Carlos James
Minister of Culture Carlos James
Front Page
March 19, 2024
We need to bring back the Garifuna Language – Carlos James

Minister of Tourism, Sustainable Development and Culture, Carlos James has urged Vincentians to acknowledge the United Nations (UN) Declarations on the indigenous peoples, and revitalise, promote and preserve the Garifuna language in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

James, along with members of the Garifuna Heritage Foundation, as well as government officials including Prime Minister, Ralph Gonsalves and Governor General, Dame Susan Dougan attended the National Heroes Day wreath laying ceremony at the obelisk in Dorsetshire Hill, to honour the life of SVG’s National Hero, Chief Joseph Chatoyer.

“We stand on the very blood-soaked ground where he took his final breath. We gather…not just in honour of the legacy of our first National Hero but it is a symbol of our resilience as a people and more particularly, our indigenous peoples, those who reside here and those who are scattered across the Americas,” Minister James said.

James, who quoted French Psychiatrist Frantz Fanon, said that each generation must discover its mission, fulfil it, or betray it. He continued that it is the idea that each generation has its own unique challenges and responsibilities and it must find its purpose and mission in the context of its time.

“Our growth as a civilisation is chronicled in many things before us, our right to self-determination, our creative imagination fostered by the immersions of rhythms in Africa, and cultivated by the dynamic process of our Caribbean creolisation. Our development as a country and a people with leaders who have emerged from the very bowels of our working class formulates the concept of our Caribbean identity in its post-colonial formations.”

James said that the UN formations on the rights of indigenous people has called for the recognition, promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples. He added that it is a vision of a world that is just and equitable, and is grounded on the principles of justice, democracy and respect for human rights.

“So too, we must push for the preservation of the language of our indigenous peoples, noting the recommendation by the UN Permanent Forum and the indigenous issues to proclaim 2022-2032, the International Decade of Indigenous Languages,” he added.

James further said that this provides an opportunity for the preservation, revitalisation, and promotion of our Garifuna language in Yurumein ( St Vincent). He added that he is focused on building an inclusive, sustainable and resilient future, and that people must acknowledge the UN declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples.

“The right to maintain, control, protect and develop cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions. Our efforts must be urgently scaled up to achieve the sustainable development goals by 2030. Equally, we must work together to multiply our efforts so that the 2030 agenda meets the development aspirations of our indigenous people.”

He said that the government’s commitment to reclaim Baliceaux must be commended, more particularly, the Prime Minister’s commitment to pursuing this undertaking to do simply what is right, which is correcting a long legacy in history of historic wrongs.