Venezuelan Embassy’s conference room named in honour of Joseph Chatoyer
January 22, 2013
Venezuelan Embassy’s conference room named in honour of Joseph Chatoyer

The conference room at the Venezuelan Embassy here was on Friday named in honour of Joseph Chatoyer, this country’s National Hero.{{more}}

And former parliamentarians Mike Browne and René Baptiste said at the ceremony, that they regarded the gesture by the Venezuelan government, as inspirational.

The room on the ground floor of the building at Murray’s Road, now has a plaque on the door with “Joseph Chatoyer” emblazoned on it.

A painting of Chatoyer, along with photos and paintings of other Venezuelan dignitaries, adorn the walls of the room, which hosts press conferences and meetings.

Baptiste, a former minister of culture, speaking on behalf of the Vincentian government, said that the administration was humbled by the act.

“… Who would think, who would dream, who would have the vision, that on this soil of Venezuela there would be something named after the national hero of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Warrior Supremo, Right Excellent Joseph Chatoyer.

“The naming of the conference room, which is the territory of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela … moves me to the sole of my feet, that the spirit of Hugo Chavez is seeking to do…”

Chatoyer, who was a mix of African and Calinago (“Carib”) ancestry, was killed in battle with the French at Dorsetshire Hill in 1795.

Two years later, his people, the Garifuna, were defeated and shipped off to Balliceaux and later to other Caribbean and Latin American countries, including Belize, Nicaragua and Honduras, where he is revered.

Mike Browne, a former minister of education, foreign affairs and national mobilization, and current president of the Venezuela/Vincentian Friendship Association (VENVIFA), pointed out that Chatoyer, despite being a Vincentian, had some Venezuelan blood, since his ancestors originated from the Orinoco River in Venezuela.

“So there seems to be a certain logic to having something named after him at the embassy. Because Venezuela is covered through Chatoyter in a sense, and it’s named because he reflects some of the ideals that inspire and drive the administration in Venezuela. So Ambassador, I am particularly touched by that and I want to thank you,” Browne said.

“I was touched by his remarks that anytime somebody goes through the doors of that room, they will have to remember that his spirit is within that room and hopefully will colour the direction of what emanates, and what decisions comes out of that conference room.”

President of the Garifuna Heritage Foundation, David “Darkie” Williams, also spoke at the event and commended the embassy, through outgoing ambassador Joel Perez Marcano, for the gesture.

“Ambassador Marcano and the government in Venezuela that he represents have shown that they intend for as long as they are allowed to, … be people-centred … for the benefit of the people.

“The naming of this room here is very significant to the upkeep of the Garifuna history and, in particular, in aiding my organization in attempts to retrieve their Garifuna history and culture … and all that is Garifuna.”

Ambassador Marcano also handed over a book entitled “III Third International Seminar on Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America” which documents a series of lectures here.