Resistance Heartbeat Drummers pay tribute to Garifuna Heritage in song
March 3, 2015
Resistance Heartbeat Drummers pay tribute to Garifuna Heritage in song

The Resistance Heartbeat Drummers, a cultural organization based in the Kingstown Park area, has recorded a song called “Balliceaux,” as a means of bringing attention to the retrieval of the Garifuna Heritage.

The group, which consists of members from several communities {{more}}adjoining Kingstown Park, said in a release that the primary objective of the song is to make Balliceaux a monument to the Garifuna people.

On March 14, 1795, Paramount Chief His Excellency the Right Honourable Joseph Chatoyer, first National Hero of St Vincent and the Grenadines, was killed by the British. He was fighting to defend our sovereignty and independence. In July 1796, the British rounded up as many Garifuna people as they could capture. A total of 5,080 Garifuna men, women and children were shipped to Balliceaux. On March 3, 1797, when ships were filled to transport the Garifuna to exile, only 2,248 were alive to board the ships. The harsh conditions of imprisonment imposed by the British caused the deaths of 2,832 of our ancestors. A further 222 died on the voyage to Roatan.

“The expulsion and harsh conditions of imprisonment of the Garifuna people was inhumane, wrong and an act of genocide. The work done by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves for reparations must be applauded and supported by all. While the call for reparations is a just one, it is even more important that we honour the memory of our ancestors and pay tribute to them, especially in relation to their role in moulding us as a people, we must be first to acknowledge the suffering and pain our people went through, we must be first to pay homage to them. We must do everything in our power to wipe the stigma from their name, we must be first to memorialize them.

“Balliceaux is too much of a crucial link to our ancestral heritage to be left unattended and possibly be used in a manner that would disrespect the memory of our ancestors,” a release from Resistance Heartbeat said.

They are soliciting the support of all Vincentians, at home and abroad, to achieve the goal of making Balliceaux a monument to the Garifuna people.