August 4, 2015
Garifuna spiritual leaders can provide ‘cures for any disease’ – Ramos

Wellington Ramos, a member of the visiting Garifuna delegation that is currently in St Vincent and the Grenadines has proclaimed that Garifuna spiritual leaders can cure any disease and protect persons from “evil people”.

Ramos shared this information during a presentation he delivered at the New Democratic Party headquarters last Wednesday, July 29.

He explained that within Dugu – the religion of the Garinagu, which is based on spiritualism – there are persons who possess the powers to heal and protect.{{more}}

“It is based on ancestral rites. In every Garifuna family and community, there is a person called a Buyei… a spiritual leader. That Buyei gets powers from a higher person called ‘ari’,” explained Ramos.

“You cannot say ‘I want to be a Buyei’… the ‘ari’ has to make you a Buyei, and then you become a protector, a preserver of the culture, and you are given different powers.”

Ramos further said that he had the opportunity to meet a female Buyei recently, who said that she was ‘visited’ by an ‘ari’ who had become a Buyei at the age of 13.

“He [the ari] was one of those people on those boats that they removed from Balliceaux in 1797 to take to Roatán. That man spoke about the journey and the story…”

Ramos added: “For this culture and this ethnic group to reconnect, Balliceaux would have to be part of the deal for us because in Balliceaux, our people were… imprisoned, they were tortured, [and] they were massacred.”

Ramos, who is the vice-president of the United Garifuna Association, said that for most Garifuna persons, when they were growing up, their grandparents would tell them that the Central and North American countries in which they resided were not their true homes.

“They would say to us… ‘There is a place by the name of Yurumein, far away from here – that is our homeland!’ Our grandparents in Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Belize and of the United States, we are still singing that song to our children, our grandchildren, and we will be singing that song until we die.” (JSV)