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Dear Mr. Hector Zapata and my Garifuna people

LettersDear Mr. Hector Zapata and my Garifuna people

The idea of forming a Garifuna nation existed centuries ago before our people were removed by the British from our original homeland, Yurumein, now known as Saint Vincent & The Grenadines in 1797.

It is not proper for a Garifuna individual or group to say that they founded the Garifuna nation. As an organization to mobilize our people into action, this new organization is being formed to facilitate this process and it will take time for our people to buy into this new concept.

In my opinion, there is no other way but this way and eventually it will prevail. Why? Because (1) We have not gotten over our unlawful removal from our homeland, “Yurumein”; (2) The atrocities and genocide committed against our people by the French, British and now in some of the countries where we currently live, warrant action to be brought against all of them; and (3) Many of us are now willing to seek justice on behalf of our people, because moving from one country to another has not made our lives any better. Nothing like your home!

In fact, we the Garinagu are a nation living in several other nations due to our forced removal or our decision to migrate to the countries where we currently live.

The challenge for us now, is to find ways and means to coexist and communicate with each other across borders on all matters that are of cultural, social, political and economic interest to us all as one people.

People are accustomed to identifying themselves as citizens of the countries where they were born. However, in many countries the ethnic backgrounds of some people, like we the Garifuna, deny us of equal treatment, opportunity and protection under the laws of these countries.

Today is the day when our people arrived in Roatán, Honduras, on April the 12th, 1797. It is a good time for all of us to reflect and ask ourselves: How much progress have we made as a people since then?

Your friend,
Wellington C. Ramos
Adjunct Professor History

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