Mr. Daniel Farmar
FirstCaribbean Bank Ltd.
St. Michael, Barbados
I write you, sir, primarily as a Garifuna person, but also at the request of the Garifuna community of Belize as well as the entire Garifuna Diaspora throughout Central America and the United States of America concerning the harassment and move to dismiss at least one senior officer of the CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank, Dangriga Branch, Belize, Miss Uwahnie Martinez.
The alleged violation by this senior officer is her answering greetings in Garifuna from Garifuna customers who address her in Garifuna within the bank.
The FirstCaribbean Bank claims that its official language is English, hence only English is to be spoken on the premises of the bank.
First of all, FirstCaribbean Bank cannot behave this way because over and beyond the fact that the lingua franca of the entire country of Belize is not English but Creole, the major communities where the bank has its branches freely speak in Creole, or Garifuna or Spanish.
In our case as Garifuna people, our ancestors fought and maintained our culture, i.e. the language “Garifuna”, and our identity, never surrendering to the enslaving Europeans.
However, the Bank has given our struggle another twist by violating our Belizean Constitution, and consequently the laws of Belize, which uphold and protect against any form of discrimination and its effects.
We have invited the FirstCaribbean Bank Manager in Belize, Mr. Glen Smith, to dialogue for a peaceful resolution of the issue, but he refuses to meet with us.
We hope to hear from you.
Dr. Theodore Aranda