Features — 29 July 2014 — by Adele Ramos
Dr. Julius Garvey, son of Marcus Garvey, comes to Belize for Centennial tour

His father founded the UNIA in Jamaica    in 1914

Dr. Julius Garvey, son of Marcus Mossiah Garvey, the founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), is due to arrive in Belize next week, as a part of a historic tour to Belize which coincides with the centennial celebrations — celebrating 100 years of Garveyism — being held for the Jamaica-born activist of international acclaim.

Dr. Julius is a vascular surgeon by profession, but he is also the CEO of the Garvey-Chatuye Initiative.

“The centennial tour by Dr. Julius Garvey gives Belize an opportunity to get personally acquainted with the Honorable Marcus Mossiah Garvey and his work to preserve Black Africans and Black African descendants’ identity and culture,” organizers say.

 

baba-garvey

The legendary Marcus Mossiah Garvey

Emerson Guild, spokesperson for the UNIA in Belize and the Mutual Improvement Alliance (MIA), formed by organizations such as Belize Emergent Corp and Rasta Inc., told Amandala that this will be Garvey’s first visit to Belize, and they are planning a welcome event for him on Tuesday, August 5, 2014.

Guild said that Garvey was a special guest at the annual general meeting of the Central America Black Organization (CABO) held last December in Nicaragua.

“We spoke about the connection between Marcus Garvey and Isaiah Morter. We also spoke about Belize losing one [of] its first sons, Samuel Haynes, to the inner circle of the UNIA New York body. Samuel Haynes had become the spirit of Garveyism during the height of the persecution of Marcus Garvey. He was a trusted agent and confidant of the UNIA,” Guild said.

“He immediately accepted the invitation [to tour Belize], because he had always heard about Belize,” said Guild.

He said that the purpose of the tour is to highlight the journey that Dr. Julius Garvey’s father made 100 years ago, and its contribution to our current politics and self-identification in the 21st century. How will the activists drive that point home to modern-day Blacks, many of whom know nothing of Garvey and his work?

“It is not an easy job, because so many people acquiesce to the status quo’s determination of who we are going to be and how we are going to be and what we look like within the context of the history that is being told,” Guild conceded.

He said that as a people, we have had the journey.

“The political journey of Belize is intricately connected to Garveyism — the social welfare, political welfare, all of the origins of these black structures…” said Guild, pointing to organizations such as the United Black Association for Development (UBAD), the Black Cross Nurses and even political organizations such as the National Independence Party.

Abdul Marin Nunez, one of the organizers of the Garvey tour, noted that in all other Latin American countries, Blacks are struggling to have themselves recognized, while in Belize we have black leadership: we have a black Prime Minister; we have a Black Governor-General, and a lot of people in executive offices are Black.

On Wednesday, August 6, Dr. Garvey is scheduled to tour the Belize River Valley area, where he will visit the Flowers Bank Monument, which holds historical insights on the Battle of St. George’s Caye (1798), marking “the historic defeat of the Spaniards,” Guild said.

“It’s not a myth. We stand firm that it’s not a myth. To the contrary, I would say it is actually the declaration of Independence for Belize,” he added.

After Garvey tours the River Valley, he returns to Belize City for a 3:00 p.m. event at the Liberty Hall, located at 86 Barrack Road, where Garvey hopes to meet some young people and some of the grassroots leaders from the Belize community.

On Thursday, Garvey heads west to Belmopan, for courtesy calls on key Government officials, and then south to Dangriga, where he is scheduled to make a presentation. Next he travels to the southernmost municipality of Punta Gorda, for a visit on Friday, August 8.

Garvey’s tour of Belize concludes on Saturday, August 9, when he returns to Long Island, New York.

Those interested in receiving information on, and in providing logistical and financial support for, the event can contact Guild at 629-8751 or [email protected], and Nunez at 630-3384 or [email protected]

Organizers are hoping that they can produce a commemorative booklet as memorabilia, which will feature information about Garvey and the UNIA movement. Patrons will receive acknowledgement in the booklet.

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