Features — 08 March 2013 — by Adele Ramos
Garinagu focus on Belize-Guat referendum, gang violence, funding at 29th NGC convention

The beautiful seaside village of Hopkins in Stann Creek will this weekend, March 8-10, host the 29th Annual Convention of the National Garifuna Council at the Holy Family RC School.

Organizers say that, “Garinagu from all over Belize congregate annually at this event to celebrate our culture, discuss the challenges of our communities and set the course for future course of action.”

The Belize-Guatemala Referendum (to be presented by a team including Percy Lewis and Matthew Martinez); social drinking and crime and crime prevention (to be presented by Dr. Elma Augustine from the Ministry of Health); and funding opportunities for rural projects (to be presented by Romaldo Lewis and Mr. Villafranco of Ecumenical College) are among the key topics billed for discussion at the convention. Presenters are to address issues relating to gang violence, as well as other challenges confronting Garifuna in Belize and the world over.

Apart from business meetings and panel discussions, the convention will host a youth forum, featuring talks on leadership training, as well as a song workshop.

“It is important to note that the annual convention is the highest authority and decision-making body of the National Garifuna Council,” organizers said in a press release. “Also this is where the National Board of Directors presents its yearly report on past and future activities of the council, as well as consideration and adoption of resolutions moved by the membership. Accompanying the report is also an audited financial statement.”

Robert Mariano, national president of the National Garifuna Council, said: “I am taking this opportunity to express the council’s sincere gratitude to all the Government of Belize, National Institute for Culture and History, UNICEF, University of The West Indies, our Belizean brothers and sisters, and all other agencies for your generous and passionate support to the National Garifuna Council (NGC) and its activities in the past years. In the coming year, the National Garifuna Council anticipates your continued support.”

Organizers reiterate that persons interested in submitting resolutions to the national executive, to be considered at the convention, may do so in advance of the convention via one of the branch presidents.

More information can be obtained through local branches or by calling 600-8701.

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