BELIZE CITY–The Central American Black Organization (CABO), which is Organización Negra Centroamericana (ONECA) in Spanish, held its 20th General Assembly in the Garifuna community of Triunfo de la Cruz, Tela, Honduras, on Sunday, December 14, at which two Belizeans were elected to serve in the 2014-2016 executive.
YaYa Marin-Coleman of the UBAD Educational Foundation (UEF) will serve as CABO’s Secretary of Communications, while Emerson Guild of Emergent Corp will serve as CABO’s treasurer.
Marin-Coleman said that as CABO’s new communications person, she will be proposing that there should be a correspondent in every CABO member country, so that there can be a consistent flow of community news which, she said, do not generally make it to the mainstream media.
“I am looking forward to us learning lessons from each other as well as learning how to cope with challenges,” said Marin-Coleman, who is enthusiastic about the opportunity this also presents for her to improve her knowledge of Spanish as a second language.
According to Marin-Coleman, for the first time CABO this year elected a female president in the person of Mirtha Colon, who works with an AIDS organization which serves the Honduran people.
Marin-Coleman said that usually, the general assembly is held in a major city, but this year it was held in a rural community, a Garifuna village, which gave them the opportunity to interact with the locals.
She also explained that the election should be held every two years, but due to discrepancy issues resulting out of last year’s election, new elections were called for 2014.
In advance of the rescheduled elections, CABO’s former directors met in El Salvador to look at CABO’s constitution to see how their problems could be resolved.
The recent assembly had the participation of over 30 organizations from 6 Central American countries and the United States. There were no reps from Salvador or Mexico.
Marin-Coleman said that one of the things agreed at the General Assembly was the need for a network of Black people in the region, in support of people living with HIV/AIDS, because they have been feeling disconnected. She said that they conducted a candle-lighting ceremony for people who have passed away after battling with HIV/AIDS.
In related news, the National Kriol Council of Belize withdrew from CABO following a formal letter sent to CABO in December.
Marin-Coleman said that this year, she hopes to raise the interest of Belizean organizations in CABO, in the hope that they could garner more members.
CABO is planning on hosting a major event in Dangriga, Belize, next year, in commemoration of its 20th anniversary, which will be celebrated in August 2015.
According to the declaration issued at the General Assembly, Belize will host the 11th Meeting of the Central African Youth in July 2015, and CABO’s next general assembly will be held in Portobelo, Panama, in December 2015.
The first meeting of the newly elected board is slated for January 23, 2015.