by Charles Gladden
DANGRIGA, Stann Creek District, Fri. Nov. 18, 2022
Belizeans from all over the country and the diaspora traveled down south to Dangriga to celebrate Garifuna Settlement Day on Saturday, November 19.
The theme for this year’s celebration was “Bun, Amürü Nu Hagabüribei Garinagu, Awanserameme Wamá Lau”, which translates to “I for you, You for Me is the Garifuna Way; Let us Continue to Move Forward.”
Cultural activities that were part of the celebrations started earlier in the month; however, the main event began early on Saturday morning with the re-enactment of the arrival of the largest group of Garinagu people to Belize’s shores, followed by a Garifuna Mass and the official ceremonies at Alejo Beni Park in Dangriga.
During the official ceremonies, the Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. John Briceño, delivered the keynote address. During his address, PM Briceño emphasized the need to preserve the Garifuna culture.
“Every year since 1977, we celebrate Garifuna Settlement Day across Belize as one people. As diverse as our Belizean culture is, what unites us is that we are each a part of the sum total of a whole nation, one Belize… We must preserve this culture! Garifuna parents, you must ensure that our Garifuna children speak the language, hear the stories, as I have said before. To our Garifuna mothers, sing to your babies in Garifuna so that from early they can hear the Garifuna words and be uplifted by the very sound of that colorful language. Teach your children Garifuna history, because Garifuna history is Belizean history,” he said.
“As we have heard today, the Garinagu set a great example for all of us on the importance of being steadfast and enduring sacrifices to attain their important goal of remaining free and building a new future. Sustainable human development is about ensuring a cohesive society, a vibrant and equitable economy, a just and accountable institution, and a healthy environment, so we must work together to achieve this sustainable human development and be true to this year’s theme,” said Dangriga area representative and Minister of State for the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science, and Technology, (Hon.) Dr. Louis Zabaneh.