Wednesday, May 28, 2014. GWEN NUNEZ GONZALEZ Reporting: The National Garifuna Council (NGC) held its 30thAnnunal Convention at the Chülühadiwa Garinagu Monument Site from May 23rd to 25th in beautiful Dangriga.
The National Garifuna Council is managed by a Board of Directors with representatives from the branches in Dangriga, Hopkins, Belize City, Belmopan, Georgetown, Seine Bight, Punta Gorda, Libertad, and San Pedro Town.
The convention is the highest body of the Board.
Mayor Gilbert Swazo of the Dangriga Town Council welcomed the gathering during the opening ceremony.
President of NGC, Mr. Robert Mariano, delivered his President’s remarks, Dr. Karen Martinez, Dean of Ecumenical Junior College, delivered the Guest Speaker’s Address, the Keynote Address was delivered by M. Frank Papa Mena, Mrs. Martha Robinson, President Dangriga Branch, gave the vote of thanks, Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to Belize, His Excellency Yoel Marcano also addressed the gathering, and Gulisi Students provided the entertainment.
A resolution was passed to hold the annual Conventions during the weekend of May 24th holiday instead of weekend of March 9thholiday.
Garifuna men and women who have contributed to the development of their communities were recognized with either a Chatuye Award (for men) or Barouda Award (for women). Barouda was the most dominant of the wives of Garifuna Leader Chief Joseph Chatuyere – Garifuna).
Five women received the Barouda Award: Mrs.RicardaSabal (Auntie Cada), Mrs. Paula Usher (Aunt Flor), Ms. Felomena Arana (Auntie Felo), Mrs. Carlota Garcia (Auntie Pitu), and Buyei Martha Lino.
Five men also received the Chatuye Award: Mr. Fred Martinez, Mr. Oscar Ramirez, Mr. Austin Rodriguez (Yau Austin), Mr. Anthony Sabal, and Mr. Kenneth Cassian Nunez.
Recognition of Excellence Award was presented to Ms. Aritha Sabal, the first recipient of the Arthur Lewis Indigenous Award, who graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Finance from The University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus.
A new executive for the Board of Directors was elected on Sunday: President, Robert Mariano; 1st Vice President, Sandra Miranda; 2nd Vice-President, Francisco Zuniga; Secretary, Gwen Nunez Gonzalez; Asst. Secretary, Orlando Augustine; Treasurer, Marietta Enriquez; Asst. Treasurer, Pamela Zuniga.These members serve a two-year term.
The Miss Garifuna Belize Cultural Pageant and the Solidarity Mass for 2014 will be hosted by the Dangriga Branch and next year’s convention will be hosted by San Pedro Branch.
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