Wednesday, April 1st 2015. Aaron Humes Reporting. Stephen Okeke, creator of the bust of Thomas Vincent Ramos and many other sculptures of national heroes and related monuments, says he has been unable to make contact with the Thomas Vincent Ramos Foundation, which took possession of the bust from him last November in time for Garifuna Settlement Day celebrations. He says he has only received $5,000 of the total $35,000 which he is owed and the agreement he signed with Dangriga area representative Ivan Ramos has not been kept to.
The agreement called for monthly payments of about $3,000 but none have been made since December. Several pledges from Belizeans were received but are reportedly uncollected.
The situation is urgent for Okeke, who is now suffering from ulcerative colitis, a chronic, inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation in the digestive tract, for which he needs surgery. As a proud man, he apologized today for any offense he caused in his work but said his health is the overriding issue now.
Okeke did note some success in that tourists and Belizeans alike have the physical evidence of his work of T.V. Ramos, Philip Goldson, George Price and Antonio Soberanis as living testaments of Belize’s history and their individual contributions to the nation. Nonetheless, he says that for the sake of his health he cannot continue as he is now doing.
We attempted to reach Hon. Ramos for comments this evening but instead we asked us to call him back next week Tuesday, when he said he would be better able to speak about the situation.