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Port Loyola rep addresses Garifuna community in New York, pledges support for reparations

Posted: Wednesday, November 10, 2021. 1:05 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Minister of State for Public Utilities and Logistics and area representative for Port Loyola, Gilroy Usher, Sr., addressed a gathering of churchgoers on Sunday at St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church in Queens, New York City, New York, at a mass to celebrate Garifuna Settlement Day.

He briefly recounted the history of the Garinagu people and their contributions to Belize before turning to modern-day issues and challenges.

Usher cited among others the increase in crime in the Culture Capital and Garinagu business persons losing sales to their Asian counterparts, whom he said “hardly invest their profits in the community.”

The Minister of State listed plans and efforts by the Government that would help Garinagu in the Jewel: jobs through the Police Department and in the forthcoming apprenticeship program; land and starter homes for first-time owners, and reducing and in some cases eliminating the cost of education through scholarships, grants and the “free education” plan.

He also expressed support for reparations for the black descendants of slaves in Belize, both Kriol and Garinagu – though some Garinagu insist they were never enslaved in Saint Vincent.

Usher concluded, “It is true that those who do not learn from the mistakes of history are bound to repeat them. For that reason, Garifuna Settlement Day should be a day of celebration, but it should also be a day [for] analysis, to know what needs to be done to make life happy and more prosperous for the Garinagu and other ethnic groups in Belize.”

Garinagu Bishop of Belize’s Roman Catholic Church, Larry Nicasio, was guest celebrant of the Mass.

 

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