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Commentary: Cross purposes: Guerrero vs Pknight
Published on July 22, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Anatol Scott

In his “Letter: Garinagu, reparations and CARICOM,” the main points of Mr Joseph Guerrero’s argument are quite clear:

1. The Garinagu in “Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the United States .... were not consulted nor were they included in the reparations claim now underway”;

2. Chatoyer was “killed”, not assassinated;

3. “None of the .... countries in which Garinagu live is a part of CARICOM so .... they can be eliminated as far as CARICOM’s reparations claim is concerned and .... the state of Belize has no claim to make on behalf of the Garinagu living there;”

4. “The Garinagu stand a better chance bringing their own case against former colonial powers as their case is distinct from that of the CARICOM claims over slavery;”

5. “No one Garifuna organization will be able to take on this task. They will have to work together under the umbrella of one central Garifuna organization working toward a common goal of winning such a case against the powerful British government.”

anatol_scott.jpg
Anatol Leopold Scott is a graduate of the St Vincent Boys’ Grammar School. In 1969, he was appointed executive secretary of the St Vincent Tourist Board under James Mitchell, the then minister of agriculture, tourism, and trade. He emigrated to Canada where he worked at different jobs in government and private enterprises. He pursued higher education at the University Of Alberta, graduating BA (1993) with distinction, and MA (1994) in History.
Instead of digesting what Mr Guerero has written and possibly accepting some of what he is saying, Pknight, one of the leading ‘internet crazies’ (as defined by Dr Ralph Gonsalves) seeks to impose his view on Mr Guerrero by insisting that “we cannot afford or encourage any division, we have to stick together as one people, one voice, one destiny.” Pknight hammers home the dogma: “the St Vincent and the Grenadines position is clear on this reparation matter.”

There is no room in Pknight’s world for discussion or disagreement; we must all become automatons, thinking the prescribed thoughts by those who know it all, voicing one prepackaged opinion so that we can hopefully share, one day, in some sort of heavenly social dream.

This approach may be acceptable to ideologues and the fanatically religious but it should not be imposed on the rest of us nobodies. I am a nobody and I cannot be called an ‘internet crazy’ because I am not afraid to use my full name and neither can I be accused of being a member of the NDP.

I am begging Pknight to please accept that other people might not be as rhinoceros-headed as he seems to be on this and other matters. See an example

He goes on to say that the Garinagu should “pursue and settle the stolen land issue first, and let’s see what happens.” What stolen land issue? The Yellow Caribs were Kalinago and they lived very peacefully, for the most part, with the French inhabitants for over 150 years. The Kalinago and the Garifuna were not signatories to the 1763 Treaty agreed to by the French, English and Spanish.

If there is a land issue, it begins with the treaty between the Garifuna and the British, which ended the First Carib War. By signing that treaty, the Garifuna gave up their right to almost half of the land on St Vincent. The problem for the Garinagu lies in the St Vincent Garifuna declaration of the war that ended in 1796. During and after that war, the argument used by the British was one of treason against the Garifuna, based on their acceptance of French citizenship.

The question should be asked: Did the entire Garifuna people accept French citizenship? It would seem that the leadership, Chatoyer and Duvallée and perhaps a few others did accept that citizenship (which was not really available to them) but that does not mean that all of the exported people did.

The thing that is disgraceful and needs to be legally challenged about the deportation of the vast majority of an indigenous people is this, so far unmentioned, fact; instead of punishing the few leaders who accepted French citizenship, the colonial leaders engaged in a draconian act; they exported all of those people because they considered them all traitors.

By deporting those people, the British were able to purloin Garifuna land but, by turning the argument of treason (by all of this people) which was used by the British on its head and throwing it back in a court of justice, I believe the Garinagu might have a winning case against the British.

Pknight goes on to say that “only SVG can bring this to the ICJ table at present.” Based on my argument here and, in a subdued manner, in my three-part article, Don’t Mess with History, I think that SVG would be opening itself to a charge of conflict of interest in that SVG is now the recipient of all the benefits that flowed from the British land grab. The only people who can bring this case to the court are the Garinagu through a central organization (as suggested by Mr Guerrero) and there is no need for them to present the losing argument of genocide against their people.

I completely agree with Mr Guerrero when he says: “The case of stolen lands must come from the victims. The clear victims are the descendants of those exiled. The case for stolen lands is for them to make,” not SVG or CARICOM

By the way, Mr Guerrero, you have used the term Garinagu throughout your presentation to refer to what many people (including myself) refer to as Garifuna. This has confused me for some time. According to other sources, the term Garinagu refers to the hybrid indigenous people that now exist in places such as Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and the United States, whereas the term Garifuna refers to the language spoken by such people. On the other hand, most people in St Vincent and most of the other Caribbean islands refer to the Garifuna, not as a language, but as those people of mixed Kalinago (Yellow Carib) and African descent. Could you offer some sort of clarity on this issue?
 
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Comments:

Joseph Guerrero:

Anatol, Garinagu is the plural and it means in most cases the entire Garifuna(adjective and singular) population. For example Garinagu are in Honduras. That speaks to the entire population of Garinagu in Honduras it can also mean all of us no matter where we are. A man can be a garifuna which speaks about his culture or nationality as we are a nation and is descriptive in a cultural context and national identity. American natives are American and also they identify as a national of their nation as well. More than one is then termed Garinagu. Thanks for asking this important question maybe others have been wondering the same thing. I hope this makes it clearer to you the use of the two terms Garinagu vs Garifuna.

Joseph Guerrero:

Anatol according to my information the treaty of the first Carib (Garifuna, Carib is based on a Spanish word meaning Cannibal according to some sources on line) war was broken when the British started to encroach on Carib farm lands. They had been complaining to the crown that the Caribs were not utilizing it efficiently. the Caribs had no choice but to go to war the British had alrady violated the Treaty. I'n so hapy you made reference to that detestable treaty between British and French where they decide among themselves who owned Yurumein. By that act I'd say the British violated the treaty after the first war. I'm no legal scholar that is just my opinion.

Garifuna Pablo Blanco:
Anatol,

Pknight made many inaccurate historical references. He posits, Chatoyer was killed rather than assassinated, is not acceptable. Assassination is the correct term because he was not an ordinary joe, he was the Paramount Chief Of The Garifuna nation- other Chiefs reported to him. Why devalue the worth of a slain leader? There were other native groups in the lesser antilles, the predominant one at that time were the " Black Carib" population. The other indigenous folks were exterminated by the christian colonizers.

The natives told Columbus many things, statements got lost in translation, he was told we kept bones of humans in our homes. His interpretation of that is if there are bones than someone must of devoured the person, thus thinking one of our cultural practices was to eat people, thats a LIE. This information was relayed to Sir William Young and Charles Shepherd whom then coined the term "savages". Which is still used in SVG society today to refer to us. Whatever the rationale that was used to steal our land by the christian colonizers was used to justify our removal from our territory. They wanted our fertile land for sugar cultivation. Garifuna nation were not deported, we were forcibly removed, then exiled and massacred in the process. The term exile is used in relation to us because Yurumein was our territory before the christian colonizers invaded our land. We at no point gave up our birthright to St Vincent.

Victor Hagues made Satuye a Captain/General in the french army because they had a common enemy- the British. The Garifuna became french citizens. The french and british were constantly fighting over the caribbean islands. The french needed allies in SVG because they did not know the terrain and saw that Garifuna nation were warriors and the french knew we were not going to give up our land easily. Satuye and Duvalle children attended schools in Martinique. Based on my readings and spirit The Garifuna became french citizens because one of the prerequisites to obtaining arms from the french was to become french citizens. From the look of it they had a great political relationship. Satuye son was sent to france as a part of a delegation, he impressed the people over their because of his command of the french language.

In closing, Garifuna history is dynamic and comprehensive, I suggestion to pknight is to thoroughly read works by our scholars before making inaccurate historical statements. We are well documented in history we have over 200 titles.

Garifuna Pablo Blanco:

Anatol,

Pknight made many inaccurate historical references. He posits, Chatoyer was killed rather than assassinated, is not acceptable. Assassination is the correct term because he was not an ordinary joe, he was the Paramount Chief Of The Garifuna nation- other Chiefs reported to him. Why devalue the worth of a slain leader? There were other native groups in the lesser antilles, the predominant one at that time were the " Black Carib" population. The other indigenous folks were exterminated by the christian colonizers.

The natives told Columbus many things, statements got lost in translation, he was told we kept bones of humans in our homes. His interpretation of that is if there are bones than someone must of devoured the person, thus thinking one of our cultural practices was to eat people, thats a LIE. This information was relayed to Sir William Young and Charles Shepherd whom then coined the term "savages". Which is still used in SVG society today to refer to us. Whatever the rationale that was used to steal our land by the christian colonizers was used to justify our removal from our territory. They wanted our fertile land for sugar cultivation. Garifuna nation were not deported, we were forcibly removed, then exiled and massacred in the process. The term exile is used in relation to us because Yurumein was our territory before the christian colonizers invaded our land. We at no point gave up our birthright to St Vincent.

Victor Hagues made Satuye a Captain/General in the french army because they had a common enemy- the British. The Garifuna became french citizens. The french and british were constantly fighting over the caribbean islands. The french needed allies in SVG because they did not know the terrain and saw that Garifuna nation were warriors and the french knew we were not going to give up our land easily. Satuye and Duvalle children attended schools in Martinique. Based on my readings and spirit The Garifuna became french citizens because one of the prerequisites to obtaining arms from the french was to become french citizens. From the look of it they had a great political relationship. Satuye son was sent to france as a part of a delegation, he impressed the people over their because of his command of the french language.

In closing, Garifuna history is dynamic and comprehensive, I suggestion to pknight is to thoroughly read works by our scholars before making inaccurate historical statements. We are well documented in history we have over 200 titles.

PKnight:

Garifuna Pablo Blanco, can you please copy and post where PKnight "made many (or any) inaccurate historical references"...and where Pknight posted that "Chatoyer was killed rather than assinated"...I am anxiously awaiting such.

PKnight:

Garifuna Pablo Blanco:

Again, in which post did PKnight say "Chatoyer was killed rather than assassinated” and where, as you implied “Pknight made many (if any) inaccurate historical references"? There must be some mistake on your part. I am awaiting your reply!

Peter Binose:

If I was you I wouldn'y even bother to engage PKnight he is what Gonsalvews would describe as uneducated and untutored, he knows nothing about anything.


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