The Decade of African Descendants in the Central American Region
The year 2013 will officially begin the Decade of African Descendants in the Central American region. In Belize, the ethnic composition includes the Creole and Garifuna people and both cultures share a common African ancestry. In 1995, an initiative was taken to form the Central American Black Organization, CABO, a regional movement that was birthed in the Jewel. Its membership has since grown to a little under four hundred million people. In anticipation of the ten year celebration a strategy planning session will be held in Nicaragua this weekend. Representing Belize at the forum are Roy Cayetano of the National Garifuna Council and Emerson Guild. Guild told News Five today that the issue of education as a tool to curb poverty is high on the agenda.
Emerson Guild, Country Representative, CABO
“In the next ten years the decade starts in 2013 where we are supposed to have the decade for people of African ancestry in the region and all around the world. Well those descendants in Belize are no longer a voice crying out in the wilderness, they’re part of a bigger number, the three hundred and seventy million that I speak about. So we have a better opportunity to develop the kind of infrastructure, training and creating the kind of transitional leadership that we will need to stem poverty as it exists today.”
“In terms of the session itself, you’re going to be representing Belize in Managua to discuss this ten year strategy. How does that work? Give us some detail as to what can be expected as the desired outcome.”
“Well, in 1997 we had the Durban Conference which dealt with all of the xenophobia and the racism and all of the different schisms that afflict the African descendants all over the world and there were resolutions passed then which is now being observed and ratified in different countries as time passes. Well Belize has its share and we are supposed to make sure that Belize’s voice is represented in this planning session. I am traveling with Mr. Roy Cayetano, a member of the NGC [National Garifuna Council] in this pilgrimage.”
“Speak to us on the actual representation of these people. What are some of the concerns that will be brought forward at the meeting in Managua?”
“Definitely the re-education process, the curriculums necessary for this change process. For too long we have been doing some real band-aid fixes, we’ve been spending a lot of money that has no real effect on poverty itself. So what we’re discussing is education systems, the kind of enterprises that we can develop to encourage the social and economic welfare, the upliftment of our social and economic welfare. The other part to it is the necessary leadership that must be developed at the youth level so that we can transition our young leaders to become better mothers, fathers, politicians with a higher moral position.”