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Yurumei Declaration

We, the participants of the First International Garifuna Conference, convened at Peace Memorial Hall from March 10th – 13th 2012 in Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines commemorate the survival of the Garifuna People. We have gathered in Yurumei, the birthplace of the Garifuna Nation, to share ideas, examine issues, network and strengthen global links to support the development of the International Garifuna Research Centre (IGRC). The Centre was created to research, document and disseminate information on the history, heritage and culture of the Garifuna worldwide;

As scholars, social and cultural activists and students from Barbados, T&T, Dominica, Belize, Honduras, Canada, Martinique, USA, Venezuela and St. Vincent and the Grenadines we :

- Remember that 217 years have passed since the death of the Garifuna Resistance Leader Paramount Chief Joseph Chatoyer;

-Deplore the brutal suffering of our Garifuna people on the island of Balliceaux and remember the brutal expulsion of our Garifuna people from Yurumei 215 years ago;

- Reaffirm our commitment to continuing the struggle for freedom and consciousness, until the construction of one unified Garinagu people.

- Recognize the importance of organized struggle and strategic alliances for the promotion of human rights for Afro-descendants, Indigenous peoples and Garifuna communities that will make possible their equal participation and integrated sustainable development which do not compromise their identity and dignity;

- Celebrate the 2001 UNESCO proclamation that Garifuna Heritage and Culture is a masterpiece of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity;

- Acknowledge the 2007 United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples , and affirm that the Garifuna People forms part of that Indigenous struggle;

- Acknowledge the contributions made by progressives in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and other countries in lifting the Garifuna consciousness of our peoples and for laying the groundwork for the Garifuna Heritage Foundation;

-Salute the 2011 United Nations Resolution A/66/460 proclaiming 2012-2022 as the first Decade of Afro-Descendants as a direct result of Recommendations made by the First World Summit of Afro-descendants celebrated in La Ceiba Honduras in August 2011;

- Reaffirm Yurumei as the ancestral homeland of all Garifuna people around the world;

WE, the scholars, social and cultural activists, and students attending this conference:

1) Express support for the initiative of The Garifuna Heritage Foundation in organizing and convening this First International Garifuna Conference.
2) Approve the establishment of the First International Garifuna Research Centre here in Yurumei.
3) Recommend that the island of Balliceaux be preserved and protected as a sacred heritage site for the use of future generations.
4) Are committed to the retrieval and documentation of historical and cultural information about Garifuna people
5) Will share our research with the Garifuna Heritage Foundation in a continued effort to augment its library and archives on Garifuna history and culture.
6) Support all efforts to revitalize and encourage the Garifuna heritage, language and culture here on Yurumei.
7) Support south/south cooperation between our countries, such as the Memorandum of Understanding and alliance between ODECO (Ethnic Community Development Organization) Honduras and TGHF Yurumei, and commit ourselves to further such alliances.
8) Recommend the convening of an annual Garifuna Studies conference or colloquium here in Yurumei.
9) Demand reparation for the loss suffered by Afro-descendants, Indigenous People and Garifuna People as a result of the actions of those responsible.

Made at Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, this 12th day of March, 2012.

Fort Charlotte:
Named after the German Queen, Charlotte who was married to King George III, the Fort, one of the earliest fortification was constructed by the British in 1806. Its canons were turned inland to attack the indigenous Black Caribs.

Media-Release of The Garifuna Heritage Foundation (TGHF) on the establishment of the International Garifuna Centre and the hosting of the International Conference, Art and Cultural Exhibition, Film Series, and Garifuna Market-place
February 27, 2012

The Garifuna Heritage Foundation and the Coordinating Committee of the International Conference is pleased to bring an update to the media and the general public about the progress of arrangements and plans for our Event which will be held at the Peace Memorial Hall.
Friday, March 9th, 2012 : Arrival of Participants –

Saturday, March 10th, 2012 :

9:00 am – 3:00 pm - Pilgrimage by boat to the Historic Island of Balliceaux organized by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture.
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm - Opening Ceremony for Conference, Film Screening, Art Exhibition & Garifuna Marketplace - Lecture by Feature Speaker, Dr. Joseph Palacio.

Sunday, March 11th, 2012:

8:00 am - 5:00 pm - Conference Working Session .
• Art Exhibition & Garifuna Marketplace remain open.
5:00 - 7:00 pm : Film Screening & Discussion
• “Play Jonkunu Play” Directed by Dr. Oliver Greene (USA)
• “Kytangomingo Ema, the path of our ancestors “ Directed by Christian Foret, (Martinique)
Monday, March 12th, 2012:
8:00 am - 5:00 pm - Conference Working Session.
• Exhibition & Cultural Market Place remain Open.
5:00 - 6:00 pm: Official Closing Ceremony of the Conference.

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012:
8:00 am- 3:00 pm - All day Film Festival
• International Garifuna Research Centre Advisory Board Working Session,
• Exhibition & Cultural Market Place Remain open until 1:00 pm.
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm: Cultural Extravaganza

Delegates: We are expecting overseas presenters from the following countries: Dominica, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, Guadeloupe, Mexico, Honduras, Belize and the USA . We also have presenters from St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

International Garifuna Research Centre:
We are in final stages of securing a venue for our Centre. We have already established an International Advisory Body for the Center the members of which are as follows :
Dr. Joseph Palacio, Independent Consultant, Belize
Dr. Oliver Greene, Assistant Professor, Ethnomusicologist, Georgia State University, USA
Dr. Julie Chun Kim, Assistant Professor, Fordham University, USA
Dr. Malcolm Boyd Mariano, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Baltimore Community College, USA
Mr. Rawle Gibbons, UWI, St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago
Ms. Kimberly Palmer, PHD Candidate, York University, Toronto Canada
Ms. Lucia Ellis, Numasa Garifuna Wellness Center , Belize
Dr. Beth Rose Middleton, Assistant Professor, University of California at Davis, USA

Some of the Advisory Board members will be presenting papers at the Conference and we hope to have a site visit to the proposed site of the Center during this time. Over the next few weeks will be finalizing the local administrative and programmatic arrangements for the Centre. The media will be kept updated .

Opening Ceremony: We are inviting the public to attend the Opening Ceremony on March 10th at 7:00 pm to hear the Lecture from our distinguished Feature, Dr. Joseph Palacio. All persons should be seated by 6:45 pm.

Conference Working Sessions: The Conference working sessions will commence on Sunday, March 11th at 9:00 am at the Peace Memorial Hall. The final programme for the Working Sessions is being finalized. We have a total of Ten (10) panels in which twenty presenters will be delivering papers. We are very pleased with the responses from our distinguished presenters many of whom are highly respected in their field. We are particularly pleased that we will be having presenters from our Caribbean Intellectuals such as the University of the West Indies, the University of the Antilles in Guadeloupe and our Vincentian researchers. The themes to be covered include, Garifuna Music, Garifuna spirituality, Garifuna History and the socioeconomic aspects of the Garifuna people. A Final Declaration will be issued at the close of the Conference.

Registration: Registration to the Conference is free, however thre are only a limited number of places available. TGHF will be opening a Registration desk at Peace Memorial Hall from Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm and from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm.

Garifuna/ Film Festival: On Tuesday, March 12th, we will be screening six documentaries. We are pleased to have secured the presence of several Filmmakers/documentalists who will be presenting their films on various aspects of the Garifuna Heritage and having discussions on them . All Secondary schools have been invited to send a selection of students to the Film Festival. The general public is also invited to attend.

Art & Culture Exhibition & Garifuna Marketplace: Both these exciting activities will be ongoing at the conference site. Persons interested in exhibiting may still contact us at the conference secretariat at or by tel: 4562124.

Conference Website: One of the highlights of our work has been the development of our TGHF Website. This website features all our Conference information as well as our media releases and events. It will also be the main website of the International Garifuna Research Center. The public is invited to visit us at We are also to be found on facebook at

The Calinago name for Capital city Kingstown was Ooashegunny pronounced “Washegunny”. The spacious habour was ideal for these sea faring people.

Following the death of Paramount Chief Joseph Chatoyer, over 5,000 Black Craibs or Garifuna were banished from mainland St Vincent to the island of Balliceaux. Months later only 2,248 survived and were later shipped by the British to Roatan in Honduras Central America.

Dorsetshire Hill:
In memory of the late Paramount Chief Joseph Chatoyer, First National Hero of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, an Obelisk has been erected on Dorsetshire Hill where he was killed, a wreath laying ceremony takes place every year on March 14th.

Phrases for the week
My Child – NISANI
Your Child – BISANI
His Child – LISANI
Her Child- TISANI
Our Child- WASANI
Their Child- HASANI
Thank you – SEREMEIN

Spotlight on Garifuna Clothing

This article will give a brief introduction to Garifuna clothing. The Garifuna people love colours they chose fabrics that have a combination of colours eg. “scotch plaid” but special emphases are placed on the colours of the Garifuna flag- black, yellow and white- are very significant in the Garifuna culture, so from time to time a variety of Garifuna clothing is made with these colours in order to depict its significance and meaning.
Women’s Clothing
The Elegant Look
This look is one that emphasizes the contours of the body. On a special occasion the Garifuna female would wear a wide gathered skirt ‘GUDU’ that has been sewn by putting sections of cloth together ‘GORE’. To top off this flirty skirt, some tucks are sewn a little above the hem line and then finished off with bias-binding trimming. The bias- binding will match with the blouse ‘CHEGIDI’. The blouse then will be so design that one can mix and match the solid colours with the scotch plaid. The elegant blouse ‘MANIN’, is sewn with puffed sleeves having frilly ends, a bishop in the back and front, and a waist- band, on which is attached a pleated peplum. The sleeves of the blouse may be trimmed just above the rill.
The Head tie or Musue
The head tie ‘MUSUE’ is made from fabric of matching colours. When worn, it covers the ball of the head, goes around the crown and is tied in the back with a reef knot. The head tie has multi- purpose; it can be used to tie as a waistband in order to give more flounce to the female as she dances Garifuna dances such as the ‘PUNTA’ or the ‘CHUMBA’, it can be used by the pregnant women as a support placed under the abdomen, the tie can also be used as a headband to absorb sweat from the forehead and often when the woman is carrying loads on her head the tie will be rolled to form a coil and placed on her head in which case the head tie will now be known as a ‘ABULUGU- STEI’ or ‘KATA’.
Farm Clothing
Clothing worn on the farm is refered to as ‘ARABUTU’. The Garifuna woman wears a gown or ‘GOUNU’, which is sewn similar to the ‘MANINI’ except that it has no waistband. It flows from the bishop down to the knee length or below the knee. The gown can be easily disguised as a blouse ‘Chegidi’ when a skirt is worn over it.

The Garifuna Shawl
‘MANDA’ is the name given to the Garifuna Shawl. It is an additional piece of clothing made from thick fibers of thread, woven in a scotch plaid pattern and finished off with loose fringes on both ends, since it is rectangular in shape. The manda is especially worn on special occasions like church services or funerals.

Men Clothing
The Undershirt or Bibidi
The undershirt or ‘BIBIDI’ is design with a short opening in the front from the neckline; it can be design with or without sleeves. The ‘BIBIDI’ fits loosely over the man’s chest. It is used mostly as a working shirt.

Pant or Galasu
The pant or ‘GALASU’ is design to fit loosely. It has a draw string at the waist and has a length that is used just below the knee. This length is to accommodate the activities the man may be engaged in while fishing.

The Shirt or Simisi
The shirt or ‘SIMISI’ is made specially to be worn during a festive time. It is made from brown cotton ‘MANDAGINA’. It is design with a V- neckline, extended sleeves as far as the elbow. The shirt is loosely fitted over the chest with short slits on each of its sides. Next to the slits, just at the front corners of the hem line, are placed two square pockets, one on the right and the other on the left. The ‘-SIMISI’ can be trimmed with bias binding or even embroidered with decorative thread and stitches around the neckline, sleeves, pockets, and hem line to add to its sophisticated design. The clothing for the Garifuna man is almost always made from brown cotton ‘MANDAGINA’ or from flour bags that have been cleansed of marks and whitened. The men may also wear a head tie which can be used as a headband or to carry the drums either around the waist or around the neck.

The Garifuna Heritage Foundation


Applications are invited from persons with an interest in the Garifuna Heritage and Culture to serve as volunteers at the International Garifuna Conference, Art and Cultural Exhibition, Film Series and Garifuna Marketplace. The event will be held at Peace Memorial Hall
Kingstown, March 10-12, 2012.

Skills needed
• Computer skills,
• Spanish – English translators
• Public Relations
• Secretarial

Volunteers must have completed secondary school with at least passes in Math and English. Satisfactory completion of volunteer assignment will entitle volunteer to a Certificate of Merit and participation in future programmes of the International Garifuna Research Centre

Send letter to

Lucinna Poyer
TGHF Conference Secretariat
P.O Box 2867
E- mail:
Tel/Fax: 784- 456- 2124

Living the Garifuna Heritage and culture after 215 years - Strengthening links, Forging networks, Claiming Ancestral space”.

The Garifuna Heritage Foundation


Creative people are being encouraged to exhibit their art work at The International Garifuna Conference, Art and Cultural Exhibition, Film Series and Garifuna Market Place.
The event will be held at Peace Memorial Hall Kingstown, March 10-12, 2012.


• Paintings
• Sculptures
• Drawings
• Craft
• Pottery
• Photography
• Artifacts
• And any other Artistic Pieces

Interested persons are asked to contact:
The Garifuna Heritage Foundation
Send submissions to:
Lucinna Poyer
TGHF Conference Secretariat
P.O Box 2867
Tel/Fax: 784-456-2124


One of the exciting aspects of the First International Garifuna Conference to be held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in March 2012 will be the screening of Films which focus on the Garifuna Heritage and Culture. In this Article, we present the highlights of the various Films/Documentaries that will be shown as well as presenting some information on the videographers, producers and documentalists involved in some of this work. The films will be screened all day on Tuesday, March 13th , 2012.

The Garifuna Heritage and culture continues to attract the attention of many persons worldwide . As a result, both professional and amateur filmmakers have sought to capture various elements of the culture such as the music, food, dance, history and spirituality on film. With the increasing popularity of high quality home video cameras, many Garifuna persons are themselves getting involved in developing films in they which seek to examine their culture in various ways. The access to the internet, especially such websites as Youtube has also supported this surge in the number of home videos about the Garifuna Heritage that are now circulating in cyberspace.

In conceptualizing and organizing the Conference, we felt it was extremely important to identify and focus on some of the mechanisms by which the Garifuna Heritage is now transmitted in today’s virtual world. These include films, documentaries and social media. These mechanisms are becoming increasingly important given the fact that Garifuna people continue to be mobile, continue to migrate from their traditional home bases, and also given the fact that the culture is perceived to be under threat from competing influences in the various countries where many Garifuna people now reside.

Subsequent to the launch of the Call for submission of films, we were excited by the response of filmmakers and documentalists overseas. Some of the documentaries have been produced by Garifuna persons, others have not. Nevertheless, the range of documentaries that we have been fortunate to receive for screening underscores the themes of the resilience of the culture, its continued potential for growth and providing positive direction to young people in such areas as the reaffirmation of the validity of indigenous lifestyles and indigenous values. These films also provide a means to technically engage all persons, in that it challenges, all of us as Caribbean people to be subjects, instead of objects of change. With the relative ease of access of videocameras, cellular phones and other recording devices, many communities can become involved in developing local video projects which speak to an examination and analysis of their own situations as well as which utilize local content for entertainment purposes.

During our Film Series we have selected the following seven films for screening:

The Garifuna Journey: Produced and Directed by Andrea Leland & Kathy Berger. (USA) Genocide, exile, Diaspora and persecution did not break the spirit of the Garifuna people. Descendants of African and Carib-Indian ancestors, the Garifuna fought to maintain their homeland on the island of St. Vincent in the Caribbean. The Garifuna resisted slavery. For this love of freedom, they were exiled from St. Vincent to Roatan in Honduras by the British in 1797. Despite exile and subsequent Diaspora, their traditional culture survives today. It is a little known story that deserves its place in the annals of the African Diaspora.

In first person Garifuna voices, this documentary presents the history, the language, food, music, dance and spirituality of the Garifuna culture. It is a celebratory documentary, with engaging scenes of fishing, cooking, dancing, cassava preparation, thatching a temple, spiritual ritual, ritual music and dance all demonstrating the Garifuna link to the Carib-African past.

“Kytangomingo Ema, the path of our ancestors”. Produced and Directed by Christian Foret (Martinique) This documentary retraces the expedition conducted in May 2010 between Grenada, St. Vincent and Martinique. This documentary is linked with a research project conducted by Professor Dr. Berard Benoit of the University of the Antilles and Guyana based the Martinique and Guadeloupe , whose work examines the Antilles as a whole.
“The Amerindian”: Produced and Directed by Filmmaker Tracy Assing (Trinidad) In this documentary, Assing makes a personal exploration of her roots as a member of the Santa Rosa Carib Community based in Arima. The community celebrates the Santa Rosa Festival annually and its Queen Valentina Medina is Assing’s great aunt. The Amerindians premiered at the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival in 2010 and has enjoyed successful screenings at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine; the University of Trinidad and Tobago and Trinidad's National Academy of Performing Arts, as well as Peter Doig's Studio Film Club.
“Garifuna Technology in Belize” : Produced and Directed by Dr. Joseph Palacio (Belize) A Documentary video on the arts & crafts technology of the Garifuna of Belize.
“Clearing Boundaries” : Written, Produced and Directed by Alyssa Lucca (USA) Clearing Boundaries, the Garinagu of Los Angeles display how their efforts and hopes for unifying their community are not just locally driven within Los Angeles, but are then globally networked through social media on the Internet. In doing so, they have created an environment for transnational socialization and relational networking to unite all Garinagu across many nations. Internet technologies help the “Garifuna Nation,” a term used to unite the Garinagu under one common ethnic identity, to clear the boundaries of national borders and to help create a flexible nation within nations.

Play Jonkunu Play: Written, Directed and Produced by Dr. Oliver Greene (USA) "The documentary film Play Jankunú Play introduces us to a fascinating Garifuna ritual tradition which continues to flourish in Belize. Oliver Greene, the film's author, draws upon his extensive fieldwork to bring to life this little known segment of African Diaspora culture. With visual allusions to parallel traditions in Jamaica, the Bahamas, Ghana, and elsewhere, the film offers the viewer a rich tapestry of Garifuna dance, drumming, and song, explicated by revealing commentary. Filmmaker Oliver Greene will present a free workshop before the film and will also participate in audience discussion afterwards. Greene is an Associate Professor at the School of Music, Georgia State University. He holds a Ph.D. in musicology (emphasis, ethnomusicology) from Florida State University and masters and bachelors degrees from Southern Methodist University and the College Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, respectively. He has published articles in the Black Music Research Journal, Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music, the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music and in the book The Garifuna: A Nation Across Borders.

The Garifuna- An Enduring Spirit : Produced and Directed by Robert Flanagan & Suzan Al-Doghachi (USA) Set to the rhythm of traditional paranda music, this intimate documentary reveals Garifuna culture through their daily lives. With the voices of their ancestors and the eternal rhythm of the drums to guide them, the Garifuna continue an unbroken and unique heritage with their own language, religion and music.


Barranco is the southernmost Garifuna village in Belize, birthplace of Dr. Joseph Palacio and the late famous Garifuna musician, Andy Palacio. From childhood, Dr. Palacio was immersed in the Garifuna language and later became one of the leading promoters of the Garifuna Heritage and Culture.

He attended secondary school in Belize City where he broadened his educational outlook, nonetheless he remained committed to the advancement of his people. He left Belize to attend University abroad and his studies in Anthropology and Archaeology further enhanced his capacity to become a leader of the Garifuna movement. As a pioneer, he became the first archaeologist in Belize and the first Garifuna to be trained in Archaeology and Anthropology.

Following upon his studies, he was appointed by the Government as the first Archaeological Commissioner of Belize. In this position, he was given the responsibility of establishing Belize’s initial Archaeological Department in a context where Belize , then known as British Honduras, was creating new institutions to define itself as a nation. The rich archeological heritage of Belize is phenomenal and was in dire need of protection for, as part of the ancient Mayan empire, hundreds of Mayan historical sites located all over the country form part of the Belizean national landscape.

For many years he was the only trained archaeologist in Belize. During his tenure as Archaeological Commissioner, Dr. Palacio was instrumental in the development of legislation relating to the excavation, preservation and development of Belize’s rich archaeological heritage. Prior to his tenure, many valuable artifacts were stolen and sold illegally outside of the country. He played a major role in negotiating with universities and other institutions outside of Belize for the signing of Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding in order that these institutions become accountable to the Government and people of Belize for any findings and artifacts discovered . His groundbreaking work over many years laid the basis for the training of other Belizean archaeologists and for the establishment of what is now the Institute of Archaeology, the statutory body responsible for the oversight and management of all archaeological sites in Belize.

Following his retirement, he joined the staff of the University of the West Indies as Resident Tutor of the School of Continuing Studies, which is currently known as the Open Campus. At UWI he sought to generate an active continuing studies programme especially for persons who normally would not have had the chance to go to university. He promoted substantial research on topics that included refugees, migration, indigenous peoples, history, and community development. He maintained a strong current of Garifuna Studies and successfully introduced the first formal Garifuna Language training programme. Some of the highlights included studying the Garifuna technology , conducting training workshops in Garifuna craft and producing DVDs on this material as part of a cultural retrieval programme .

As a leader in the Garifuna movement, Dr. Palacio contributed to the local and regional development of the culture. He was a founding member of the Caribbean Organization of Indigenous People (COIP) which for many years provided a forum for research and discourse on matters relevant to the indigenous peoples of the region. His training in Social Anthropology provided and continues to provide important platforms for original research on Garifuna themes. His articles have been published in various journals and he has been sought after on many occasions as a guest speaker at conferences and seminars. He edited the well- known collection of essays entitled “The Garifuna, A Nation across Borders. “ His research interests include the use of oral history in reconstructing aspects of Garifuna history that stretches from St. Vincent and the Grenadines to Central America. He has been exploring the establishment of a direct biological link between Paramount Chief Joseph Chatoyer and a Garifuna woman who lived in Belize and recently died and seeks to show through this type of research how history should be approached as a living force that spreads from one generation to another.

Dr. Palacio has distinguished himself as a committed Garifuna pioneer and an expert on matters pertaining to the Garifuna Heritage and Culture in Belize and in the region. He continues to remain humble and dedicated to excellence in his role of building bridges of understanding between all Garifuna people and persons and institutions working towards the positive advancement of the Garifuna Heritage and culture. Dr. Palacio now lives in his native Barranco where he spends his time actively involved in research and writing.

We warmly invite the general public to attend the Opening Ceremony of the International Garifuna Conference on March 10th, 2012 at the Peace Memorial Hall which features Dr .Palacio as our feature speaker.

As a follow-up to our earlier posts Santiago de Cuba’s Festival del Caribe “Fiesta del Fuego” and Cuba’s Caribbean Fest to honor Juan Bosch and Garifuna Culture, here is a little more on the Garifunas.

As descendants from shipwrecked Africans who sought refuge on St. Vincent and the Grenadines and intermarried with the Caribs and Arawaks, the Garifunas are part of the unique cultures and ethnicities that have their roots in the Caribbean. The Garifunas were also referred to as “Black Caribs” by the Europeans who sought to distinguish them from the “Red” or “Yellow” Caribs; however, they called themselves Kalinago.

As Junius Rodriguez explains in the Encyclopedia of Slave Resistance and Rebellion, “St. Vincent and the Grenadines was one of the last bastions of the sovereignty of the Kalinago people,” who “found themselves being displaced by the exigencies of the plantation system.” From as early as the 17th century, the Kalinago successfully defended their sovereignty from European colonization. In 1667, Kalinago leaders joined others from St. Lucia and Dominica to have peace talks with British officials in Barbados. Later, in 1670, they tried to unseat British forces in Antigua and Barbuda. A century of struggle followed, as the European rule in the region shifted between the French (who had agreed in 1793 to Kalinago independence in restricted, forested areas) and the British. However, two wars later, and two years after Chief Joseph Chatoyer was killed on March 14, 1795, the Kalinago people were exiled from their native land of St. Vincent [or Yurumein, the Garifuna name for St. Vincent and the Grenadines] to the island of Roatán, off the coast of Honduras from where they dispersed along the Atlantic coast of Honduras, Guatemala, Belize, and Nicaragua. [Also see Garifuna reunion in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.] The population on Roatán represented about 25% of the Kalinago people of St. Vincent; their descendants still call themselves Garifuna.

The Garifunas share a common culture, including language, rituals, music, and dance. Since the 20th century, there has been a renewal of interest in Garifuna culture in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where the Garifuna Heritage Foundation was established. The foundation has organized outreach visits of Garifuna contingents throughout the Caribbean and Central America [also see Garifuna reunion in St. Vincent and the Grenadines]. The Garifuna Folkloric Ballet Company has helped greatly in disseminating Garifuna music, dance, and traditions. This group will perform in Cuba at the Festival del Caribe (July 3-9, 2009).

Living the Garifuna Heritage and culture after 215 years - Strengthening links, Forging networks, Claiming Ancestral space
March 10th – 14th, 2012


The year 2012 marks 215 years since the expulsion of the Garifuna from the island of Yurumei, the Ancestral Homeland, (presently known as St. Vincent and the Grenadines), to Roatan , Central America. This traumatic event binds the Garifuna in Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Belize ,the United States and other parts of the world with Yurumei , with their culture and with each other. Over time, the links between the Garifuna people in the diaspora and those in St. Vincent have slowly been forged and continue to be strengthened.

May 8th, 2011 also marked ten years since the Garifuna Heritage and Culture was declared by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Intangible Heritage of Mankind. The Garifuna culture, having made a tremendous contribution to the economic, social and political landscape of Central America and the Caribbean, has attracted researchers at Universities and other Institutions worldwide in the fields of anthropology, history , archaeology and music among others. However, this research is not easily accessible to the Garifuna people themselves, nor is much of it physically available to the general public for the purposes of informing Education Policymakers, cultural practitioners, social activists, students and other researchers.

The Garifuna Heritage Foundation, an organization based in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, is establishing the -International Garifuna Research Center (IGRC)to address this issue . IGRC will collect and maintain physical and virtual copies of all existing Garifuna arts, craft & technology, source documentation – in all formats – of existing published and unpublished research on the Garifuna Heritage and Culture, promote and conduct further research into the Garifuna Heritage and Culture and related aspects; design and implement projects and programmes to ensure that the information gathered is disseminated through various media locally, regionally and internationally in particular to Garifuna people and communities.

TGHF will be hosting an International Conference, Art & Culture Exhibition, Film Series and Garifuna Marketplace in Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines from March 10th-14th, 2012, to share ideas, examine issues , forge networks and strengthen global links to support the Center’s development .

We are inviting participation in this important conference through the presentation of papers on topics that focus on research conducted on the Garifuna Heritage and Culture by scholars, practitioners and cultural activists engaged in regional and international development. We will consider all proposals for papers. Papers may include those presented at previous Conferences, Seminars or workshops. Papers may be presented in English or Spanish, however a written translation of the paper into English should be provided.

Subjects may include but are not limited to the following :

Garifuna Identity:

• What roles do civil society and political organizations play in the construction of a Garifuna identity in the various nation states where Garifuna reside? ; The issue of Yurumei as an Ancestral Homeland and its significance to Garifuna people internationally; Exploring the Vincentian component of the Garifuna Heritage and Culture; The Garifuna within the context of the Indigenous Peoples Movement regionally and internationally – do we fit?; Researching and writing Garifuna History –

Garifuna Cultural Manifestations as Living Heritage:

• Exploring practical modalities for promoting the Garifuna Culture in St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Public Policy and Practical realities relating to Education and culture pertaining to the Garifuna culture; Has craft and practical skills training in Garifuna craft been meaningfully incorporated into development planning for the benefit of Garifuna communities?; How has Garifuna music impacted on the youth and on non-Garifuna persons? Have the Garifuna cultural manifestations- Visual Art, Music, Dance, Spirituality, been economically exploited internationally and if so, for whose benefit? Documenting of the Garifuna Cultural Manifestations using visual arts- Issues and challenges;

The Socio-Political and socioeconomic dynamics of the Garifuna Culture

• Preservation of land rights and rights to Sacred Places - Land Issues confronting Garifuna People; Organising Garifuna Communities – tradition vs academia- practical methods and success stories; What support and new challenges emerge from the mobilization of Garifuna within the context of the Indigenous Peoples movement , the AfroDescendants movement or other socio-political movements; How is the social media as well as the electronic and print media informing and impacting Garifuna community mobilization?

The UNESCO Declaration – Ten Years after – Review, Refocus , Renew

• Review and analysis of the impact of the UNESCO Declaration on the Garifuna Communities , Institutions internationally and the Garifuna Heritage and culture generally ; Administrative and Organizational opportunities and Challenges in the development of sustainable institutional platforms for strengthening the work of Garifuna organizations and communities; Developing the virtual village – building the basis for growth and development of Garifuna communities over the next ten years.
As part of the event we are including a series of Garifuna Film/documentary screenings. We are inviting Film producers and documentalists to screen their work during the event. We are also inviting Painters, sculptors, Photographers and other artists who have works with a Garifuna theme to exhibit their work. As part of the networking objective of the Event, Garifuna Organizations, Garifuna Community Groups and institutions are also invited to showcase their programmes, projects and work.

Papers: Participants interested in submitting Papers are asked to submit an Abstract of no more than 300 words and a one-page biography , including Mailing address, Presentation Format, Email address(es) Telephone contacts/phone, and fax number(s) and skype addresses by email to Lucinna Poyer, IGRC Conference Secretariat, at by January 31st, 2012 . Papers must keep to a reading time of 15 - 20 minutes (approximately 7 – 8 pages). Participants can submit Papers which have a Practice focus , which describes exemplary practices or programs in the community and which may take the form of a case study, demonstration or technical report. Presentations may also be based on the reporting of original research or on the general application of any theoretical framework.
Films: Participants interested in screening films/documentaries/videos with a Garifuna related content are also invited to do so. Kindly email a brief summary of the film/documentary/content to the above email address by January 31st, 2011.
Paintings: Exhibits of Paintings, sculpture and other Visual Arts with a Garifuna theme are also invited Interested persons should email the above address describing space requirements and numbers of paintings by January 31st, 2011.
Display Booths (Garifuna Marketplace): Garifuna Organizations, community groups , institutions and individuals worldwide who wish to showcase their work can apply to host a booth for such purpose. Individuals may also apply . Booths are limited and will be rented on a first come, first serve basis.

For more information , call 784-45-62124 or send an email to the above address.

The Garifuna Heritage Foundation Inc.

The Garifuna Heritage Foundation (TGHF) is an organisation formed in June 2001, that is dedicated to rebuilding and retrieving the Garifuna Heritage in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Company Overview
The Garifuna Heritage Foundation (TGHF) is a non-profit organization geared towards the identification and promotion of the Garifuna Culture and Heritage in St.Vincent and the Grenadines. In recent times we have been playing a pivotal role in bringing to the forefront of the national debate on cultural matters this aspect of our National Heritage. The Organization was formed in 2001 and has in the past carried out many significant activities in SVG such as Exhibitions , Youth camps, Community Gatherings and training workshops.
In October 2009 as part of Homecoming 2009 Celebrations we partnered with the Alliance Francais in Organizing the first ever Garifuna Exhibition under the theme “From the Orinoco to Exile”. The exhibits included artefacts, books, maps, items used in food production as well as remains of pottery, petroglyphs and stone axes used during the precolonial period and the colonial period .
We were very pleased and excited at the response from private collectors who all expressed a passion for the Garifuna Heritage and culture and deep interest in Vincentian history , and whom had only been waiting for an opportunity to participate in an exhibition of that nature. Our determination to source exhibits already available in St. Vincent and the Grenadines resulted in our developing the beginning of a local network of persons who are private collectors as well persons who have a passion for the Garifuna Heritage and Culture. Such an unexpected offshoot of our Exhibition was particularly a rewarding one. The impact of our First Exhibition was so important , particularly among the young people who visited from many schools, that we were determined to mount the Exhibition in March 2010 as part of our activities for National Heroes and Heritage Month. Our Exhibition, which ran from March 8th – March 12th , 2010 was visited by approximately three hundred young people as well as members of the public, including cruise ship visitors. We are very grateful for the support of the Ministry of Culture , the Ministry of Education , the National Trust and The National Library Service for their collaboration in both these Exhibitions. We also wish to acknowledge the fine work these organizations have been doing with limited resources in relation to the search and preservation of Archaelogical and Anthropological data on St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

From the deep interest engendered by the Exhibition, it is clear that there is a thirst for knowledge and information on the Garifuna Heritage and Culture, particularly among our young people. There is a dire need for teaching materials which focuses on the Garifuna Heritage and Culture in schools; there is also an urgent need for an ongoing research programme to engage our bright young minds in search of concrete information on their history and culture; there is the need for a Museum which showcases all of the Indigenous Vincentian historical, cultural and anthropological experience and last but not least there is a need for a long term training programme to prepare Vincentian Professionals in the fields of Archaeology, History, Anthropology and Museum Sciences .


The Garifuna Heritage Foundation Inc. (TGHF) is an organization formed in June 2001 which is dedicated to rebuilding and retrieving the Garifuna Heritage in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We are legally registered as a non profit company under the Company Act of the Laws of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and our membership of over two hundred persons is drawn mainly from persons in St. Vincent and the Grenadines although we also have members residing outside of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in recognition of the Diaspora as a critical element for the survival of the Garifuna culture. We are manage by a board of Directors comprising three legal Directors and six Officers who are ex-officio members of the Board.


1. To enhance, promote, protect, and coordinate activities between Garifuna people in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and other persons promoting the interests of the Garifuna Culture in the Caribbean, the USA and Central America.

2. To implement projects and programmes geared towards building a fund for the promotion of Garifuna cultural practices in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the improvement of the socio-economic condition of communities in St. Vincent and the Grenadines which have significance to the preservation of the Garifuna people and Culture.

3. To mobilize the expertise and talents of diverse individuals int he Caribbean and elsewhere and to harness their creative energies in establishing and maintaining such funds geared towards promoting Garifuna cultural practices and traditions and improving the socio-economic condition of communities in St. Vincent and the Grenadines which have significance to the preservation of the Garifuna Culture

4. To promote activities which enhance interests in the history and anthropology of the Garifuna at a regional and international level.

5. To provide technical, advisory and other services aimed at integrating the Garifuna culture and experience into the Caribbean Civilization.

6. To maintain such Collections of printed, audiovisual and electronic materials, register and databases as will enable the Foundation to fulfill it’s mission.

7. To develop a supportive network of institutions which serve to promote and facilitate the dissemination and exchange of information on all matters affecting the Garifuna Culture.

Garifuna Heritage Award
(Garifuna Coalition Inc. USA )

Certificate of Merit
(Presented by Ruben Diaz Jr. President of the Borough of the Bronx)
Institution Building Programme
Training and Development Programme
Public Education and Research Programme
Economic Sustainability Programme
1 784 456 2124

The three coming decades, 1730-1762, were characterized by the constant disputes between France and Great Britain for the desire of gaining power over San Vicente, Dominica, and Santa Lucia. The occurrence of these acts can be described as follows:

1730: San Vicente, Dominica, and Santa Lucia are declared to be free from European inheritance.
1742: British colony is established in Rattan (Roatan).
1748: Aix-La Chapelle Treaty is signed in which San Vicente, Dominica, and Tobago are declared of exclusive possession of the Caliponan natives.
1750: Peace Treaty signed between Spain and Great Britain.
1756: War between France and England begins.
1759: English attack Martinica, and take over Guadalupe Island.
1761: English take over Dominica.
1762: Martinica is taken over by the English (February 4th). In that same date Granada, Tobago, San Vicente, and Santa Lucia were ceded to Great Britain.
1763: Paris Peace Treaty is signed. San Vicente, Grenada, and Dominica were ceded to Great Britain; Cuba was given to Spain; Guadalupe, Martinica, and Santa Lucia were ceded to France.

President of the Garifuna Heritage Foundation, David “Darkie” Williams
President of the Garifuna Heritage Foundation, David “Darkie” Williams said the launching of these two projects will be a way of educating the Vincentian public on our Garifuna culture which is often taken for granted. Williams said that we must realize that since the Garifuna people were exiled from St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 1797, they have maintained the culture and the heritage is still alive, while adding that all these people still view St. Vincent and the Grenadines as their homeland.

The Peace Memorial Hall will be transformed into a Garifuna Market-place from Saturday March 10
when the Opening Ceremony will be held under the theme: “Living The Garifuna Heritage And Culture After 215 Years— Strengthening Links, Forging Networks, Claiming Ancestral Space, featuring renowned Garifuna scholar Dr. Joseph Palacio of Belize, as guest-speaker.

There will be three days of intense working-sessions led by noted Vincentian and international presenters addressing a wide spectrum of issues relevant to Garifuna the world over. The Garifuna Marketplace will showcase films, books, painting, photographs, music and craft.

The Conference Committee, chaired by former Senior Government Minister, Mike Browne, and including TGHF Chairman David “Darkie” Williams, has issued an international call for papers to be presented at the Conference and/or to be included in the International Garifuna Centre.

Already, several national and international scholars and film-makers have indicated their intention to attend this historic event.

Two more chapters of the fascinating story of the Garifuna will be written in St. Vincent and the Grenadines this year.

The first of these chapters will be etched out next month (February) with the historic opening of the International Garifuna Centre, to be established in Kingstown. The decision on the Centre was taken in 2009 at an International Symposium, sponsored by the Garifuna Heritage Foundation, now celebrating its first decade of active existence (2001-2011).

The International Garifuna Centre will be an expanding reservoir of information on the Garifuna nationally, regionally, and internationally, and will house books, papers, films, recording, paintings, sketches, artifacts and archival documents.

President of the Garifuna Heritage Foundation, David “Darkie” Williams said the launching of these two projects will be a way of educating the Vincentian public on our Garifuna culture which is often taken for granted.
Williams said that we must realize that since the Garifuna people were exiled from St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 1797, they have maintained the culture and the heritage is still alive, while adding that all these people still view St. Vincent and the Grenadines as their homeland.

Chapter two of 2012 will be equally exciting with the TGHF’s hosting of its First International Garifuna Conference, Art and Cultural Exhibition, Film Series and Garifuna Marketplace on Saturday March 10, climaxing on Thursday March 15 with a pilgrimage to Balliceaux.

The Garifuna people of St. Vincent - a Nation in Exile
The Garifuna Heritage Foundation held its Third Community Gathering in the village of Owia this weekend and we at RVA went together with the Rose Hall Group.

The Community Gathering brought together six traditional Garifuna communities Fancy, Owia, Sandy Bay, Greggs, Rose Bank, and Rose Hall and knowledge, ideas and strategies were formulated for the promotion of the Garifuna Culture and Heritage.

The theme for the gathering was: Facilitating Change: Building the Economic sustainability of Garifuna Communities in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

More about the Garifuna People


The Garifuna people live today on the Caribbean coastal regions of Central America. In contemporary Honduras the Garifuna culture is a vibrant combination of resilience, independence and community commemorated through music, dance and story-telling. Some still live in St. Vincent. Most Garifuna people were massacred by the British and shipped off to Central America in the late 1700.

Their story is an extraordinary tale of survival, adaptation and endurance spanning two continents and 350 years woven through a history of colonial clashes as European powers set about seizing and exploiting the new world of the Americas.

Central to Garifuna culture and identity is the history of their Diaspora: their origins in Africa, their forced departure to the Americas, their escape following a shipwreck off the coast of Saint Vincent, an island in the Caribbean, their intermarriage with indigenous Arawak Indians and Carib Indians, originally from South America, their eventual expulsion from Saint Vincent to Roatan, an island in the Bay of Honduras, and their final settlement on the mainland where their ancestors spread along the Caribbean coast of Central America.

Today in Honduras the Garifuna people survive as an intact cultural group with a distinct language and set of cultural practices and beliefs. Garifuna communities are located primarily on the northern coast of Honduras in villages such as Trujillo, Ciriboya, Limon and Tocamacho.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Garifuna Timeline Belize
Timeline Garifuna History Belize
By The Founder on August 13, 2008

1635 - Two Spanish ships wrecked off the coast of St. Vincent - West African slaves escape to the island, where they found the Yellow Caribs, a group that emerged from the intermarriages between the Venezuelan Caribs and the island Arawaks.

1675 - Another shipwreck brought another wave of Africans to St. Vincent. Also, African slaves who had escaped nearby slave plantations from places like Jamaica found their way to the island.

1750 - The new race of people - today called the GARIFUNA or Black Caribs, which emerged on the island of St. Vincent through the integration of 3 peoples - the Arawaks, the Yellow Caribs and the Africans - are said to have grown strong and prosperous on the island.

1763 - British colonizers established presence on the island; French had already partially colonized the territory. British and French were fighting for territorial control. The Garifuna sided with the French, with whom they had developed a trading relationship after an informal war truce/peace pact.

1763-1795: 32-year conflict between the Caribs and the Europeans, particularly the British. There was some intermarriage also between the Caribs and the Europeans, resulting in the so-called Red Carib race, known from the island of Dominica.

1795: On March 14, Paramount Chief of the Black Caribs, Joseph Chatoyer, died in battle.

1796: The French surrendered to the British; but the Caribs kept up the fight. They were famed as being "belligerent."

To subdue them, the British - who were after the land they had cultivated - torched their possessions. There were two major wars: the Caribs won the first in 1795, and the British won the second sometime in 1796.

It is reported that Chatoyer's daughter, Gulisi, was one of the first to settle in Belize. At the age of 24, she reportedly came to Belize from Honduras, with 5 sons.

1797: About 5,000 Garinagu were said to have "survived" the wars. In March, the British launched a manhunt for the Garinagu. They wanted to use those who had survived the bloody wars to help them fight the Spaniards. They were expecting a war, which came in 1798 - the historical Battle of St. George's Caye - and had uniforms made for the Garifuna men.

One year before the Battle of St. George's Caye, the British packed up the Garinagu into ships, reportedly with the intent of sending them to Belize. The popular traditional accounts say that they were "deported" from St. Vincent to Roatan, Honduras, then a Spanish colony. Perhaps the Garinagu refused to fight!

The Garifuna people were transported from Balliceaux, near Bequia, St. Vincent, to Roatan, Honduras, and half of them reportedly perished from the scourges of disease, starvation and harsh treatment by colonial powers. They were reportedly sent off with three months' food supply, and some allege their deportation was a deliberate attempt at genocide.

1799: First reported contact with Belize.

1801: On March 25, Garinagu arrive at Belize City, spotted many white buildings near the sea, and called it by the name YARBURA - which later became Yarborough. They were only allowed to stay temporarily for 2 days.

1802: 150 Caribs settled in Belize at Yarborough. Some surnames of the settlers include: Avaloy, Avila, Beni, Blanco, Cayetano, Ciego, Diego, Ellis, Enriquez, Guerrero, Lambey, Lewis, Martinez, Moguel, Noguera, Nunez, Rhys, Reyes and Serano. One of the prominent leaders at the time was Benito Beni.

1802: Village of Red Cliff - present day Barranco - established.

Today, Barranco, one of the first Garifuna communities in Belize, is one of the last havens where the Garifuna culture is preserved in one of its most dynamic

1823: 375 Garinagu recorded at Yarborough in Belize City.

On March 31, Elejo Beni, Romauldo Lewis, Elias Martinez, Alejo Lambey and Alejo Beni's cousin, Benito Beni, their interpreter, approached Sup. Major-General Edward Codd 1823-1829) for permission for Garinagu to migrate from Honduras.

1823: On Wednesday, November 19, 500 Garinagu settled in Belize. This was the largest recorded exodus of Garifuna to Belize.

300 Dangriga (then Stann Creek Town). 125 Punta Gorda (Toledo). 28 Seine Bight. 15 Jonathon Point. 8 Newtown (desolated by hurricane)

1941 - First celebration of Garifuna Settlement Day in Belize, called Carib Disembarkation Day. Founded by Thomas Vincent Ramos.

1943 - Ramos lobbied for a public and bank holiday and succeeded two years after celebrations began. Granted only for Stann Creek.

1944: Holiday extended to the Toledo District, where the third largest concentration of Garifuna lived.

1977: Carib Settlement Day becomes a national holiday, and name changed to
Garifuna Settlement Day.

2001: On November 15, UNESCO made a public proclamation of the Garifuna culture as a "Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible heritage of Humanity.

2002: Chief Chatoyer celebrated as the first National Hero of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. His stalwart struggle against the British won him this acclaim 207 years after his death, when the country celebrated its first National Heroes Day on March 14, this year.

2002: On November 13, the Order of Belize bestowed posthumously upon T. V.
Ramos, now recognized as one of Belize's true patriots.

Contributed by Adele Ramos. Editor's Note. Ms. Ramos is a Garifuna nationalist.
Vincentians Turned On To Garifuna Culture

An extremely exciting activity, described as a “revitalization programme to try to bring the Garifuna culture and heritage back to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, through singing of songs, drumming and dance”, in SVG, is now underway .

And already, observers are saying that it could have a profound, futuristic impact on the indigenous cultural makeup here.

The activity is a three-and-a-half week workshop which is being held at the Thomas Saunders Secondary School on Murray’s Road. For the duration of this workshop, children and adults will, first of all, learn aspects of the Garifuna language through songs.
Current sessions

garifuna_picWhen THE VINCENTIAN visited the workshop in session, Musical Director and Garifuna artist, Mr. James Lovell explained that the students present were currently learning the National Anthem in Garifuna.

He said that while they learn the Garifuna words and expressions, their meanings are being identified and explained, thus making understanding and retention easier.

Teaching the art of Garifuna drumming is also being undertaken by Mr. Lovell who takes the participants through indigenous Garifuna rhythms like the ‘Paranda’, the ‘Punta’, the ‘Hungu Hungu’ and the ‘Wanaragua’.

The workshop, which began on Thursday, 28th July, will come to a close on August 18th, and will produce three presentations slated for August 19th, 20th and 21st in locations yet to be announced.
Conception and implementation

According to Mr. James Cordice, Coordinator of this activity, about two years ago when several persons visited SVG on a sort of ‘pilgrimage’ to the indigenous peoples in the country, they found that visitors had previously come but they had not been teaching the language, not attempting to reintroduce the culture in any form.

“There are people in Belize, Nicaragua and other countries who call St. Vincent home, but there is no connection. The words Chatoyer and Youremei are our only connection. This is what the workshop will attempt to begin to correct.”

Mr. Cordice, who openly displayed his passion for the ‘coming back to the root of the matter’, emphatically stated: “It is a renaissance, a rebirth. It is the beginning of things to come!”

When asked why the workshop is being held in Kingstown, Mr. Cordice stated that Garifuna is really ‘Black Carib’. With these people spread throughout SVG, Kingstown appeared to be most accessible to everyone.

He explained that this workshop was a pilot project. While it did not receive the funding it sought, Cordice assured that the organizers intend to attract funding to conduct similar, future workshops simultaneously in several locations throughout the country.
The future

As far as what could come out of this venture, both Cordice and Lovell will like to see the introduction of the Garifuna language in schools, being taught in the first instance as a foreign language and utilizing nursery rhymes as a vehicle.

They see a future in which the Tourism Authority would develop a mock Garifuna Village that could attract external revenue and only be a plus for the industry. From this could come the production of Garifuna souvenirs and other items that could provide income for persons with particular skills.
The players

Mr. James Cordice is a Vincentian from Clare Valley living in Pennsylvania. He is the enthusiastic pioneer of the SVG Penn Relay effort, in which students of the Thomas Saunders Secondary School broke ground and participated so successfully this year. He is the Past President, and the current PRO of the SVG Organization of Pennsylvania. Mr. James Lovell is from Belize and lives in New York.

If they, along with their other ‘fired-up’ patriots have their way, our fair land will see “a beginning of a way of life, a beginning of a healing process.”

They invite other interested persons to get involved by attending sessions at the Thomas Saunders Secondary School during the morning until August 9th; and for both morning and afternoon sessions between 10th and 18th August.