Garifuna Settlement Day celebrations already in full-swing

The content originally appeared on: Amandala Newspaper

Photo: Jessilee Marin, Miss Garifuna 2022

by Khaila Gentle

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Nov. 14, 2022

Despite the delay caused by the passage of Hurricane Lisa, the Garifuna Settlement Day celebrations, organized by the National Garifuna Council, are in full swing just five days ahead of the actual date.

This past weekend, festivities included the long awaited Battle of the Drums Competition, which saw the Hanigi Wagübürigu Team emerge victorious as the winner of the 17th annual competition. In second place was Liderebugu Familia from Seine Bight, while Ecumenical High School from Dangriga took third place. The competition was held at the Sporting Auditorium in Punta Gorda Town. A total of nine groups participated this year, including one from Honduras.

This Miss Garifuna Belize Pageant was one of the few events that had to be postponed due to Hurricane Lisa. It took place on Friday, and the winner of the pageant was Miss Dangriga, Jessilee Marin. Marin competed against five other young women, hailing from Belize City, Barranco, Seine Bight, Punta Gorda and Hopkins.

And on Sunday, the Garifuna community came together to honor the father of Garifuna Settlement Day himself, Thomas Vincent Ramos. The event was hosted by Ramos’ grandson, Punta legend Chico Ramos. A mass was also held in celebration of the Belizean National Hero. It took place at the Methodist Church in Dangriga Town and was attended by Hon. Dolores Balderamos Garcia, Hon. Dr. Louis Zabaneh and Dangriga mayor Robert Mariano. Today, the National Garifuna Council, Dangriga Branch, wrote that the presence of some of Belize’s leaders at the mass meant a great deal to both the council and the community.

Last week, the Belize Tourism Board donated $10,000 to the National Garifuna Council for this year’s festivities. The donation, presented by Mr. Evan Tillett, Director of Tourism, was received by Ms. Sheena Zuniga, president of the National Garifuna Council.