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garifuna conference
Delegates at the closing of the conference on Monday (TGHF photo).

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – The vision of establishing the International Garifuna Research Centre IGRC has been made a reality through the hard work of The Garifuna Heritage Foundation (TGHF).

The centre would be called Yurumei House and is located at Arnos Vale along the stretch. It will be opened today, March 13 at 9 a.m., with the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon and the blessing of the building.

The two-storey building will house and maintain Garifuna artefacts, films, documents and other elements of the Garifuna peoples while being the hub of promoting and conducting further research of this intangible heritage.

The IGRC also aims to assist persons in fields such as culture, archaeology, history and anthropology as it supports regional and international policy making.

President of the Garifuna Heritage Foundation David “Darkie” Williams said that an International Advisory Board comprised of eight professors from universities. He highlighted that although there are other centres throughout the world, the IGRC will be of significance because it has been founded in the ancestral homeland.

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This year marks 215 years since the expulsion of the Garifuna people from the island of Yurumei, their ancestral homeland, known presently as St. Vincent and the Grenadines, to Rotan, Central America and marks 11 years since the establishment of the Garifuna Heritage Foundation.

The International Garifuna Conference, Art & Culture Exhibition, Film Series & Garifuna Market Place was held at the Peace Memorial Hall from March 10-13 and including presentations from persons from Honduras, Belize, Martinique, Barbados, Dominica, Trinidad, Venezuela, Canada and the USA.

A declaration would be made to affirm matters such as supporting preserving the island of Baliceaux as a sacred heritage site; ensuring the recovery and collection of historical information wherever it exists, for the knowledge and benefit of all mankind; and, supporting alliance between Ethnic Community Development Organization of Honduras and TGHF Yurumei, and committing to further such alliances.

A media conference will at 5 p.m. at the Peace Memorial Hall to pronounce the declaration.

(TGHF press release)

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