The National Garifuna Council condemned Norwegian Cruise Line’s announcement that it will use the sacred ceremony of ‘Dügü’ as a daily tourist attraction.
This week the NGC issued a release saying that the idea to use the ceremony as an everyday attraction is “indicative of arrogance and ignorance on the part of those concerned.”
President of the NGC, Superintendent of Police Robert Mariano, underscored the Council’s position on Tuesday that “the Dügu is a sacred ceremony and is not performed as entertainment for any audience.”
The Council is also concerned that NCL intends to highlight Garifuna culture without any consultations with any of the leaders of the Garifuna community.
Hugh Darley, Belize Project Manager for Norwegian Cruise Lines, made the announcement last Wednesday in Belize City at the launch of the Memorandum of Understanding between NCL and GOB.
“And at three o’clock every afternoon, we are going to tell the guests: Guess what! We are going to do the dance called the Dügu. Why? Because nobody ever gets the chance to see that. It’s like the festival every day,”
Darley explained that to have authenticity in the destination the Garifuna must be the ones to tell their story.
On May 18, 2001, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) proclaimed the Garifuna Language, Music and Dance a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
The Garifuna Council also has an Memorandum of Understanding with the government, the first point of which states that “GOB recognizes the NGC as a legitimate representative of the Garinagu in Belize.”