By Marion Ali, Staff Reporter
As part of his address on Garifuna Settlement Day in Dangriga, Prime Minister Dean Barrow pledged on behalf of the government,to pay a “significant amount of the outstanding balance for the bust of Thomas Vincent Ramos.
In making reference to thr piece of art, delivered one year ago to the Dangriga town council, the Prime Minister said:
“It seems that there is some difficulty in finding the funds to pay the sculptor for his work. The Government of Belize will be pleased to make a significant contribution towards the balance of Mr. Okeke’s fees.”
Last weekend, social activist, Abdul Nunez led a three-hour long radio telethon during which he received over $6,000 in edges from at home and abroad to pay for the bust. Prior to that, sculptor, Stephen Okeke had collected an initial amount of $5,000.
The Prime Minister explained that the only reason why the government will not pay the full $27,000 balance for the sculpture is because the government is also pledging another sizeable amount of money towards the Gulisi Primary School, an institution in Dangriga whose mission is to preserve the Garifuna language and culture.
Barrow said on the importance of preserving the Garifuna culture: “There is nothing more important with respect to Belize’s cultural front than the retention of the Garifuna language. We cannot afford to lose that language and I fear that with the onslaught of modernity too many Garinagu children are not being brought up to speak the language. Retrieval and preservation must continue to be watch words.”