As part of the event in Guatemala City, there was an academic session which consisted of presentations by experts of both countries. Presenters from Belize included the President of the Belize National Garifuna Council, Sandra Miranda and Garifuna Historian Roy Cayetano. The presentations reflected on the history of the Garinagu people, their culture, and traditions.
Roy Cayetano, Garifuna Historian: “The Garifuna people are the coming together of African and Amerindian in a process mediated by Europe and that is essentially what the Caribbean is, that is why it is said that we are the best example of a Caribbean people.”
Reporter: Could you tell us what you think is the significance of an event like this?
Roy Cayetano, Garifuna Historian: “What it does is to bring people from two sides of the border together, people who are essentially one people because the Garifuna of Guatemala and the Garifuna of Belize are essentially the same. We are united by history, by culture, by traditions, by blood we are relatives really and we are all descendants of the people who are exiled from St.Vincent.”
Sandra Miranda, National Garifuna Council Belize President:“It was centered about the families that move between Belize and Guatemala that is Livingston and Puerto Barrios.”
Reporter: And what do you believe is the importance of an event like this and your involvement in an event like this ?
Sandra Miranda, National Garifuna Council Belize President:“Well I think the event is very important because it will show that while governments are having their issues with the quarrels and border disputes that we as a Garinagu the border is not a bother to us because we still move across to visit our relatives and friends and we still move across to practice our traditional beliefs with each other. So that while they are there having their conflicts we are still here so they need to slow down.”
Experts from Guatemala included Alfonso Arrivillaga, Dr. Gutberto Leiva and Olivia Núñez.