GUYANA CONSUL ON HOLETOWN FESTIVAL THIS WEEKEND – FARIA URGES “WELL ROUNDED” HISTORICAL OVERVIEW ABOUT “FIRST BAJANS”
Guyana is willing to send a cultural troupe of indigenous native peoples (the Amerindians) and provide a speaker in the lecture programme, among other assistance, at this weekend’s annual Holetown Festival in Barbados.
In commending the Festival organisers’ work, Guyana’s Honorary Consul, Norman Faria, hoped the modest assistance would further deepen the contribution of the week long series of activities to Barbados’ significant tourist sector, boosting the businesses in the island’s west coast commercial area and other benefits.
The Festival, organised by a private sector committee made up in part of firms in the town, annually commemorates the arrival in 1627 of 80 English settlers and their ten African slaves to the island. A monument listing details about the arrival stands in the town’s main civic square.
According to a Consulate news release, Faria said the participation of the Guyanese troupe, and other contributions such as research information about Amerindian settlement patterns in the Caribbean, would give the event a “more well rounded historical background” and complement existing programmes.
“It is misleading to give the impression that the first settlers to the island were the English people and their slaves, however noteworthy that may be. The fact remains, and archaealogical excavations have shown, that before 1627 there were large Amerindian villages with their own civilisation on the island, engaged in agriculture and fisheries mainly. These were peopled by the indigeous people of the Americas, before the European’s arrival. Indeed, there were two indigenous peoples’ settlements around the Holetown area. Guyanese were later brought to the island to assist the English settlers.” said Faria.
“Though probably not intentional on the organisers’ part, it is misleading to send the main message to, for example, Barbadian school children that the year 1627 was the starting point of Barbados’ historical development and that alone is worthy of commendation. It is misleading to argue, as does the Festival web page, that Barbados has so far ‘380 years of history’. The Festival organisers are not intentionally misleading, and we must acknowledge the parameters of a programmatic focus; but more efforts should be made to present the wider picture“, Faria added.
“We must give a more well rounded historical background to reflect the outstanding contributions of the first real Bajans who were of Amerindian stock and whose foreparents came from what is now Guyana and Venezuela,” Faria continued, “These indigenous peoples went island hopping on courageus exploratory voyages in large seafaring canoes. This is not to belittle the significance of the 1627 happening and the organisers must be commended for their ongoing work. The Barbadian people, present and future generations, and tourists however deserve a more comprehensive picture,including about the first genuine settlers. Too much of the sterling, outstanding contributions of Caribbean and Latin American indigenous peoples are sometimes being left out and this needs to be corrected. It is hoped this small gesture of friendly assistance to Festival organisers could help in some way to complemen the commendable existing programme.”
The Guyanese Consul said he had written Festival organisers, a private entity, but up to press time did not get a reply.