Monday, December 29, 2008

Toshao council reviews guide to Amerindian Act

Guyana (Stabroek News) - The Ministry of Amerindian Affairs on Tuesday hosted a consultation for the National Toshao Council to review a simplified guide to the Amerindian Act to ensure it is easily accessible.

According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release the guide was presented at the two-day consultation and the participants were charged with ensuring that it met its objectives. The guide was prepared by Guyanese lawyer Melinda Janki.

Principal Regional Development Officer at the ministry Ovid Williams said his ministry “worked with Ms. Janki to prepare a guide and that has been done and we are going to have reviews to that guide… so that you can get your clarifications and whatever doubts you have cleared up.”

Additionally, Natural Resources and Liaison Officer at the ministry Norman Whittaker noted that Guyana has come a long way in terms of putting in place the kind of legislation which reflects the wishes, views, and recommendations of Amerindians throughout the country. “Some Amerindians have problems determining and understanding some sections of the Act and it is for that reason that the Ministry entered into an arrangement to have a practical guide that will enable them to understand and implement the Act,” he said. He urged the participants to ensure that the document is indeed accessible to all Amerindians.

In her address Janki said, “The Amerindian Act is very different from the kind of rules that govern Aborigines in other countries… Amerindian communities in Brazil for example, do not own their lands; the State owns it and the State sets aside reservations and makes all the decisions but this is not the case in Guyana since communities own the lands and they decide what happens to the resources on these lands so we need to understand that the situation in Guyana is different and it is probably unique.”

She noted that in Canada aborigine land title is based on very strict conditions which include occupation of the land but in Guyana, Amerindians only have to show that they have been in existence for 25 years and they are eligible to make a claim.

On March 14, 2006, President Bharrat Jagdeo assented to the Amerindian Bill passed in the National Assembly earlier in the year after consultations.

According to GINA the amended act addresses pertinent issues including access to forestry resources, mining and protected areas, and the power to veto small and medium-scale mining in Amerindian communities. No protected areas would be established on Amerindian lands unless they are so inclined. GINA said too the Council was established in 2007 and comprises toshaos countrywide.

The executive includes 20 persons with at least one toshao from each region. The consultation was held at the Foreign Service Institute.

Source: Stabroek News

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Nappi, Parishara urged to draft plans

Guyana (Stabroek News) - Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai is encouraging Nappi and Parishara villagers to draft development plans for sustainable projects in order to boost their communities.

According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release Sukhai held consultations with the villagers last week. She told residents to think of projects that will generate income and to share ideas with their respective village councils. The minister told the residents that President Bharrat Jagdeo has set up a $150M grant for the development of Amerindian communities. According to GINA $500,000 has been allocated to small communities, $700,000-$1,000,000 for medium and $1.2M for large communities and in order to access the sums residents needed to develop community plans.

Sukhai’s ministry collaborates with regional democratic councils to ensure that Amerindians are benefiting from state services. She told the village councils that her ministry addresses matters such as education, health, training and social and economic issues. The minister said too the Amerindian Act has empowered the village councils “to manage, govern, and solve issues at the local level” therefore it is imperative that villagers ensure that the councils are being run effectively. Sukhai told the gathering that the first step in resolving issues lies with them as they need to inform the village councils and toshaos about the issues affecting them.

Source: Stabroek News

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Island states seek tougher UN climate deal

POZNAN, Poland (Reuters): A group of 43 small island states called on Wednesday for tougher goals for fighting global warming than those being considered at UN climate talks, saying that rising seas could wipe them off the map.

"We are not prepared to sign a suicide agreement that causes small island states to disappear," Selwin Hart of Barbados, a coordinator of the alliance of small island states, told Reuters at the 187-nation meeting.

The December 1-12 talks in Poznan, Poland, are reviewing progress at the half-way stage of a two-year push for a new UN treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol. The new treaty is meant to be agreed by the end of 2009 in Copenhagen.

The 43 nations, including low-lying coral atolls from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean, said global warming should be limited to a maximum of 1.5 Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times, below a 2.0 C goal by the European Union.

Average temperatures rose by about 0.7 Celsius last century and many scientists say that even the EU goal, the toughest under wide consideration, may already be out of reach because of surging emissions of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels.

Hart said it was the first time that the alliance had set a common temperature goal. Rising temperatures and seas would damage corals, erode coasts, disrupt rainfall and spur more disease, they said.

Low-lying states such as Tuvalu and Kiribati say they risk being submerged by sea level rises, spurred by rising temperatures that could melt ice in Greenland and Antarctica. Warmer water also takes up more space than cold, raising levels.

"A 2 C increase compared to pre-industrial levels would have devastating consequences on small island developing states," the nations said in a joint statement.

"My country is really suffering," said Amjad Abdulla of the Maldives. He said some people in the Maldives were already living in partly inundated homes.

Bernaditas Muller of the Philippines said a 2C rise would wipe out a third of the territory of her country. Rising seas would also swamp low-lying coasts from Bangladesh to Florida.

The small islands said their goal would mean that industrialized nations would have to cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and by more than 95 percent by 2050.

Such cuts are far deeper than under consideration by industrialized countries, facing additional problems in making new reductions because of the financial crisis.

The EU, for instance, is struggling to get approval for a plan to cuts of 20 percent below 1990 by 2020. U.S. President-elect Barack Obama aims to return US emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 after a rise of 14 percent since 1990.

The UN Climate Panel said seas may rise by between 18 and 59 cms (7-24 inches) this century and that sea levels are likely to keep on rising for centuries.

But some scientists say that may be an under-estimate.

"It's still likely that the average sea level will rise less than 1 meter by 2100 but higher figure cannot be excluded," said Stefan Rahmstorf, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

He said that some studies indicated that seas could rise by up to about 1.55 meters by 2100 and 1.5-3.5 meters by 2300.

"If the Antarctic ice sheet melts down completely the global sea levels would rise by 57 meters (187 ft). For Greenland it's 7 meters," he said.

Author: Alister Doyle and Gabriela Baczynska
Source: Caribbean Net News

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Nappi, Parishara urged to draft plans

Georgetown, Guyana - Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai is encouraging Nappi and Parishara villagers to draft development plans for sustainable projects in order to boost their communities.

According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release Sukhai held consultations with the villagers last week. She told residents to think of projects that will generate income and to share ideas with their respective village councils. The minister told the residents that President Bharrat Jagdeo has set up a $150M grant for the development of Amerindian communities. According to GINA $500,000 has been allocated to small communities, $700,000-$1,000,000 for medium and $1.2M for large communities and in order to access the sums residents needed to develop community plans. She said too the president has pledged to disburse a similar sum from January.

Sukhai’s ministry collaborates with regional democratic councils to ensure that Amerindians are benefiting from state services. She told the village councils that her ministry addresses matters such as education, health, training and social and economic issues. The minister said too the Amerindian Act has empowered the village councils “to manage, govern, and solve issues at the local level” therefore it is imperative that villagers ensure that the councils are being run effectively. Sukhai told the gathering that the first step in resolving issues lies with them as they need to inform the village councils and toshaos about the issues affecting them.

Source: Stabroek News

Monday, December 1, 2008

Garifuna Massacre in Labuga

La Buga - Livingston celebrated its Garifuna Settlement Day on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 with a big wake. The sudden death of the Garifuna youth was shock to the community. The young man was shot indiscriminately by the owner of a popular night club on the eve of Yurumein.

One of the victims was Adu's son Carlitos. The report alleged that 3 youngmen tried to get in for free at a party going on at "Bahia Azul" a popular night club, last night in celebration of La Buga Garifuna Settlement Day and as they were denied access, one the fellows allegedly stabbed the security guard. The owner of the club came outside running with a loaded gun shooting indiscriminately and killed 3 and wounded 2 other. Two of the shot victims were critically wounded and remain alive and ready to tell the story the way it really happened.

Carlitos, one of the dead, was the brother to one of Livingston's elite boxers, Randy. This horrible event was confirmed by Amanda Sheppard who happens to live in the Los Angeles area. Amanda is the older daughter of the well known Garifuna restaurant owner by the sea Mrs. Adu who is taking it really hard at this moment. Carlitos and the other victims are going to be buried on Saturday, November 29 with little to be said about the killings. We at GAHFU, Inc. are encouraging those who want to donate to do so and the money will go towards the Garifuna family in Livingston who is having a hard time covering the expenses incurred during the burial of these young men.

You can also contact The Sheppard family of La Buga who are living in Los Angeles by calling Amanda Sheppard (323) 802-4256 cell phone or (323) 293-2325 home.

Source: Cheryl Noralez [ ]

Friday, November 28, 2008

Over 110 persons tested for HIV at Amerindian ministry, hostel

Georgetown, Guyana - Staff from the Amerindian Affairs Ministry and the Amerindian Hostel on Princes Street seized the opportunity to know their status by submitting to the National Testing for HIV programme held there this week.

According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release large numbers of members of the public took the challenge to ‘Take action, Take the test’ at the Health Ministry’s urging. Co-ordinator of testing at the Health Ministry Autry Haynes told GINA on Wednesday that the Amerindian Affairs Ministry has been collaborating with it on a project aimed at sensitizing Amerindian communities about HIV/AIDS.

In keeping with this two testing sites were set up at the ministry and the hostel targeting the Amerindian population. “The response has been very heartening. Both the staff of the ministry and members of the public were very keen in testing,” he said. Community Development Officer at the Amerindian Affairs Ministry Clive Patterson also praised the initiative.

GINA said testing was scheduled for Monday and Tuesday at the two sites and due to the massive turnout at the hostel it was extended to Wednesday. Over 110 persons were tested at the two sites.

The ministry declared November 17- 21 National Week of Testing under the theme ‘Take action, Take the test.’ Over 200 locations have been set up region wide to facilitate it. The initiative was undertaken by the National AIDS Programme Secretariat in its quest to test 10,000 people this year, GINA said.

Source: Stabroek News

Monday, November 10, 2008

CARIBBEAN: Region Sees Sympathetic Ally in Obama

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Nov 5 (IPS) - They sat glued to their television sets as the new president-elect of the United States, Barack Obama, during his acceptance speech in the early hours of Wednesday, made reference to those listening "in far off places" around the world.

As they danced, honked car horns and used their mobile phones to communicate with friends and relatives not only in the United States, but throughout the region, Caribbean nationals acted as though Obama had won the presidency of the entire English-speaking Caribbean and not the United States.

"If he (Obama) continues in the inspirational vein of the election campaign, it could mean a change in the world, especially in how the U.S. relates to the rest of the world," said Chris Zacca, president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ).

The respected Caribbean journalist Rickey Singh suggested that the U.S. has undergone a "cultural and political metamorphosis, undoubtedly and ironically partly influenced by eight years of the ideology and governance politics of George W Bush".

"Let therefore, all Caribbean citizens, not just those of the diaspora in the USA who will have voted for him, join president elect Obama in scoring one for a resounding triumph over racial bigotry," Singh wrote.

Caribbean leaders have unashamedly expressed open support for the first ever African American to be elected to the White House, and in St. Kitts-Nevis, where Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas is due to face a general election soon, the ruling party staged a "dream is real" outdoor rally that allowed thousands of citizens to view the U.S. election results in a festive atmosphere.

"The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party was built on the exact same principles as Barack Obama's campaign to empower the working-class and the downtrodden," the party said in an advertisement, urging citizens to "celebrate the long-fought dreams of men like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King," a reference to the iconic U.S. civil rights leader.

Barbados Prime Minister David Thompson, who has extended an invitation to Obama to visit his Caribbean island to recuperate from the arduous election campaign, said he was "thrilled" at the result.

"This is a dream come true for millions of Americans -- and especially African Americans -- who were anxious to see their country redeemed from an unflattering image emanating from a number of factors, including its civil rights history," said Thompson, who was the only regional leader present at Obama's presidential nomination earlier this year.

The president of Guyana, which in recent months has had a public squabble with Washington over efforts to eradicate the illegal drug trade, said the victory of the Democratic Party's candidate over Republican John McCain was "well earned and historic".

"We in Guyana are very excited about the prospect of change in the United States...and we look forward to working with him in the future," President Bharrat Jagdeo told the state-owned Guyana Chronicle newspaper.

"I don't think any president of the United States of America will have the kind of empathy that he will have with people from different countries and poor people because he understands it firsthand, and that is why I think he will understand the difficulties that small, developing countries face," he had earlier told reporters.

The 47-year-old Democratic senator from Illinois, who will take the oath of office on Jan. 20 next year as the 44th president of the United States, sealed his victory on Tuesday, winning 349 electoral college votes against 163 for McCain.

As the new commander in chief, Obama moves into the Oval Office as leader of a country that is almost certainly in recession, and fighting two long wars, one in Iraq, the other in Afghanistan.

But he may take comfort from the fact that fellow Democrats rode his coattails to gains in both houses of Congress, toppling Republican incumbents and winning open seats alike.

The Caribbean will look to engage Obama very soon, and according to Caribbean Community (CARICOM) chairman Baldwin Spencer, "We will want to see that Barack Obama will seek to develop a more engaging relationship with the Caribbean and indeed the Western hemisphere."

Spencer told IPS that the Caribbean would raise outstanding issues including trade, the question of the deportation of criminals back to the Caribbean, as well as the concept of development "and where the Caribbean should fit on the United States agenda going forward".

But the Caribbean is mindful of the domestic problems facing Obama, as well as his often repeated statements that his new administration would most likely adopt a new position regarding relations with Cuba, which is grappling with a more than four-decade trade embargo that Washington imposed on the communist state soon after former president Fidel Castro came to power.

Spencer, who is also the prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, reminded IPS that in September, when he addressed the United Nations General Assembly, he had called on the new U.S. president "to seek to change the policy that they have towards Cuba and I am looking for President-elect Obama to in fact do that."

"I believe that it will be a positive development not only for Cuba but for the entire Caribbean and the hemisphere on a whole, so I would certainly think that all of us would be pleased if President Obama would move reasonably swiftly to begin to engage in such a positive manner which would significantly improve relationship with Cuba and indeed the hemisphere," he added.

The Jamaica Observer newspaper said Obama's victory "has stirred in mankind a wellspring of hope that, if it endures, will light the way to a future few dared to envision.

"In its magnitude, the triumph of Barack Obama eclipsed the momentous, seemingly unmatchable release from Robben Island prison of Nelson Mandela and his coronation as president of South Africa, and the landing of man on the moon," the paper said in an editorial on Wednesday.


Author: Peter Richards
Source: IPS

Saturday, November 8, 2008

President urges Iwokrama students to address local demands of climate change

GUYANA - President Bharrat Jagdeo last Friday urged students who recently graduated from an Iwokrama Training Programme to make a special effort to address the demands of climate change locally and to help in the sustainable development of the country’s rich natural resources.

The Head of State was at that time speaking at a pre-graduation gathering of the participants who completed a two-and-a-half-year course in Natural Resource Management for Guyana’s Protected Areas Systems. The meeting was held at the International Convention Centre.

The training programme was funded by the German Government and the participants were trained in areas such as ranger training, tour guiding and collaborative management. Following the meeting with the President, a graduation ceremony was held at the Theatre Guild for the 127 students who successfully completed the course.

During his address, President Jagdeo also called specifically for greater conservation of the nation’s forestry resources. He said that forests have an important part to play in addressing the problems posed by climate change since they were the source of 20% of the world’s greenhouse gases. He said that while cutting down Guyana’s forests could be profitable, the government has decided to preserve the trees.

Jagdeo went on to explain some recent comments he made about the local forestry industry while he was in the United Kingdom, which he says have been misrepresented. The President explained that he was willing to deploy the nation’s entire forest in the cause of averting climate change but emphasized that in doing this he would not be trading sovereignty of the forests nor is he prepared to have the development of the locals being put at risk.

According to the President, the funds gained from the preservation of these trees will be used to benefit the village. He said that before this decision was made he had consulted with the Toshaos of the Amerindian villages and they had signaled their approval.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Iwokrama International, Dane Gobin said that the training was very good since it better prepared the nation “to manage our forest in a sustainable way in order to mitigate the negative effects of climate change, something which currently threatens the international community.” He further stated that the graduates would take this learning back to their institutions and communities, which will result in an enhanced capacity at the national level.

This newspaper was told that some of those who have graduated have been employed by Iwokrama while others are expected to be employed at local tourist resorts.

One such person who is seeking a job is Region Nine resident Andrew Lawrence who was trained as a ranger. He said that he started the course because he needed a job and thought that the training would provide him with an opportunity to become qualified. He said he found the course to be extremely useful and he now hopes to obtain a job close to his home.

Article source: Stabroek News

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Arawak Oral Tradition from Guyana: Always Be Content

An expedition was arranged by a house-master for his relatives and friends, who were to come and join him on the coast and hunt sea-birds. Before starting, they all made quakes for collecting the birds' eggs, it being then the proper season, and eggs always good to eat.

After they had gathered sufficient eggs to fill their baskets, they proceeded with their bows and arrows to shoot birds, and were very successful. The old house-master's son-in-law, however, went off by himself in quite another direction, where there was plenty of dry timber and shot only woodpeckers, of which he brought back plenty. When they got home again, the wives made cassiri for them. The old man and his friends gave to the son-in-law of their big stock of various sea-birds, and the latter gave them woodpeckers in exchange.

In the course of conversation, they asked why he had shot only land-birds when he was supposed to have come out to shoot sea-birds. He replied that he did not mind whether they had come from land or sea, so long as they were birds, and that he was quite content to eat one or the other.

Source: An Inquiry into the Animism and Folk-Lore of the Guiana Indians, Walter E. Roth, from the Thirtieth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, 1908-1909, pp. 103-386, Washington D.C., 1915.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Arawak Oral Tradition from Guyana: How The Lazy Man Was Cured

This is another crab story; but the hero of it was distinguished by his laziness, and not by his ignorance. A large party of people went out in a big boat to catch crabs: every one of them had twenty quakes aboard, and as they rested at each stopping-place, they still continued plaiting them. You see, they had nothing to distract their attention, having left their wives at home to make the paiwarri ready for their return.

At one of the inlets where they put in for a rest on the way down, they saw growing close to the banks a small kokerite palm, with a large bunch of ripe fruit. Having cut off the bunch, they put it into the boat, shoved off, and then started eating. The hero of this story asked them to save all the seeds, after they had removed the fruity parts, and let him have them.

This they did, and on the night before their arrival at the place agreed upon for catching crabs, he filled all his quakes with them. Next morning the others landed to hunt, but this fellow refused to join them, and remained in the boat, not even putting his feet into the water. He knew well enough how to hunt the crabs, but was too lazy, and counted on receiving contributions from all his companions. These, on the contrary, were equally determined that he should not have any: they filled all their own quakes, returned to the boat, and finally reached home. It was night when they got there, and they turned into their hammocks. Next morning, they called their wives to fetch the crabs from the place where they had left them at the water-side.

The wife of the individual who had brought back the kokerite seeds, asked him where his crabs were: he told her that she would find them at the bottom of the heap and that she would have to wait until all the other women had cleared away theirs. She did as she was instructed and, carrying the quakes to her mother, let her know that these were the kind of crabs that her husband had brought home with him. The old woman thought much, but merely said, "Put them into a big pot and boil them on the fire, till the shells crack." In the meantime, each of the other women gave the naturally disappointed wife one quakeful of crabs each, but conditionally, on her promising that she would give none to her husband. And thus, with one exception, they all started on a hearty meal of crabs and paiwarri.

The old mother took a calabash full of the cooked kokerite seeds, and placing it before her good-for-nothing son-in-law, bade him eat. This was obliged to do, even if only out of mere shame, because he was so hungry, and knew that no one would give him of their crabs. At any rate, the lesson cured him of his laziness, and on the next occasion that he went out hunting, he brought home to his poor wife crabs and not kokerite seeds.

Source: An Inquiry into the Animism and Folk-Lore of the Guiana Indians, Walter E. Roth, from the Thirtieth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, 1908-1909, pp. 103-386, Washington D.C., 1915

Friday, October 24, 2008

Guyana praised for its role with indigenous people

Georgetown, Guyana - Guyana has been praised for its role in education and health care for its indigenous people at a conference of representatives from Indigenous Women's groups from Dominica, Suriname, Belize and Guyana being held in Georgetown.

Belize Senator Pulcheria Teul told the gathering that Guyana's role for indigenous people is monumental in comparison with other countries, in particular Belize.

Teul, who is a Senator in Belize, worked with indigenous women for a decade, and said that the livelihood of the indigenous people in her country is grounded on the principles of respect of nature and a greater sense of community spirit, which set the foundation for sharing and managing resources.

The Guyana Chronicle reported that the Belize senator said, "Belize indigenous people reside in the rural communities; and with a slowly developing economy, the poorer classes are not well provided for as the indigenous women of Guyana.”
She added, "In Belize they cannot easily access higher education, which is a major constraint in the development of women there.”

The Belizean said she was impressed that three indigenous women in Guyana are Ministers of Government, Pauline Sukhai, who is Minister of Amerindian Affairs; Carolyn Rodrigues, Minister of Foreign Affairs; and Desrey Fox, Minister in the Ministry of Education, as well as countless other women who serve in managerial positions across the country.

Teul said that she is proud of her post and is privileged to be the only indigenous woman involved in Parliament in Belize.

Author: Oscar Ramjeet
Source: Caribbean Net News

Age conflict seen in laws that relate to child trafficking

Guyana - Participants at a forum on human trafficking are questioning whether the age of consent under the Criminal Law Offences Act and the age a person is still considered a child under the Combating of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Act are in conflict after reviewing some case studies.

In her feature presentation Chrissey Mueller, Pro-gramme Co-ordinator for the US-based, International Organisation for Migration told the forum that there is a key difference between adult trafficking and trafficking of children; trafficking of adults involved mobilisation via particular means which resulted in their exploitation. Child trafficking on the other hand, only required the children to be mobilised and exploited.

Mueller identified methods of mobilisation as including recruitment, transportation, transferring and harbouring. She said too the means applied to mobilise such persons included the use of threats, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception and abuse of power; and exploitation included forced labour, slavery, servitude and removal of organs. Mueller also said when prosecuting an adult for child trafficking the criteria of means (use of threats, coercion, abduction etc) need not be present. She also submitted that adults who organised children to beg were engaging in trafficking. In this regard even parents can be prosecuted though Mueller suggested that the best way to deal with such a situation may be to direct the mother to a social service agency which would be better equipped to offer assistance.

A conflict arose during an interactive session when case studies were presented and Mueller used an example of a 17-year-old girl being recruited by a group of individuals who own a brothel who then freely decides to engage in sex for money. The participants questioned whether the owners of the brothel could be prosecuted for trafficking in persons since under the Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act of 2005; a child is defined as someone under the age of 18 whereas the Criminal Law Offences Act states that a girl can consent to having sex at 16.

Meanwhile, Minister of Human Services Minister Priya Manickchand said too many people are ignorant about what constitutes human trafficking and although she acknowledged that there were several practices which bordered on exploitation; these cases could not be identified as cases of trafficking in persons. The minister said too the rate of trafficking in persons in Guyana was much lower than it has been portrayed by the US State Department as government continues to make great strides in tackling the issue since it first appeared on the Tier 3 Watch List in 2004.

Manickchand told the forum that for the past two years Guyana has been on the Tier 2 Watch List which means that TIP is seen as a problem in the country and though government has been trying to address it, its efforts have been slipping.

Manickchand opined that since being ranked Tier 3 a very negative perception has been attributed to Guyana as that rank indicates that human trafficking is seen as a major problem in the country and that the government is making little effort to combat it.

As regards cases of human trafficking, the minister said the authorities were trying to prosecute those suspected of perpetrating this crime. At the same time, she acknowledged that more could be done to ensure that persons at high risk of being trafficked were protected. Manickchand also said that government needed to engage the US government on conducting a full investigation into human trafficking locally as so far no concrete evidence has been presented to the government to confirm that the rate of trafficking in Guyana was high. The minister said she was convinced that if the US conducts its investigation, her views would be validated.

According to a recent report from the US State Department, Guyana is a “source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labour.” Further, it said that Amerindian girls are trafficked to brothels near the mining camps and to coastal areas for sexual exploitation and domestic servitude. “Young Amerindian men are exploited under forced labour conditions in mining and logging camps. Some women and girls trafficked into brothels in the interior are from northern Brazil,” it added.

The forum was hosted at the Cara Lodge Hotel two Fridays ago.

Author: Mark McGowan
Source: Stabroek News

Increased access to social services a priority among indigenous women

Guyana - Increasing access to social services is among the priorities identified by indigenous women leaders in the region as key to empowerment, against a backdrop of development.

Participants at the ‘Conference on Indigenous Women in the Caribbean: Voice, Participation and Influence for Development’ that opened last Thursday found that many of their problems were the same. These include poverty, limited access to health, education and other basic social services, while trying to secure recognition of traditional land and rights. Another issue is gender-based violence. One of the challenges facing the conference was creating room for women’s rights in the context of the collective indigenous rights. The two-day meeting was organized by the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs and United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). It attracted a cross section of government and civil society participants from Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Suriname, Nicaragua and St Vincent.

Speaking at a press briefing on Friday shortly before the end of the conference, Roberta Clarke, Regional Programme Director of UNIFEM Caribbean Office, said that despite progress across the region, indigenous women still face many disadvantages. She said the conference found that geography has a severe impact on how indigenous women access basic social services in addition to infrastructure. “Many indigenous women live in conditions of hardship,” Clarke said, adding that the situation was exacerbated by the failure of schools to be culturally responsive when they are accessible. Instead, they are geared towards urban centres, with curricula often irrelevant to people in indigenous areas.

Clarke also identified the perpetuation of harmful gender-based stereotypes in indigenous communities as another area that needs to be addressed. In fact, she pointed out that the seeds of gender equality are embedded in the traditional indigenous culture.

In this regard, she also emphasised that while there are specific issues that indigenous women face, they are also commonalities that they share with women in general. Among them is the little representation they have in their countries’ political leadership. In some countries there are no women represented in the parliament.

Clarke said the conference provided a forum for the sharing of best practices, while learning from each other’s mistakes. She added that UNIFEM would use the outcome to shape its programme in the Caribbean and would work in partnerships to realize the agreed priorities.

Amerindian Affairs Minister Pauline Sukhai pointed out that while governments think they have done all that is possible for women, there remains segments for which more has to be done, like indigenous women.

She also drew attention to the recurring themes among disparate peoples, including the need for land rights, better education and women’s rights. Sukhai was optimistic about developing strategic alliances among indigenous women across the region and to identify priorities for action.

Belizean Senator Pulcheria Tuel, who also represents the Toledo Maya Women’s Council, welcomed the deliberations as a starting point for an indigenous people’s agenda in her country. With the outcome of the conference, she vowed to use her influence in the senate to identify and address indigenous women’s issues, including poverty and violence. “For us to move forward,” she explained, “we must address these issues in the context of development.”

In this vein, Tuel saw the conference and its deliberations as a good opportunity to influence the development of a framework to address indigenous issues in Belize. “I believe our government is willing to give indigenous women more support and prepared to address indigenous women’s issues.”

Surinamese researcher Marie-Josee Artist emphasised the importance of countries learning from each other. (Guyana’s Amerindian Act and the constitutional Indigenous People’s Commission were cited as progressive initiatives.) Suriname, Artist noted, does not recognize traditional land rights for indigenous people and this has led to conflict between the authorities and indigenous groups, including women’s organizations. The intrusion of mining companies has also led to problems. Many indigenous and maroon women’s organizations in Suriname are looking for support, she said, but because of restricted access to their communities, donor agencies and NGOs interested in giving assistance often find their funds going largely to transportation costs.

Source: Stabroek News

Moraikobai villagers honoured for contributions to Carifesta

Guyana - Certificates were presented to Amerindians from Moraikobai, Region Five who constructed the Amerindian Village at the Sophia Exhibition Complex for Carifesta X.

According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release, the 28 workers, including Eustace Vieira, Sylvan Henry, McKennon Adrian, Taracharan Mathura, Cromwell Andrews, Sean Adrian, Roy Adrian, Morris Dick, Claude Hope, Gary Smith, Vernon Smith, Steve Fredericks, Paul Roberts, Marcano Andrews, Lorri DeSantos, Ivan Henry, Andrew Neruda and Peter Henry were honoured as part of Heritage Day celebrations. Village Day celebrations at Moraikobai also featured a pageant, graduation ceremony and other activities.

The workers had constructed the model houses of all nine Amerindian tribes by using indigenous materials from Moraikobai and other Amerindian communities. In his presentation Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr Frank Anthony said he was proud that the group was able to use its talents to create the Amerindian Village as the ministry had aimed to make the festival unforgettable. He noted that Guyana wanted to showcase its people and their culture. “We didn’t want to leave out any segment of our society,” he said.

Source: Stabroek News

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Miss Kalinago and Princess Natari 2008 Chosen in Dominica

Carib Territory, Dominica (UCTP Taino News) – 10 contestants competed for the Miss Kalinago and Princess Natari pageant crowns as part of “Carib Week” in September 2008. This year the annual pageant was held at the Karina Cultural Village in Bataca, Dominica and two of the contestants, Miss Juslyn Antoine and Miss Darylia Sanford, took home the coveted titles.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Petition Calling for the Abandonment of Proposed Columbus Monument in Boriken (Puerto Rico)

Recalling that: In 1492, Christopher Columbus initiated a genocidal campaign against Indigenous Peoples that began with the Taíno, Karib, and Arawak Nations and extended throughout the Americas, and

Recalling that: Christopher Columbus was the first trans-Atlantic slave trader in the Western Hemisphere, and

Recognizing that: Christopher Columbus is a symbol, not of a man, but of imperialism, colonialism, and genocide, and

Further Recognizing that: Imperialism and colonialism are continuously manifesting with the exploitation of humanity and the Earth as well as in the ongoing violations of the rights of Indigenous Peoples,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: We, the undersigned call on The Holland Group, Inc and the City of Mayagüez to abandon their plans to erect a monument to Christopher Columbus on the island of Boriken (Puerto Rico) in 2010. This proposed project is not only offensive to the local Taino, Karib, Arawak and other Indigenous Peoples but it is an offense to all peoples of good conscience around the world.

Sign petition at:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Amerindian Heritage Day in Trinidad

UCTP Taino News - Surinamese Carib Chief Paremuru
attending the Amerindian Heritage Day Celebration
in Arima, Trinidad on October 14, 2008 at Arima Town Hall
Photo: Wendy-Ann Duncan

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Indigenous affairs meeting ends with pact on pushing state programmes

The first three-day Regional Meeting of Government Authorities on Indigenous Affairs of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organisation (ACTO) concluded on Friday with a multilateral agreement that includes the acceleration of state programmes to address indigenous issues.

The meeting considered public policies relating to indigenous people in order to identify priorities to be addressed for the 1.5 million indigenous people living in the Basin, including 420 different tribes living in isolation and initial contact. The agenda will be released in detail tomorrow.

According to the Government Information Agency (GINA), Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai reported that the deliberations were very harmonious and reached a consensus. “In relation to land and territories, a renewed commitment was made and I am sure that the delegates have actually been exposed to the experiences of all the other countries, including Guyana which has made very significant success in addressing Amerindian lands in our country,” Sukhai was quoted as saying. She was speaking at a post-meeting session at the International Convention Centre on Friday night. Also present at the session were delegates from other ACTO member states Suriname, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia.

GINA said the meeting also examined the status of efforts to address indigenous issues in each participating country and a commitment was given to move forward in hastening that process.

The meeting was facilitated by the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and several state agencies, including the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, the Guyana Lands and Survey Commission and the Guyana Forestry Commission, whose representatives made up the Guyana delegation.

ACTO is an international organization that promotes sustainable development of the Amazon Basin. It was created by the signatories to the 1978 Amazon Cooperation Treaty for the promotion of harmonious development of the Basin. In addition to delegates from member states participation also came from the Amazonian Parliament (PARLAMAZ), the Coordinating Body for the Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA) and the Associacion De Universidades Amazonicas (UNAMAZ).

Article Source: Stabroek News

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Amerindian Heritage Day to be celebrated in Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago (UCTP Taino News) - Amerindian Heritage Day will be commemorated this year in Trinidad and Tobago with a week long commemoration from October 13-19, 2008. Taking place in the town of Arima, the program will include ceremonies, lectures, and special cultural presentations hosted by the Santa Rosa Carib Community. Indigenous delegations from around the Caribbean region are set to attend the events, which will include a meeting of the Caribbean Organization of Indigenous Peoples (C0IP). “We are looking forward to attending this important regional meeting and continuing to work in solidarity with our relatives keeping our future generations in our hearts and minds” stated Roberto Borrero, a representative of the United Confederation of Taino People. Indigenous delegates from Guyana, Dominica, Suriname, Belize, Saint Vincent, Puerto Rico, and other countries are expected to attend.

UCTPTN 09.21.2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Indigenous people in Guyana encouraged to recognise development during Amerindian Heritage Month

By Kevin Lindon
Caribbean Net News Guyana Correspondent Email:

GEORGETOWN, Guyana: The Ministry of Amerindians Affairs in Guyana on Monday launched the annual celebrations of Amerindian Heritage Month, which is being observed under the theme “Inspiring our nation to move forward in Unity”.

See full story at UCTP Taino News

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Carifesta X symposium highlights Amerindian artifacts

GUYANA - A symposium on Indigenous Performance Traditions on Monday focused on the collection of Amerindian artifacts in the Austrian Museum of Ethnology which houses some 350 artifacts from Guyana. Most of these artifacts were collected from the Makushi and Wapishiana regions early in the 19th century by Austrian zoologist Johann Natterer. The symposium was held at the Guyana International Conference Centre, Liliendaal as part of a symposia panel for Carifesta X, the Government Information Agency (GINA) reported.

See full story at:

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Commentary: Charles Williams and indigenous issues in St Vincent

The historic Kalinago people of St Vincent are on the ‘brink of extinction,’ said Chief Charles Williams, leader of the Carib Community in Dominica, after he wrapped up a three day visit to St Vincent and the Grenadines on August 6. Williams was warmly welcomed by residents of Sandy Bay as he sought to re-establish the links between the Caribs of Dominica and SVG.

Charles Williams’ visit was prompted by a series of activities in the international indigenous community that have resulted in the passing of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and a corresponding protocol that the Organization of American States (OAS) has issued in draft form providing for significant rights, protections and privileges to indigenous peoples world wide. These declarations have important implications for our indigenous peoples in the Caribbean, and his trip to SVG was to re- familiarise himself with local conditions in the Carib community, north of the Rabbaca River, and particularly to link up with descendants of the Kalinago people -- the first people of St Vincent.

See full story at:

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Commentary: Creole and Garifuna race relations in Belize are getting better

BELIZE - Over the years, the race relations between the Creoles and the Garifunas were very strained in Belize due to the colonial policies instituted by the British Government against the Garinagu people in their native country St Vincent, and the Creoles in our country Belize.

The Garifuna people derived from a mixture of Africans, who were brought from Africa to the Caribbean to be slaves in the 1600s, and native Galinagu Indians from the island of St Vincent and other countries in the Lesser Antilles. The Creole people are Africans who were brought to Belize to be slaves and some who were not slaves but were children of the slave masters of European stock, mainly British, Scottish and Irish.

See full story at

Friday, May 23, 2008

Guyana to Host Upcoming COIP 2008 Meeting

Public Notice: The next meeting of the Caribbean Organization of Indigenous Peoples is set to take place 25-27 July 2008 in Georgetown, Guyana. The meeting will be hosted by the Guyanese Organization of Indigenous Peoples (GOIP). Contact Chief Ricardo B. Hernandez for details.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fifth Summit of the Americas to take place in Trinidad & Tobago 2009

UCTP Taino News - In 2009, Trinidad and Tobago will be the first Caribbean, Small Island Developing State to host the Fifth Summit of the Americas. The Summits of the Americas are held every three to four years and bring together the 34 democratically elected Heads of State and Government in the Western Hemisphere to exchange ideas and opinions on the political, economic, social, and security challenges confronting the region.

From 1994, the Summits process has seen the implementation of several initiatives advancing improvements in healthcare, education, infrastructure and security, disaster mitigation and preparedness, environmental conservation, and democratic governance across the hemisphere - all for the benefit of the people of the Americas.

According to the Summit Secretariat “The goal of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago in preparing for the Fifth Summit is to ensure that the focus remains on people - that it brings meaningful and tangible benefits to all the people of the Americas.”

Plans are already being discussed to host an “Indigenous Summit of the Americas” in conjunction with the Fifth Summit.

UCTPTN 05.15.2008

Monday, May 12, 2008

Dominica rejects legislating intermarriage to save tribe

ROSEAU, Dominica (AP) - The leader of the last remaining pre-Columbian tribe in the eastern Caribbean says outlawing marriage to outsiders can save Dominica's dwindling indigenous population, but legislators are balking at deciding who can marry whom.

Chief Charles Williams has proposed a law requiring ethnic Kalinagos to marry only each other for self-preservation. He also requested that foreigners be barred from living on the tribe's 3,800-acre reserve.

"We would like as many Kalinago people to respond and pair off so that we can multiply and protect the race," Williams said during a recent news conference.

An estimated 1,000 Kalinagos of the roughly 4,000 who live on the reserve are considered full-blooded Indians. Carib women who marry non-Indians traditionally leave the reserve, while men who do the same are allowed to stay.

Several legislators said Friday that they refuse to entertain the marriage proposal.

Such a measure would be "legislating who a person can marry, and this cannot be so," Sen. Claduous Stanford told The Associated Press.

Kent Auguiste, a member of the Carib Indian council that oversees the reserve, said the culture should be preserved but not at the expense of personal freedom.

The impoverished Kalinago tribe relies mostly on banana and citrus farming.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Rodrigues new Minister of Foreign Affairs- - Pauline Sukhai to take over at Amerindian Affairs

GUYANA - President Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday announced the appointment of Minister Carolyn Rodrigues as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and she will be sworn in to her new post today.

This follows the retirement of Minister Rudy Insanally from that position. Prior to her new appointment, Rodrigues was the Minister of Amerindian Affairs. Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Pauline Campbell-Sukhai has been handed the post of Minister of Amerindian Affairs.

A press release from the Office of the President in announcing the new appointments stated that Rodrigues is the first woman and the first Amerindian to be appointed to the Foreign Ministry post in the history of Guyana and brings to the position a wealth of experience. Noting Rodrigues’ academic qualifications in Social Work and Business Administra-tion, the release said her experience and highly respected leadership and management qualities as a Minister in the Ministry of Amerindian affairs over the last seven years “will add a new vibrancy to Guyana’s foreign image”.

Meanwhile, Campbell-Sukhai has been appointed to Rodrigues’ former post and the release in stating that she had been a community and political activist for women and Amerindian rights over the last 30 years also pointed out that Sukhai has a degree in economics and post-graduate development studies. “Her work experience in SIMAP as an economist and the Guyana Lands and Surveys Project as a socio-economist coupled with 15 years as a parliamentarian will serve her well in her new post”, the release asserted adding that she will now demit her position at the Tourism Ministry.

Both Ministers will be sworn in by President Bharrat Jagdeo in the Credentials Room, Office of the President today.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Government Oppression of the Taino People in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico - The General Council of Tainos Borincanos has planned to clean-up the Bucana river in Jacanas (Tibes - Ponce), Puerto Rico on April 12 but their attempt has been impeded by the Department of Natural Resources.

The General Council of Tainos Borincanos having proposed - as part of our activities to promote conservation and respect of the environment - the clean-up of the Bucana river to mend the damage caused to the sacred site of Jacanas, Ponce, PR and to renew its integrity; had made efforts since the beginning of February to contact the Department of Natural Resources, the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture and other governmental agencies through various means of communication such as faxes, telephone calls, letters and personal visits. The Taino Council’s requests were never officially answered.

See full story at:

Monday, March 31, 2008

Guyana ratifies convention on mutual assistance in criminal matters

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (GINA): The government of Guyana through the National Assembly has ratified the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters which will serve as a legal basis of shared support in criminal issues between the United States and Guyana.

Minister of Amerindian Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues who put forward the Motion said the growth in trans-border crimes generally confirmed the need for increased international law cooperation.

“Extradition treaties and Convention of this type in general are essential tools in this effort…The negotiation of mutual legal assistance treaties is an important part of the administration’s many efforts to address international crime, as reflected in the International Crime Control Strategy,” Rodrigues said.

The Minister who was speaking at the March 27 sitting of the House said one important measure to address the problem is to enhance the ability of local law enforcement officials to cooperate effectively with overseas counterparts in investigating and prosecuting international criminal cases.

“Similarly, mutual legal assistance treaties are vitally needed to provide witness testimony, records and other evidence in a form admissible in criminal prosecutions. The instrument before you today will be an important tool in Guyana achieving this goal,” Rodrigues asserted.

Guyana signed the Convention on February 28, 2006. To date 22 of the 34 member states of the Organisation of American States (OAS) have ratified the convention that was negotiated at the OAS in the mid-1980s and was adopted and opened for signature by the OAS General Assembly on May 23, 1992.

Meanwhile, the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and other related Materials was also ratified in the National Assembly.

“The purpose of this convention is to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, ammunition, explosives and other related materials, and to promote and facilitate cooperation, exchange of information and experience among states parties in this regard,” Rodrigues explained.

The Guyana government’s effort to address the illicit manufacturing and trafficking of firearms were outlined by the Minister.

“As a government we have not been blind to the changing face of crime and criminality. We have taken specific note of the increased use of guns in the commission of crimes and have acted accordingly. The Firearm Amendment Bill among other things has increased the punishment by including more significant penalties for the purchase, acquisition or possession of firearm or ammunition without necessary licence,” Rodrigues emphasized.

Guyana signed on to the Convention on November 14, 1997 at the Twenty-fourth Special Session of the General Assembly of the OAS which was held in Washington D.C.

Monday, March 24, 2008

All set for Amerindian village replica

GUYANA - The Ministry of Amerindian Affairs on Wednesday made its third visit to Moraikobai, Region Five to check on the progress for the tenth Caribbean Festival of Arts and found that everything is set for the building of a replica of an Amerindian village.

According to a press release from the Government Information Agency (GINA), Moraikobai is one of many villages chosen to participate in the ten-day event from August 22 and has been tasked with preparing the materials to construct a replica Arawak village at the Sophia Exhibition Centre in Georgetown. The village was selected because of its location, residents’ expertise and accessibility to raw materials.

On Wednesday toshao Colin Andrews took representatives of the Amerindian Affairs Ministry including Clive Patterson, Community Development Officer and David Murell, Public Works Engineer attached to the project, to check on the material being prepared by the residents. After four weeks of preparation the materials were finally ready to be used to build the replica and Andrews said that he was happy about the completion and expressed thanks to the residents who have been working tirelessly to have all the materials prepared and cured. He further gave the assurance that his village is ready to begin constructing the main benab for the replica of the `Amerindian Village’.

Moraikobai residents will also showcase their talents in handicraft, popular Amerindian cuisine and entertainment. They said that this would give them an opportunity to display the beauty of their village and to highlight their skills and talents as well as open new market for their products.

Photo: Some of the materials to be used on the replica of the Amerindian village. (GINA photos)


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

User friendly booklets on new Amerindian Act almost ready

Guyana - Special booklets on the new Amerindian Act which are being produced by the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs in languages that will be understood by the Amerin-dians are almost complete, the Government Information Agency (GINA) reported.

GINA quoted Minister of Amerindian Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues as saying that the legal language had been posing some difficulties and the ministry decided to make the document more user-friendly in order that its contents are easily understood.

There are booklets on the Amerindian Act already which are available to the public but Amerindian communities specifically will be targeted for the distribution of these new booklets.

Rodrigues said that the project which started last year is almost complete. `

Additionally, templates of the forestry and mining sectors are in the printing process which will serve as a guide for communities involved in the two sectors.

The minister said the project will be pursued because of several complaints relating to agreements not being properly formulated and the communities losing out.

She said a workshop was completed with the toshaos in order that they understand the contents of the Act, so they could better guide others.

The Amerindian Act of 1951 was outdated and not reflective of today's situation and many communities had asked for it to be revised.

In early August 2005, the Amerindian Bill was presented to Parliament and was subsequently debated on October 20, 2005.

The new Amerindian Act was passed on February 16, 2006 paving the way for Amerindians to empower themselves socially, economically and politically, GINA added.

Source: Stabroeknews

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Belizean Musician Andy Palacio Passes Away After Heart Attack and Stroke

January 19, 2008 - Andy Palacio, an iconic musician and cultural activist in his native Belize and impassioned spokesperson for the Garifuna people of Central America, was declared dead tonight at 9pm Belize time due to a massive and extensive stroke to the brain, a heart attack and respiratory failure due to the previous two conditions.

Palacio, 47, started feeling poorly last week and eventually visited a doctor with complaints of dizziness and blurred vision. On the 16th of January, he began experiencing seizures and was rushed to a hospital in Belmopan, Belize and then on to another hospital in Belize City. At this point, most people were hopeful Palacio would recover.

On January 17th, Palacio's condition worsened and he began experiencing more seizures. He was placed on an air ambulance to Chicago where he was expected to get treatment at one of the premier neurological facilities in the country. En route to Chicago, the plane stopped in Mobile, Alabama to clear immigration. At that point, Palacio was unconscious and it was determined that he was too ill to continue on the flight to Chicago. He was rushed to a hospital in Mobile, and placed on life support. There, doctors determined that the damage to his brain function was severe, and that his chances of recovery were slim. On January 18th, his family requested that he be flown back to Belize so that he might die in his homeland.

A national hero in Belize for his popular music and advocacy of Garifuna language and culture, news of Palacio's condition sent shockwaves through the community. At 5pm today, a public service was held in Belize City for Palacio as people prayed for his recovery. Ceremonies were also held by Garifuna spiritual leaders in an effort to help with the situation. Belize is in the midst of a heated election, but the local news was entirely dominated by Palacio's health crisis.

The reaction has also been strong around the world. Until the recent turn of events, the past year had been one of tremendous accomplishment for Palacio as his album Wátina, which was released at the beginning of 2007, had become one of the most critically acclaimed recordings of the year in any genre.

Perhaps the most unanimously revered world music album in recent memory, Watina appeared on dozens of Best of the Year lists in major media outlets around the globe and was roundly praised in glowing terms.

In 2007, Palacio was named a UNESCO Artist for Peace and won the prestigious WOMEX Award. Wátina was also nominated for the BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards. At home in Belize, the international success of Wátina has sparked a revival of Garifuna music, as young musicians have become inspired by Palacio's example. Even in the days since Palacio's health crisis began, the accolades have continued to pour in for his work.

That Palacio has been struck down at a moment of such international acclaim only increases the sense of shock and tragedy felt at his sudden and untimely death.

Andy Palacio will be honored with an official state funeral. A massive tribute concert is planned in Belize City on Friday, January 25th.

Friends and supporters are invited to post messages in memory of Andy Palacio to his MySpace page ( as well as to the blog of his international record label Cumbancha (