Thursday, April 28, 2011

Caribs look for new queen

Arima, Trinidad - The process of selecting a new queen of the indigenous Carib community “will be a challenge” if adequate financial provisions are not allocated to the successor of the late Valentina Medina. So said president of the Carib community, Ricardo Hernandez Bharath, in an interview yesterday. Medina, 77, who had been ailing with cancer for three years, succumbed last Saturday, having served ten years as queen of the Carib community in Santa Rosa. Bharath said the queen, whose office was for life, acted as the official representative for the Carib community and made appearances at various events, fulfilled the duty of community consultant and functions as the chief public relations liaison for both visitors and students.

He said at present, the post did not come with a stipend and believed that something ought to be done to provide some relief in that regard. “If you want to give of that office a kind of respect and dignity, I believe that some sort of assistance from some government department must be afforded to that person,” Bharath said. He added that “it would be a challenge to appoint” a successor if stipends were not provided since it was necessary to assist the queen “in her day-to-day engagements, in preparation to attend functions and receive visitors” among other particulars. “We assist her with a little when we get our annual subventions,” he said.

“Apart from that, we depend on contributions from visitors, school children, the sale of art and craft and the little indigenous foods we do but it is not consistent, nor is it enough.” Asked to outline the procedure for the election of a new queen, Bharath said where the “queen did not name a successor,” the community would meet and nominate candidates who they felt were best suited to carry out her functions. “If there is just one nomination (which is unopposed) and it is accepted, that person will be made queen and where there is more than one nomination, then an election will take place and the majority will stand,” he said. Bharath said the requirements for the new queen “will need to be a bit more advanced” when compared to the past and more emphasis would need to be placed on “the qualities of the person.”

“In the past, you just had to look for someone knowledgeable of the Carib traditions, devoted to the Santa Rosa festival and committed to living a good life but today, it will require someone who can interact with the public,” he said. Medina’s funeral service will take place tomorrow from 2 pm at the Santa Rosa Roman Catholic Church, Woodford Street, Arima. Her body will lie in state at the Arima Town Hall from noon to 1.15 pm, after which there will be a procession through the streets of Arima. Medina will be laid to rest at the Santa Rosa Cemetery where Bharath will perform a special burial ceremony. Monsignor Christian Perreira of the Catholic Church will preside over the funeral service.

Source: The Guardian
Author: Brent Zephyrine

Monday, April 25, 2011

Arima, Trinidad (UCTP Taíno News) – Elder Valentina Medina, the Carib Queen of the Santa Rosa Carib Community of Trinidad passed away on April 23, 2011. Queen Medina succumbed to complications arising from breast cancer. She was 78 years old.

Medina was the fifth Carib Queen since the introduction of the title in 1875. She served the community in this capacity for 11 years.

Chief of the Santa Rosa Carib Community Ricardo Hernandez-Bharath, who visited Medina just before her passing, stated “she had served her community well.”

Commenting to local news sources Hernandez-Bharath noted that "there will definitely be an indigenous service on the day of the funeral."

The Santa Rosa Carib Council will meet to discuss the appointment of a new Queen in one month.

UCTPTN 04.25.2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Questionnaire for governments, indigenous peoples and organizations, NGOs, business enterprises and other interested parties

Please submit your response preferably via email at

Dear Sir/Madame,

CH-1211 GENEVE 10
23 March 2011

I am pleased to address you in my capacity as Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples pursuant to United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution15/14 of 30 September 2010.

I am currently carrying out a study on the rights of indigenous peoples in relation to natural resource extraction and development projects affecting them, in light of the high level of information I have received from indigenous peoples expressing concerns about this issue. In my previous reports to the United Nations Human Rights Council, I have examined the duty of states to consult with indigenous peoples about decisions affecting them (A/HRC/12/34) and the responsibilities of corporations whose activities affect indigenous peoples (A/HRC/15/37). I am now building upon these previous reports in order to provide an analysis of the effects of natural resource extraction and development projects on the rights of indigenous peoples, as well as an assessment of the responsibilities of States, corporations and indigenous peoples in this context.

An important component of this study will be the eventual development of a set of guidelines directed at States, corporations and indigenous peoples on the duty to consult with indigenous peoples in relation to natural resource extraction and development projects. With this document, I aim to provide guidance on the steps necessary to ensure that these types of projects are carried out in a way that is consistent with relevant human rights standards on the rights of indigenous peoples, including with respect to lands, territories and natural resources; consultation and free, prior, and informed consent; participation in and control over the design and implementation of project activities; mitigation measures; and benefit sharing.To gather information for the preparation of this study, I have developed a questionnaire for governments, indigenous peoples and organizations, NGOs, business enterprises and other interested parties.

The purpose of this questionnaire is to understand the views, concerns and recommendations of different relevant actors regarding the subject matter of this study, in accordance with the mandate given to me by the Human Rights Council to "examine ways and means of overcoming existing obstacles to the full and effective protection of the rights of indigenous peoples ... and to identify, exchange and promote best practices."

I kindly request that you complete the attached questionnaire. While responses can be submitted in all official languages of the United Nations, responses in English and Spanish would be preferred.

Please submit your response preferably via email at or by mail to the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples; c/o OHCHR- UNOG, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Palais Wilson; 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland. Should you have any question regarding this request, do not hesitate to contact Ms. Karin Lucke at 022 917 94 31.

Please submit your response no later than 1 May 2011.

Thank you in advance for your time and kind co-operation.

James Anaya Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.

Download document