17 June 2011

Ricardo Bharath Hernandez, Chief of the Santa Rosa Carib Community, Speaking in Arima in 2008

Ricardo Bharath Hernandez is shown below speaking during the occasion of the eighth Amerindian Heritage Day, 14 October 2008, in Arima, Trinidad, and the week of events surrounding it. The speech took place in the Arima Borough Council. He welcomed several indigenous delegations, especially from Dominica, Suriname, and the United Confederation of Taino People. The Carib Community prepared a flyer/pamphlet, "Hyarima, Relentless Warrior," for the event.

Ricardo Bharath lists a series of demands/goals for helping to protect Amerindian heritage:
  • A once only public holiday to honour Amerindian history, which as the chief explains, represents a change of goals for the Carib Community, which previously had explicitly not sought a holiday--he feels that such a holiday would allow for nation-wide cultural events, expositions, parades, a rally, and reaching out all sectors of the nation, in order to "sensitize" and give "national visibility," gain greater recognition of the Carib Community, and aid it in attaining its vision; it is the only way for the government to make a major statement to the whole nation, and everyone would know why they have this holiday;
  • Chief Bharath refers to Suriname in noting that on the UN's International Day for Indigenous Peoples, that country has a public holiday;
  • Speaking on the "model Amerindian village," he calls for reflection on the past; he says the Carib Community is not asking for "compensation," but support for helping to develop themselves and preserve their unique history;
  • Chief Bharath thanks successive governments that have supported the Carib Community in many different ways, but does not want to rely on handouts, and does not wish to simply produce "cultural events" (dance, talks, etc.) that result in nothing tangible and lasting;
  • He emphasizes that the Carib Community does not seek to segregate itself, that it has always welcomed others with open arms, and as a testament to that fact it is a very "mixed" community;
  • He speaks of the First and Second UN Decades for the World's Indigenous Peoples, lasting to 2014, as an opportunity for government to do more to assist the local indigenous community--he notes that on 12 September 2007, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago voted in the UN General Assembly for the adoption of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which includes recognition and land appropriations, Chief Bharath uses this as a reminder to government;
  • Chief Bharath ends on a note of a common, Caribbean indigenous struggle.

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