By Michelle Loubon
Trinidad Express Newspapers | Oct 13, 2013
Dr Satnarine Balkaransingh, chairman for the International First Peoples Conference 2013, has said the first Carib chief who was named Hyarima should be given a posthumous award and the major aspects of the Parliament should be shifted from the Red House at St Vincent Street, Port of Spain.
He made these comments during his presentation “The Wounded Nation of the First Peoples of Kairi - Miscegenation, Race, Politics and Marginalisation”. This was day three of the Santa Rosa First People’s Community of Arima Heritage Week which runs until October 19 at UTT Campus, Arima.
He was among the panellists who spoke on the theme Governance and Politics: Contemporary Perspectives. These included Julie Guyadeen, Dominica’s Chief Garnette, Tommy Isaac, past principal of St Augustine Senior Secondary School, and Andrew Klauty.
On the issue of Parliament’s relocation, Balkaransingh said: “Give consideration to have the National Parliament shifted. We can’t move the bones because you are moving a whole cemetery. But you can move Parliament or the major aspects and leave other aspects and convert it to a natural museum and a national art gallery of international standards. Keep the register of births and deaths. These are alternatives. We are continuing to make decisions in the national interest sitting on a cemetery.”
Amerindian artefacts and bones were discovered recently at the Red House during renovations.
Parliament is currently located at Tower D of the International Waterfront Centre, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain due to ongoing renovations at the Red House which traditionally has been the seat of Parliament.
Moving to Chief Hyarima, Balkaransingh added: “ Recognise Hyarima as T&T first national hero for his courage and action in fighting foreign aggression and provide the highest award (Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago) posthumously.”
“Hyarima was the first person in 1637 with his warriors and with the help of the Dutch who sacked St Joseph and burned it to the ground actually chasing the Spaniards out of Trinidad. Nobody thinks about the people fighting and therefore Hyarima must be considered the first national hero.” Chief Hyarima’s statue is at Arima.
Asked for an update on the Conference, Ricardo Bharath, Chief of the Santa Rosa First Peoples Community, said: “President Anthony Carmona is expected to attend celebrations today. Nine people will be awarded and I will be making the call for three major things. The first is a call for a public holiday on October 14. I will speak about the other two today.”
The conference continues today. Below is the schedule
Today is First Peoples Heritage Day:
Dedicated to the Great Spirit Tamushi
6:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m.
Procession from Smoke Ceremony to the Carib Centre
Venue: Streets of Arima
3 p.m. to 5 p.m.