On Friday 16th June, 2023, the Ministry of Kalinago Upliftment, Rural Modernization, Environment, and Constituency Empowerment launched the 120 Kalinago initiative to celebrate the 120-year anniversary of the establishment of the Kalinago Territory. Activities will span until 2024 and will officially kick off in July.
Acting Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Dr. Irving McIntyre stated the need for “ efforts to lift our first people out of economic dependence” and “ increase opportunities for them to build their wealth, and create avenues for growth in agriculture, enterprise and education”. He further explained that the aim to aid our original people achieve financial independence will also be supported by providing “the most concessionary interest rate of only 2 percent” under the Kalinago Development Fund, which was established in order to meet the socioeconomic needs of the Kalinago people and is meant to support their housing situation, small businesses and craft to name a few. Another way in which the economic development and activity could be aided is by attracting “more visitors in the kalinago’s space” McIntyre stated. This would promote the selling of their craft and goods.
Meanwhile, Minister of Kalinago Upliftment, Hon. Cozier Frederick supported Dr. McIntyre saying that the various activities being held throughout the year will support these efforts. There will be a hike, a smoke ceremony and even a book launch. Frederick in referring to the book, added that this would be new material to “be used at the school level.” He said this could be used to “debunk myths.” He further acknowledged that many activities were being held in the Kalinago Territory stating that ” we have been dedicated a part of the island that we can continue to develop.” However, he admitted to wanting to expand these activities and involve more communities to eventually give this initiative a nation wide venue. Frederick added that ” many historical sites . . . are linked to the Kalinago Territory,” including villages such as Petite Savanne. “We have the liberty to move the culture and heritage beyond the Kalinago Territory”, he stated.
The Kalinago 120 Initiative is one to truly look forward to as this milestone of 120 years as a Territory is one to definitely celebrate.
By Ira Khade Elwin
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