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Statement by Kalinago Chief-elect on International Day of World’s Indigenous People – Dominica News Online

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Kalinago Chief-elect, Lorenzo Sanford

On this day, we pay homage to our brave and resilient Warrior Ancestors who fought for the preservation of Waitu’kubuli and the islands of the Americas. They were the Guardians of the Eastern Gate who fought back the European invaders and colonizers for more than two centuries.

The destruction of the land and genocide of the Kalinago People which followed, lasted for centuries. In this modern age, we need to change how we see ourselves in history.  I say we are the survivors of colonialism and genocide, not merely victims.

I say now is the time for a New Beginning for the Kalinago People.  Let this International Day of The World’s Indigenous Peoples be a time not only for reflecting on the past but also, a time to create a new vision for ourselves, and take charge of our destiny as we take our rightful place in the Land of Our Ancestors.

The theme for this year’s observance is “Indigenous People’s Languages”

Hundreds of years of domination by European colonialism resulted in the destruction of many aspects of our culture which had developed, and served our ancestors well, over thousands of years. The near total loss of our ancestral language was a most significant blow to the survival of the Kalinago People.  It also meant loss of knowledge and skills related to agriculture, astronomy, fisheries, animal behavior and hunting techniques, natural healing,  prayers, incantations and rituals, and the mastery of ecological  systems.

The inability to pass on sacred and secular knowledge to future generations in their pure form led to further loss of cultural heritage and identity. Therefore, it is very important for us, as a people, to preserve, protect and develop what is left of our Kalinago language.

Because the extent of the loss is so vast, all we have left are lists of words and phrases and the names of plants, animals and places. It might take generations before Kalinagos can once again have meaningful conversation in our language but the longest journey starts with but one step.

After the inauguration of the new Kalinago Council, I will propose the following in an effort to bring about some revival of our language.

* Make a collection of books, manuscripts and documents about, or containing Kalinago language.

* Encourage new Kalinago parents to give Kalinago names to their babies.

*Continue and expand the program of ceremonially renaming Kalinago youth and elders.

* Encourage entrepreneurs of the Territory to give Kalinago names to their businesses.

* Encourage youth, sports, and other community groups to adopt Kalinago names. * Work with teachers and education professionals to design and develop board games, word games, and number games using Kalinago words, phrases and themes.

* Network with Indigenous Peoples in English-speaking countries who are having success in native language revival. This is in order to benefit from knowledge, skills and best practices to boost our own program.

* In the medium to long term, opportunities will be sought for Kalinago teachers to study linguistics; focusing on the Kalinago/Arawakan/ Lokono language family.

* As time goes by, I envision the time when Kalinago language experts will develop curriculum around Kalinago language, myths, legends and culture for use by students of Dominica and the region.

On this day, let us vow to use, as much as is possible, all the words and phrases that we know in our daily speech; and to teach them to our young braves and nataris. On this day, let us recommit ourselves to the presentation of our culture and heritage for the good of the land and for future generations.

The road may be long but it is there and we have the spirit of resilience and determination to fulfill the task.

Let us continue to strive with unity of purpose and love for our beloved Kalinago Territory and Waitu’kubuli.

Kayman Kalinago

Kayman Waitu’kubuli.





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Dominica’s count of coronavirus cases remains at 11 as probable cases test negative

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Dr. Shalludiin Ahmed

The total number of positive Covid-19 cases in Dominica remains at eleven (11) as four (4) probable cases which had to be re-tested, returned negative.

National Epidemiologist, Dr. Shalluddin Ahmed,  made that disclosure at a press briefing on Friday evening.

“As of today, 167 samples collected over the past two weeks, of them, 149 samples were tested so far, and as of now, a total number of positive COVID cases remains at 11,” Dr. Ahmed revealed.

He said 138 cases tested negative including the four probable cases.

He said so far, there is no death.

“Most of these cases are from one community,” Dr. Ahmed noted.

He said, at this time, a total of 136 people are quarantined at the Government Quarantine Facility in Portsmouth.

Dr. Ahmed reminded the people of Dominica to adhere to the directives given by the health officials.

“Continue to stay indoors,” he advised.





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Directive from The Secretary to The Cabinet in Dominica re COVID-19 Response

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COVID-19: Skerrit chides critics; explains his decisions

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PM Skerrit speaking at a news briefing on COVID-19

Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has chided persons who are being quarantined and using social media to criticize the facility and how it is being managed.

Some of these people have taken to social media saying that the facility is “filthy and the meals are not coming on time.”

While agreeing that he is aware that things at the facility are not perfect, the prime minister has called for patience.

“Those of you in the quarantine, we are doing it for your own good and that of your families. I understand, like everywhere, there are some challenges and we will fix it. It is not perfect. Work with us; stop the sensation and let’s all stay calm and remain focused,” Skerrit said.

He also took jabs at those who criticized him for not immediately closing down Dominica’s borders.

“We could have shut down the country from February 1 but that would not have helped us. We are putting systems in place identifying human resources. The people who said that Skerrit should have shut down the borders long time know that it is not just like that,” he said.

The prime minister said that there were a number of things to consider shutting Dominica’s border. He said he had consulted with a wide cross-section of people including, medical and international experts.

“It is part of our culture to come back door from the French territories. So allowing the boat to come in was key so if people have the virus they can be spotted,” Skerrit maintained. “Anyone who comes in via the back door you have to tell us because it is in your interest and that of the country. We want to ensure as far as possible that we can contain and manager it…this is not a time for politics. I have seen comments, so those who want to play politics, so be it.”

Skerrit also revealed that Dominica has the national capacity to test for the Coronavirus and have been told by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) CDC that what is being done in Dominica is very efficient and accurate. “So we have the national capacity to test and so our results are able to come to us much faster and as a result, we are able to act quicker,” Skerrit stated.

He praised the health professionals who have come forward to assist along with the firemen and the ambulance service.

He also issued a warning to those 70 years and above to “stay home completely.”

“People with underlying conditions please stay home…we also want people to look out for each other and stop calling the hotline unnecessarily because you are doing a disservice,” he posited.

The Dominica leader also announced that after much consultation the government, he took a decision to close the islands main airport a day earlier than was previously announced.

“I have consulted with the Chief Medical Officer (ag), Dr. Curvin Ferreira and other people. As a result, we have taken a decision to close Douglas-Charles airport effective midnight March 26, 2020. We are also asking those who are vulnerable working in the government service to stay home and work from home,” he said.

He also said that the attorney general is preparing the necessary regulations to be gazetted.

“All that will be regulated from a legal standpoint…we are speaking to the banks and the private sector because while we envisage a shutdown, people can have access to services. If you don’t have business [to do on the] outside, stay inside,” the prime minister stated.

He said the government will be taking a decision on the issues of VAT and Income Tax returns about which the Financial Secretary (FS) will make a detailed announcement.

The prime minister warned that if people refused to adhere to the various instructions given, he may be forced to issue a curfew but said he hopes it doesn’t come to that.

“We are open to criticisms but let us be positive and constructive,” Skerrit stated.

 





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