Saturday, June 24, 2017

Carib Community gets access to Red House

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SIMPLE RITUAL: Santa Rosa Carib Community Chief Ricardo Bharath Hernandez exits the Red House in Port of Spain along with Carib Queen Jennifer Cassar and other members of the Carib Community following a simple ritual that was carried out in the name of the departed yesterday. –Photo: Curtis Chase

Mark Fraser


Members of the Santa Rosa Carib Community were granted access to the Red House in Port of Spain to perform one of their requested rituals yesterday afternoon.



Speaking with the media following what was described as a simple ritual in the name of the departed, Carib Chief Ricardo Bharath Hernandez said they were happy they were granted the request.



“What we did today was what we had requested—that we do one of two rituals today. It was a simple ritual and it was a ritual really in the name of the departed, it was not to the departed. When someone dies you have certain prayers and rituals that you do and because of the find and we do not know at the time of death, if the rituals were done. 



“More than that, because they have unearthed the bones and remains of the ancestors we who are alive felt it necessary to do that ritual. So we have performed that simple ritual and there is just one part of another one that we hope to do in the month of October under the guidance of the shamans and the (priests) who still practise these rituals in other places,” he said.



Hernandez said the shamans who are expected to carry out the other ritual will have to be found on the mainland of Venezuela and Suriname in time for the Heritage Celebrations in October.



“They will conduct the all-night rituals in the name of the ancestors,” he added. 



Last week the Carib Community called a media briefing outlining several requests to the 25-member Cabinet-appointed committee for the site at the Red House where bones and artefacts of their ancestors were found back in April.



He said he believes that the find at the Red House is a cry for recognition of the descendents of the indigenous people locally as recognised by the United Nations.



Hernandez admitted that 20 or 30 years ago they may have had “great resistance” against a ceremony like that.



“So we can perform these ceremonies and it gives us a sense of pride, a sense of knowing that that aspect of your culture, your heritage that you grew up with, you can now practise and can be on par with any other culture in this country rather than being stifled,” he said.