It appears that the island’s indigenous people may have to wait longer for an official name change from Carib to Kalinago.
A monument honoring their ancestors also appears to be nowhere close on the horizon.
At a press conference to launch Kalinago Week last Friday, MP for Salybia Ashton Graneau, appeared clueless when questioned on the progress of the monument.
“Truthfully I cannot tell you where we are with it,” he stated. “We would have to have an engagement with government and I think cabinet had approved in principle that we would support the monument.”
On the official name change matter, Graneau said it has been a recurring one and also very difficult.
“That has been coming up over and over again,” he stated, pointing out that the name change has proven difficult in areas such as re-writing the history books and who is going to bear the cost of re-writing such books.
Additionally, Graneau pointed out, the Constitution of Dominica has to be changed to accommodate the name change, although he said this is the easiest part.
“Even in the Constitution, for example, it would be easy because it is the government of Dominica who owns the Constitution, so it would have been very easy for government to change that name in the Constitution,” he said. “How easy would it be for the historians and the others who have written books on Kalinagos is another question and that is something we have to pursue. And we haven’t reached that stage where we can get that discussion with the authors and documents of information regarding Kalinagos. Maybe I have not been forthright enough in that.”
Graneau mentioned that discussions have been held with the Attorney General on the matter but no meetings have been held with the Kalinago Council as yet.
“I think that this is the next step to go now,” he said. “To see where it is, what is it that we need to do to get it into parliament. I think that is where we should be going now.”
In September last year prime minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, said that he was in full support of the idea of a monument in honor of the Kalinago people and the government will underwrite the cost of the undertaking.
In terms of the name change, in 2010 the Kalinago Council wrote to the Ministry of Tourism and Legal Affairs, requesting the name “Carib” in the 1978 Carib Act be replaced legally with the word “Kalinago.”
It described the term Carib as “archaic and outdated.”
Although the name change has not been officially enacted, the Council said it would no longer use “Carib,” and instead, will refer to the lands of the Territory as the “Kalinago Territory,” the governing body as the “Kalinago Council,” its head as the “Kalinago Chief” and the people as “Kalinagos.”