|FIRST EVER CARICOM INTER-TRIBAL GAMES 2012 SUCCESSFULLY HELD IN GUYANA!|
|Friday, 05 October 2012|
A mere 4 weeks ago Damon Gerard Corrie had an idea, the kind of idea that consumed his thoughts and denied him sleep that night; inspired by the 2012 London Olympics in which for the first time ever a member of his Lokono-Arawak tribe in Guyana (a young man by the name of Raul Lall in this case) was a competitor in ANY Olympic Games EVER!
For those who do not know ‘CARICOM’ stands for the ‘Caribbean Community‘ – which includes all of the Independent former English Colonies including Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Grenada, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Barbados, Saint Lucia, Dominica, Antigua & Barbuda, Belize and the former Dutch colony of Suriname.
Not all these countries still have indigenous Amerindian populations however, only Guyana, Belize, Suriname, Trinidad, Saint Vincent and Dominica have known/recognized indigenous Amerindian populations.
Mr. Corrie had invited Amerindian athletes from all 5 CARICOM countries outside Guyana with Amerindian populations to participate, but due to short notice and lack of sponsorship to assist them in covering the expense of return air fare to Guyana from their respective countries; only the Kalinago-Carib Tribal Nation (through sponsorship from the Touna Development Agency run by Kalinago ex-Chief Irvine Auguiste) of Dominica was able to send 2 Athletes – at a cost of over US$1,000.00 on LIAT airline (the only airline option available). It was unfortunate that these two Kalinago athletes were forced to pay for 2 additional one-way tickets from Guyana to Dominica after the games as they arrived at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport 20 minutes before their 5.30am Monday October 1st return flight – due to the fact that the vehicle that was hired to transport them out of the interior to Guyana’s International Airport got stuck in a hole in the sand track before it reached the asphalt highway.
The pleadings to the LIAT management at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport in Guyana by the elder member of the Dominican team Mr. Jacob Fredericks (who has worked with the Ministry of Carib Affairs in Dominica) fell on deaf ears and it was pure luck that Mr. Corrie was able to provide the two athletes the US$450.00 required to secure them new one-way tickets to fly home the following morning (October 2nd) on the same time scheduled flight.
It was a disgraceful act of intransigence by a carrier that is quite fond of using the region’s Amerindians as the basis of articles in it’s LIAT Islander magazine to woo visitors into purchasing seats on it’s planes. We shall report on any remedy – or continued intransigence - offered by LIAT in this matter.
Technically, as long as 2 tribes from at least two different CARICOM countries participated it would indeed be rightfully deemed a ‘CARICOM Inter-Tribal Games’ so Damon Corrie got his wish – as 3 Amerindian Tribal Nations from 2 countries (Lokono-Arawak & Makushi tribes from Guyana, and Kalinago-Carib from Dominica) were able to participate in this first and history-making noble effort. “God willing – next year it will be bigger and better!” Corrie added.
A total of 50 Amerindian Athletes participated in 5 events that were held this time – and they were:
By popular demand (by interested locals & other Tribal Nations) the Games are being split with the remaining events planned to be held later this year in December 2012 – again on Pakuri Lokono-Arawak Territory in Guyana.
As a closing ceremony/event on Sunday 30th September 2012 Mr. Corrie personally volunteered to be the symbolic and ceremonial ‘runner sacrifice’ heralding the end of the first half of the Games. Adorned with blue color temporary body tattoos of traditional Amazonian Indian designs by Kalinago-Carib athlete Tikenti Auguiste (whom Damon personally taught this type of temporary tatoo skill to in August 2012), a loincloth from the Majhi Tribe; and a feather headdress from the Wai-Wai tribe….Damon ran the gauntlet as a moving live target in front of archers backing them as they used their 3-foot long blunt point (the flat head of a 4 inch steel nail) arrows fired from 5-foot bows behind him as he sped away. During his first 25 runs all arrows missed him, but the 26th arrow struck his arm, the 27th arrow struck his back, and the 28th arrow (fired by Kalinago-Carib Tikenti Auguiste of Dominica) struck him at the back of his head with enough force to shatter the arrow shaft.
Corrie says he enjoyed every minute of it as the whole purpose of the ‘runner sacrifice‘ is to embody the key virtues of the Games which are bravery, stamina, the ability to bear physical pain without complaint, and camaraderie.
A total of GY$150,000.00 (US$750.00) in prize-money was awarded during this first half of the CARICOM Inter-Tribal Games to the winning athletes who secured Gold 1st place, Silver 2nd place and Bronze 3rd place medals – and these were: