Thomas Vincent Ramos

Last updated
Thomas Vincent Ramos
Thomas Vincent Ramos.jpg
Born(1887-09-17)17 September 1887
Puerto Cortés, Honduras
Died13 November 1955(1955-11-13) (aged 68)
Nationality Belizean
OccupationSchool teacher
Known forCivil rights activist, founder of Garifuna Settlement Day
Relatives Pi'erre Bourne

Thomas Vincent Ramos, commonly known as T. V. Ramos, (17 September 1887 – 13 November 1955) was a Belizean civil rights activist who promoted the interests of the Garifuna people, and is now considered a national hero. [1]



T. V. Ramos was born in Puerto Cortés, Honduras, on 17 September 1887 and was educated at Wesleyan Methodist primary schools in Stann Creek Town, British Honduras (now Dangriga, Belize), and Belize City. He took correspondence courses in business administration, public speaking, journalism and accountancy. Ramos married Elisa Marian Fuentes in 1914. He moved permanently to Stann Creek Town in 1923 but did not formally become a British subject until one year before his death in 1955. [1]

Social activist

After moving to British Honduras, Ramos became a school teacher. He was also a visionary leader. Concerned about the systematic neglect of health facilities for Garinagu in Stann Creek Town, he founded the Carib Development and Sick Aid Society and later the Carib International Society, which had affiliations in Guatemala and Honduras. [2] The purpose of the Carib Development Society was to help the sick and to assist those who need financial assistance to bury their dead. The society owns 800 acres (3.2 km2) of land that was called the Carib Reserve at Sarawee in the Stann Creek valley. [3] He lobbied successfully for the colonial authorities to provide native Garifuna nurses in the local hospital. [2] Ramos was a Methodist, a preacher, and wrote several Garifuna hymns. Some of them are sung each year at his memorial. [4]

T. V. Ramos was a contemporary of Marcus Garvey, and was involved in Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association. He fought discrimination against Garifuna people, including all Afro-Belizeans. He was founder of the Independent Manhood and Exodus Uplift Society and the Colonial Industrial Instruction Association. [1] He was a prolific contributor to the newspapers. For example, writing in the Belize Independent on 21 January 1942 Ramos complained of the brutality of some Wesleyan School teachers towards their students, and the immorality of some of the female pupil teachers. [5]

In 1940, as leader and spokesman of the Garifuna people along with Pantaleon Hernandez and Domingo Ventura he approached the governor of the colony and asked for establishment of a public and bank holiday to observe the Garifuna arrival in Belize. The request was granted and the Carib Disembarkation Day, later named Garifuna Settlement Day, was first celebrated in Stann Creek District on 19 November 1941. The holiday was recognized in Toledo District in 1943 and throughout the country in 1977. [2]


Ramos died on 13 November 1955 and was put to rest the following day. [4] Since 1956, A torchlight parade has been held on 13 November every year in honor of his contributions to Belize and to his people. [6] The parade is part of the week-long lead-up to the Garifuna Settlement Day that he established, which includes selection of Miss Garifuna, parades and special church services, and The T. V. Ramos Classic Bike Race. [7] [8] His granddaughter Adele Ramos published a biography of T. V. Ramos in 2000. [9] A statue of Thomas Vincent Ramos stands at the junction of Commerce and Front Streets in Dangriga. [10]

Ivan Ramos, a grandson, served as a member of the Belize House of Representatives from Dangriga from 2012 to 2015. [4] [11]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dangriga</span> Town in Stann Creek, Belize

Dangriga, formerly known as Stann Creek Town, is a town in southern Belize, located on the Caribbean coast at the mouth of the North Stann Creek River. It is the capital of Belize's Stann Creek District. Dangriga is served by the Dangriga Airport. Commonly known as the "culture capital of Belize" due to its influence on punta music and other forms of Garifuna culture, Dangriga is the largest settlement in southern Belize.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Stann Creek District</span> District of Belize

Stann Creek District is a district in the south east region of Belize. According to the 2010 census, the district had a population of 32,166 people. Its capital is the town of Dangriga, formerly known as "Stann Creek Town." Stann comes from "stanns," or safe havens used by colonialists coming from the "old world" to the "new world."

Mullins River is the name of both a river and of a village on that river in the Stann Creek District of Belize.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Garifuna</span> Ethnic group in Central America

The Garifuna people are a people of mixed free African and indigenous American ancestry that originated in the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent and speak Garifuna, an Arawakan language, and Vincentian Creole.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Punta</span> Traditional music and dance performed by Garifuna people

Punta is an Afro-indigenous dance and cultural music originating in the Caribbean Island of Saint Vincent And The Grenadines by the Garifuna people before being exiled from the island. Which is also known as Yurumei. It has African and Arawak elements which are also the characteristics of the Garifuna language. Punta is the best-known traditional dance belonging to the Garifuna community. It is also known as banguity or bunda, before the first arrival of the Garifuna people in Punta Gorda, Roatan, Honduras on April 12, 1797.

Paul Nabor, born Alfonso Palacio, was a Garifuna singer and musician from Punta Gorda, Belize. He is often credited with popularizing paranda, a style of traditional Garifuna music, and is considered to have been one of the most talented musicians of the genre.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Constituencies of Belize</span>

Belize's 6 districts are politically divided into 31 constituencies. Each constituency sends one representative to Belize's House of Representatives for 5-year terms. This election is known as the General Election. Each person votes for the candidate they would want to represent their constituency in Central Government.

Delvin "Pen" Cayetano is a Belizean artist and musician.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Belizeans</span> People associated with the country of Belize through citizenship or descent

Belizeans are people associated with the country of Belize through citizenship or descent. Belize is a multiethnic country with residents of African, Amerindian, European and Asian descent or any combination of those groups.

Captain Monrad Sigfrid Metzgen, was a politician in the Colony of British Honduras.

The Lebeha Drumming Center was established in 2002 by Jabbar Lambey and Dorothy Pettersen, in Hopkins, Belize. Hopkins is a small coastal Garifuna community in the Stann Creek District of southern Belize. The center exists with the goals of keeping Garifuna music alive, passing traditional music along to young people in the community, and sharing music with visitors to Hopkins. The center’s focus is on traditional percussion music, though guitars have been donated and are also played.

Adele Ramos is a Belizean poet, author, journalist and publisher. She is assistant editor of the Amandala, a widely circulated tabloid newspaper, published twice weekly.

Garifuna Settlement Day is a public holiday in Belize, celebrated each year on November 19. The holiday was created by Belizean civil rights activist Thomas Vincent Ramos in 1941. It was recognized as a public holiday in the southern districts of Belize in 1943, and declared a national holiday in 1977. The holiday celebrates the settlement of the Garifuna people in Belize after being deported from the Grenadines by the British. The major festivities for the holiday occur in the town of Dangriga, including parades, street music, and traditional dancing.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of the Catholic Church in Belize</span>

This history of the Catholic church in Belize has three parts: the historical periods of the Catholic presence in Belize, religious congregations laboring in Belize, and apostolic works undertaken.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sacred Heart Church, Dangriga</span>

Sacred Heart Church, in Dangriga, Belize, is a Roman Catholic parish.

St. Peter Claver Catholic parish is located in Punta Gorda, Toledo District, Belize.

Ivan Michael "Maca" Ramos is a Belizean politician and a member of the People's United Party (PUP). He was elected in March 2012 as Area Representative for the Dangriga constituency in the Stann Creek District.

The National Garifuna Council (NGC) of Belize is a non-governmental organization that represents the Indigenous Garifuna people of Belize. Their mission is to preserve, strengthen, and develop the Garifuna culture, as well as to promote economic development, interracial harmony among the Garifuna people, and maintain traditional respect for preserving the environment. It was established in 1981 and is managed by a board of directors with corresponding branches in Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. These countries all share the unique Garifuna culture, as they all served as refuge to the Garifuna people when they were exiled from their homeland, St. Vincent.

Iris Myrtle Palaciao is an educator and social planner from Belize. She is an advocate for Garifuna culture, and good governance in the public sector.


  1. 1 2 3 "Belizean Biographies: Thomas Vincent Ramos". Belize National Library Service and Information System. Retrieved 2010-02-07.
  2. 1 2 3 Jose Francisco Avila & Tomas Alberto Avila. "The Period 1920 - 1940 - Thomas Vincent Ramos". Garifuna World. ISBN   1-928810-02-0.
  3. "Thomas Vincent Ramos". The Belizean Studies Resource Center. Retrieved 2010-02-07.
  4. 1 2 3 Ramos, Adele. "52nd tribute to T.V. Ramos". Amandala , 18 November 2008. (accessed 22 May 2015)
  5. Peter Hitchen (2005). Education And Multi-cultural Cohesion in the Caribbean: The Case of Belize, 1931 - 1981. ISBN   1-4116-5453-6.
  6. Sebastian Cayetano (1993). Garifuna history, language & culture of Belize, Central America & the Caribbean. The Author. p. 51.
  7. Harry S. Pariser (1998). Explore Belize. Harry S. Pariser. p.  279. ISBN   1-55650-785-2.
  8. "Celebrating Garifuna Day". San Pedro Sun. Retrieved 2010-02-07.
  9. Thomas Vincent Ramos; Adele Ramos (2000). Thomas Vincent Ramos: the man and his writings. National Garifuna Council of Belize. ISBN   976-8111-56-9.
  10. Mara Vorhees; Joshua Samuel Brown (2008). Belize. Lonely Planet. p. 222. ISBN   978-1-74104-703-5.
  11. "Bye-Election In July! PUP Hon. Ivan Ramos Steps Down As Representative", Tropical Vision Limited, 8 June 2015. (accessed 18 June 2015)