Sad news for IFACCA family

30 January 2008, Belize

Many will be saddened to hear of the sudden death of Andy Palacio, Cultural Ambassador and Deputy Administrator of the National Institue of Culture and History of Belize, a national member of the Federation. Andy attended the World Summit and General Assembly in Newcastle/Gateshead in June 2006 as a guest of Arts Council England and the Commonwealth Foundation. There have been many tributes to Andy, a UNESCO Artist for Peace and described on World Music Central as 'a national hero in Belize for his popular music and advocacy of Garifuna language and culture.... the past year had been one of tremendous accomplishment for Palacio as his album Wátina, which was released at the beginning of 2007, had become one of the most critically acclaimed recordings of the year in any genre.' Andy was given a state funeral which, as described here, took place on 25 January in his home village of Barranco attended by an estimated 2,500 people. The perspective that Andy Palacio provided in the official report of the 2006 World Summit eloquently summed up the raison d'etre of IFACCA... "Listening to speaker after speaker, my imagination bounced back and forth applying ideas and concepts to the Belizean reality, sifting the relevant from the irrelevant.... All the speeches, presentations and discussions... highlighted the fact that no matter where in the world we all came from... we all face the same challenges and stand at the threshold of the same opportunities." We will miss Andy Palacio.