Created on 02 August 2011 Hits: 9396 Written by George Category: Latest
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HOPEFUL SIGNS EMERGE FROM DIASPORA FOUNDING CONFERENCE

Image St. George, August 2, 2011 -- An impressive turnout of about three hundred was on hand for the launch of the 2011 Diaspora Founding Conference which was held at the Grenada Trade Center on Tuesday.

The opening day's attendance doubled that of last year, despite the impact which the LIAT slowdown at the Maurice Bishop International Airport has caused, and heard from a cadre of presenters.

Delegates took the opportunity to vent on a number of issues of concern to them, including the lack of incentives for persons wishing to return home, the lack of pride in maintaining the environment, and the attitude of some Grenadians towards returnees.

In the area of culture, a call was made for the regulation of radio and major improvement in the quality of music being aired by these stations.  Calypsonian Doggies, who now resides in Montreal, made a passionate plea for a program to educate "so-called" Soca artistes in song-writing.

Visiting delegates strongly identified with a speaker who suggested that Grenadians here at home appear to be under the impression that their family and friends living abroad "pick up money on the street" to send home.  That contribution brought a round of applause from a very alert audience.

Another expressed dismay at the attitude of some who are apparently under the impression that returnees are here to take their jobs; even when it is made clear that they are here to work on a voluntary basis.

Ambassador Stephen Fletcher, called upon both those in the Diaspora and those living here to begin an attitudinal change, TODAY!  His views were echoed by others throughout the day, as the conference sought ways to break down the barriers which exist on both sides.
ImageYouth delegates from New York, London and Toronto outlined activities which they have been engaged in as they contribute to the development of Grenada.  Surprisingly keen interest is being shown by second generation Grenadians in learning about the home of their parents.  Needless to say, social media plays a major role in their effort.

The Grenada Cooperative Bank appears to be aggressively positioning itself as the "Diaspora Bank."  Services have specifically been implemented at two of its branches to cater to returnees at Grenville and Spiceland Mall, and less than a month ago, they also had a high profile on a visit to London to participate in the Grenada Heritage Day festivity.

Day One of a rather frank and upbeat conference concluded with a positive indication of willing participation, a recognition of the potential which the Diaspora initiative presents, and agreement that a key requirement for the advancement of the movement will be seeing the implementation of projects discussed.

IMAGES FROM TUESDAY'S CONFERENCE

Sen. Franka Bernardine in the audience
Montreal resident, Tesfa Peterson, captivates her audience
Consul General in Toronto, Jenny Gumbs and Grenada's Permanent Representative to the OAS, Gillian Bristol (left and center)
Mum and daughter, visiting from the UK, share a lighter moment
Youth delegates from New York meet the media
Noreen Wall and Reva Lewis, both from New York, were bit hits
Local media on the left observe the goings on
The new-look seating at the Grenada Trade Center
They came to hear every word
Grenada's High Commissioner in London, Ruth Rouse
Excellent presentation from these New York-based Grenadians
Raedonna Griffith (London), Trish Mitchell (Toronto) and Tesfa Peterson (Montreal) captivated their audiences
Grenada's Ambassador to China, Marcel Gairy
Grenada's Consul General in Toronto, Jenny Gumbs
Grenada's Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States, Gillian Bristol
Governor General, Sir Carlyle Glean, declaring the conference open

AUDIO FROM DAY 1
Opening ceremony
Tourism and business development
Returning nationals
Discussion on returning nationals
Sports and Culture
Youth and discussion on youth

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