HOPEFUL SIGNS EMERGE FROM DIASPORA FOUNDING CONFERENCE
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.
Youth 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
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
Tourism and business development
Discussion on returning nationals
Sports and Culture
Youth and discussion on youth