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Vincentians in the USA focus on young people

Vincentians in the USA focus on young people


The St Vincent and the Grenadines Diaspora Committee of New York in cooperation with the Consulate General of St Vincent and the Grenadines, USA; and the Council of St Vincent and the Grenadines Organizations, USA (COSAGO), convened a Round Table Consultation on “Young Vincentians{{more}} in the Diaspora” on March 31, 2012, at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center, Inc. in Brooklyn. It was part of the Diaspora Committee’s Youth Initiative for Vincentians living in the USA and in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The objectives of the Round Table Consultation were: (1) To discuss the mission and objectives of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Diaspora Committee of New York’s Youth Initiative; (2) To review past and present efforts in the Vincentian Diaspora to reach out to young people of Vincentian heritage; and (3) To look at the best ways to organize activities for and by Vincentian young people in the Diaspora, and ways to assist the development of young people in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Deputy Consul General of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Edson Augustus served as Chairperson for The Round Table. He is also Coordinator of the Diaspora Committee’s Sub-Committee on Youth. He spoke about the vision, mission, objectives, and activities of the Sub-Committee on Youth. He stressed the importance of reaching young people with positive and constructive assistance in order for young people to live meaningful and happy lives.

Maxwell Haywood, Chairperson of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Diaspora Committee of New York, shared information on the history, outlook, orientation, and activities of the Diaspora Committee.

Jamaal Patterson, one of the coordinators of the sub-committee and an active young member of the Diaspora Committee, urged the participants and the Diaspora Committee to marry the youth energies and creativity with the expertise and wisdom of adults and older persons. He stated that the Youth Initiative of the Diaspora Committee is an opportunity to channel young people in a constructive direction that will help to enhance their lives considerably.

The participants heard a special presentation done by a young member of the Diaspora Committee, Sherill-Ann Mason, on “The social, economic, and political situation of young people in the Vincenitan Diaspora in the USA.” Mason gave a statistical overview of Vincentian youth and highlighted some of their successes and challenges. She particularly highlighted the need to provide opportunities for higher education and to utilize cultural education, cultural arts and technology as means of providing “some ray of hope in addressing the problems facing our youth.”

A rich discussion followed with many excellent ideas expressed by participants. These ideas will form the basis for the Diaspora Committee’s Youth Initiative. A few of the ideas include:

  • Establishing a panel of professionals to organize a periodic symposium for young people and their careers.
  • Developing activities in SVG to share information to young people migrating abroad. This information will empower young people to know what to avoid and make use of when they migrate. For example, college entrance information should be provided to young people before they migrate. Maybe several persons from the Diaspora should go to SVG every month or so to conduct orientation programmes for Vincentian youth who are preparing to migrate.
  • Establishing a high level public forum on young people should be organized. It should focus on parents and young people with involvement of Vincentians who have high levels of achievement in their professions or community.
  • Encouraging young people to organize themselves in special missions to go to SVG to give back their talents, skills, and energies.
  • Celebrating the successes of young people.
  • Organizing education fairs to assist youth in making better use of educational opportunities.
  • Developing entrepreneurship programmes for youth.

Rohema Woods, one of the young persons who participated in The Round Table Consultation, made the urgent call that: “We must not wait too long for these ideas to be implemented”.