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Vincy homecoming: together we can make it work

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by Maxwell Haywood 07.NOV.08

I read with high interest the Searchlight newspaper editorial of 31 October, 2008. That editorial raises some very important concerns about the Vincy Home-coming which will occur in 2009, the same year of St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ (SVG) 30th anniversary of Independence. There were two more articles in the Searchlight on the Homecoming and the Vincentian Diaspora that got my undivided attention: Renwick Rose’s article dated 26 September, 2008, and Dr. Adrian Fraser’s article dated 31 October, 2008.{{more}}

These three articles highlight the importance of the Vincentian Diaspora, meaning those Vincentians living abroad; and they also highlight the need to ensure that Vincy Homecoming is properly organized. I sensed in these articles a high degree of urgency in connection to the preparations for the two dimensions of the Vincy Homecoming: on one hand will be community events to welcome home Vincentians from abroad; and on the other hand will be conferences in the Diaspora and SVG, which will identify how best to improve relations between SVG and its Diaspora so as to make these relations more productive and serve developmental goals and objectives. These conferences should unfold in 2009.

The Homecoming activities can easily become a failure or an event without any real impact. It is a real challenge to correctly put things together in the context of the limited time and resources. For sure, unless the concerns expressed by these articles are seriously considered by the organizers, I am afraid that the Homecoming celebration will be just another ordinary activity with no added value and will be forgotten as soon as the event is finished. For this not to happen, planning and implementation of the event must be inclusive and participatory; and communications among all the major partners must be strengthened.

Moreover, Vincentians at home and abroad need to lend a helping hand, and they must see to it that the organizers do the right thing and get it right this time.

This Homecoming event and process has enormous potential. I believe that this is another great opportunity to do something meaningful for SVG, and it will be good if those who see the significance of this event ensure that it does not miss the mark this time. We have too much to lose and gain from this initiative to make it fail. It has been a long time coming, and now positive change could come if we allow it to happen. I am confident that this event could be highly successful once the organizers address adequately the issues spirit raised by the Searchlight’s editorial, and the articles by Renwick Rose and Dr. Adrian Fraser. This is the moment many of us have been waiting for. Let us allpool or combine our best intentions, thoughts, resources and actions to see to it that this initiative is successful.

Again, I will say briefly that the goal of this Homecoming initiative is to productively build on the relations that exist so far between SVG and its Diaspora, aiming to accelerate the development of SVG.