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SVG Unity Picnic – cultivating a spirit of national unity!


by Elma Gabriel

In an informal conversation at our 20th Annual Vincy Unity Picnic at Brown’s Bay on July 15, 2006, members of the various associations saw the picnic as a mere opportunity to get together. However, sponsors saw it as more than a business opportunity, but an example of national unity.

“I find it hard to fathom how can 11,000 people get up in the morning, cook their food, pack drinks and travel more than three hours to hang out and walk up and down a park. No need for entertainment, there is nothing to buy, just greetings, hugging, laughing and not to forget the fashion. You all have something to be proud of because there is no way other nationals would do this; you should consider yourselves a unique bunch.”{{more}}

Well sisters and brothers, we must first congratulate our Montreal sister Association for being the innovator of what has become the largest and only National Caribbean Picnic in the North American diaspora, now named the SVG Unity Picnic. It comprises Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto SVG Associations.

As a member of a small group of Montreal Vincentians who traveled by means of a rented school bus in July 1972 to Brown’s Bay, this makes me feel somewhat responsible to write this as an endorsement of the continuity of a historical milestone, and the journey of our Vincentian immigrants to North America.

This picnic, during its first years, enabled those of us who were financially -disadvantaged students, domestics, factory workers and officers, the opportunity to enjoy a day, which is similar to the cottage luxury of the North American rich and famous, and parallel to our Easter Monday custom of family beach picnics in SVG.

It is about meeting, greeting, sharing and seeing those we have not seen for in a long time. It is also about the love of people, the freedom we enjoy, and the opportunity to be as one and speak the same language with the same accent.

It’s a day when our leaders, souvenir agents and Money Transfer sponsors get the opportunity to spoil us with give a-ways, words of appreciation and encouragement in continuing to nurture the spirit of national unity.