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VIncy Homecomers meet in NY

VIncy Homecomers meet in NY


The first in a series of Vincy Homecoming conferences to be held in North America and the United Kingdom was held in Brooklyn, New York, on Saturday, May 9, 2009, at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center, Inc. {{more}}

The Vincentian Diaspora Homecoming Conference 2009 (USA) saw Vincentians travelling from Washington D.C., Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey to attend the conference. Together with their compatriots living in New York, they discussed issues impacting on relations between SVG and Vincentians living abroad, and they made recommendations that could significantly enhance relations between SVG and its Diaspora.

The Conference was facilitated by Maxwell Haywood, the General Secretary of the Vincy Homecoming Planning Committee of New York. The participants heard remarks from Verna Arthur, Chairperson Cultural Symposium, Committee/Vincy Homecoming Planning Committee; Cosmus Cozier, Consul General of St. Vincent & the Grenadines to New York; La Celia Prince, Ambassador to the US/OAS; Ellsworth John, Director, Regional Integration and Diaspora Unit; and Vaughan Toney, President and CEO, Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center, Inc.

Dr. Joyce Toney, Professor at Hunter College, City University of New York , delivered a succinct and informative keynote address entitled “Ties With Home: Vincentians in America and Their Continuing Links to St. Vincent and the Grenadines”. A lively panel discussion followed, which addressed the theme: “Review of Relations (experiences) Between SVG and its Diaspora”. The panelists represented Vincentian organizations and independent voices in the Vincentian communities in Washington D.C., Masachusetts, Pennsylvania and New York. They included: Frankie George, Trustee – Club St. Vincent, Inc.; Amelia Edwards, Founding President, and Current Vice President, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Association of Massachusetts Inc.; O’Brien Simmons, President – Caribbean-American Renal Failure Relief Fund Steering Committee – Bequia United Progressive Organization (BUPO) ; Hudson Primus, Member, Washington DC Vincy Homecoming Committee, James Cordice, President of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Organization of Pennsylvania ; Luzette King, Independent, and Milton Harry, Independent.

The panel discussion was followed by three workshops which addressed the social, economic/business, and governance aspects of relations between SVG and Vincentians living abroad. The workshops discussed and made recommendations to the draft St. Vincent and the Grenadines USA Diaspora Framework for Action, which is, the main outcome document of the conference. Each workshop was led by co-moderators and one rapporteur. They included: Social workshop: Lee Roy “Chico” Ellis, Kenley John, and Samuel Gordon; Economic/Business workshop: Stacia Morris, and Curlina Edwards; Governance workshop: Sherrill-Ann Mason, Philmore Sprott, and Dawn France. The Conference ended with an inspiring speech by Felix Miranda – who is a Garifuna and Member of SVG Cultural Symposium Committee of New York/ Vincy Homecoming Planning Committee. He told participants of the conference: “This great piece of work that we are embarking on, to shape our future with many hands, has come at a time when our Motherland [SVG] desperately needs its children, its loyal sons and daughters …. let us leave this place [the conference center] with a different mindset; with a different vision and with a different shift of paradigm and let us focus always on the needs of our Motherland first; let us hear its loud cry and let us hasten to answer its clarion call of ‘As one people in many lands, we shape our future with these many hands’.

The vote of Thanks was delivered by Cyril N. Thomas, Deputy Consul General.