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Martha’s Vineyard, SVG strengthen relationship

Martha’s Vineyard, SVG strengthen relationship

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The partnership between St Vincent and the Grenadines and Martha’s Vineyard was deepened last weekend when a five-member delegation of Vincentians visited Martha’s Vineyard.

The delegation, representing the diaspora arm of the St Vincent and the Grenadines – Martha’s Vineyard {{more}}Sister Island Council was led by consul general Selmon Walters, and included Stefferny Boyce-Herbert, Camille English-Darling, Sherrill-Ann Mason-Haywood, and Steve Henry.

The group visited several historic sites, were hosted to a dinner in their honour and presented their ideas for deepening the partnership at a community meeting.

The meeting was attended by several of Martha’s Vineyard residents representing major government, business, education and cultural organizations. A display of Vincentian tourism material and local SVG products were on display at the library and Vincentian sorrel, mauby and goodies were sampled by persons in attendance at the meeting. The delegation also collected 100 boxes of books, a gift to the SVG Public Library Services, and fire-fighting gear for the SVG Fire Services.

During the meeting, held at the West Tisbury Public Library, a message from Prime Minister Dr Ralph E Gonsalves was read by consul general Walters. Presentations followed from the diaspora delegation on proposals for school-based initiatives, including an E-Pen-pal project for secondary school students; shared social studies school curriculum for primary school students; disaster preparedness for children; sourcing nurses from SVG, and seasonal domestic workers from the diaspora; collaboration on tourism marketing; possibilities of direct flights into the Argyle international airport and an SVG Cultural Arts Festival on Martha Vineyard in 2016.

Walters also announced that a collection of books on Vincentian culture and books written by Vincentian authors will be donated to the Tisbury Public Library.

Other persons involved with the Vincentian side of the partnership are Vaughn Toney, Celia Ross-Latham and Ruby Woods, who were missing from the diaspora delegation and representatives in SVG including Earl Paynter, Joseph Burns Bonadie, a representative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the chief librarian.

The Sister Island Project is a tripartite collaboration consisting of persons from Martha’s Vineyard, the Vincentian diaspora in North America, and Vincentians in St Vincent and the Grenadines. The idea of the partnership was first proposed by Anita Botti, who once served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Calliaqua during the 1960s, with support from several other Martha’s Vineyard residents with connections to Bequia and its world famous tourism products, including yatching.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between both islands was signed in September 2014 by SVG Ambassador to the USA LaCelia Prince, on behalf of the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines and the Dukes County manager Martina Thornton, on behalf of the Government of Dukes County, Massachusetts.

The MOU seeks “the desired goal of deepening a relationship and friendship by agreeing to explore, promote, and support exchanges and cooperative activities between the citizens of both islands.”

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