Vincentians in Winnipeg celebrate 39th anniversary of Independence
Vincentians in Canada were the host to Senator and Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Senator Carlos James for the 39th Independence celebrations and the 42nd anniversary of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Association of Winnipeg Inc. (SVGAW).
SVGAW is one of many Caribbean organizations in Winnipeg which serves the Vincentian diaspora community.
Organizers of the Independence events, the St Vincent and the Grenadines Association of Winnipeg Inc. said the events were a success in commemorating another year of SVG’s historic milestone.
The Independence celebration began on Sunday, October 21 with a church service at the Truth and Life Worship Centre in Winnipeg, a church pastored by Vincentians Calvert and Sylvonne Layne. The exhortation was done by their daughter Chenene Layne on the topic “Working Together to Enhance National Pride” and prayers were said by Pastor Randolph Chewitt.
The SVGAW held a town hall meeting on Friday, October 26 which was facilitated by Senator Carlos James. The senator spoke on several topics ranging from the economy, education and scholarship opportunities, sports, natural disasters/climate change, crime, tourism and the Argyle International Airport.
Members of the diaspora in Winnipeg were challenged by the senator to invest in their country, not only by way of sending remittances but also to invest in the implementation of ideas for economic development of island. He emphasized the need for tangible investment in the agriculture sector and to ensure the diaspora community continues to play a vital role in transforming the public sector which is needed to enhance efficiency and effectiveness within the civil service.
President Arlene Green of the SVGAW in her address at a dinner held on Saturday, October 27 made mention of several projects in St Vincent being funded by the association to support school feeding programs, Special Olympics, SVG athletes going to the World Games in 2019 and a football youth team in the rural area. In a few weeks, members of the association will distribute monies to support the projects indicated.
Green thanked all Vincentians in the Winnipeg diaspora who continue to support the association in the area of fundraising which helps to make donations to projects in SVG a reality. She also thanked members of the executive: vice-president Charles Henry, secretary/treasurer DeCris Providence, PRO Margaret Lewis-John, chair of Women’s Committee Angella Cupid, outreach coordinator John Jack and immediate past president Dennis Cupid for their hard work and dedication to the Vincentian community.
The highlight of the Independence celebration was the featured address delivered by Senator Carlos James to Vincentians and other Caribbean nationals at the dinner and dance. The senator highlighted the reasons why we need to celebrate our Independence despite our smallness and vulnerabilities due to colonialism, globalization and continued challenges to our economy and opportunities for advancement.
He emphasized “that amidst the colonial, socio-economic and political challenges, Vincentians are a resilient people by nature, beginning from paramount chief Joseph Chatoyer and that as a people; we have come far despite our many obstacles”.
Senator James used the opportunity to appeal to all Caribbean people in the diaspora to invest in their country and to continue to be a pillar in their development. The Independence celebration concluded with the attendees dancing to the sweet songs of Vincy music, played by Desiree Richard known as DJ Des and ably assisted by her husband Chris Richard.