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Vincy homecoming: – What is it?

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Maxwell Haywood 12.DEC.08

Vincy Homecoming is the general name given to the process that will celebrate and build on the positive achievements and relationships between St. Vincent and the Grenadines and its sons and daughters who live abroad or in the Diaspora. To achieve this, the Homecoming process includes two sets of activities.{{more}} In the Diaspora, conferences will be organized. In addition, in SVG, community activities will be organized in villages and towns to welcome home Vincentians in the diaspora, with the intention of creating the right conditions for a more productive relationship between Vincentians at home and abroad. Both sets of efforts will serve as catalysts to release the full potential for meaningful partnerships.

The theme of the Homecoming is “Many People in Many Lands, We shape our Nation with Many Hands”. This theme really captures well what the Homecoming is all about. This theme indicates that Vincy Homecoming promises to be inclusive of all political, social and economic formations in the nation and the Diaspora.

Let me first address the Diaspora conferences. In order to enhance relations between Vincentians at home and abroad, the Diaspora conferences will seek to create new directions, strategies, initiatives and build on old ones. They will lay the foundations for creating a strategic framework in which to deepen Diaspora relations. This kind of new Diaspora framework will consist of a range of action-oriented ideas.

These conferences will seek to gather the views of Vincentians living abroad regarding how best to improve the Vincentian Diaspora’s contribution to their country’s development in the following areas: Social development, Economic development, Disaster preparedness, Political development, and the Media. There will also be discussions on the role of the Regional Integration and Diaspora Unit (RIDU), and a review of best practices in terms of projects and initiatives of the Diaspora which have been providing assistance to SVG. This will lead to a Diaspora Framework for Enhancing Relations Between SVG and Its Diaspora. The conferences willprovide inputs to the national Diaspora conference to be held in October 2009 in SVG.

Let me now turn to the community dimension of the Vincy Homecoming, which is as important as the conference process. As noted before, this aspect will serve to welcome home Vincentians and create at the local level a process of productive linkages between SVG and its Diaspora.

This community dimension holds great potential for village and town development throughout the country. Importantly, it could become the pillar to effectively operationalised some of the ideas that will emerge from the Diaspora conferences. Emphasis will be placed on linking villages and projects with Vincentians in the Diaspora. If seriously done, this focus could help to build capacity of villages and towns to create, manage, and sustain community development strategies, projects and initiatives.

There are already many Vincentian social and business organizations in the Diaspora. In the major Diaspora locations, there are Governmental offices which have been established to promote the interests of SVG. Furthermore, many highly skilled, educated, and professionally experienced Vincentians are living abroad. What must also not be forgotten are the second, third and fourth generations of Vincentians who were born of Vincentian parents and those who are grand and great grand children of Vincentians. For many decades, these institutions or organizations and individuals have been providing assistance to SVG in numerous ways. SVG’s Diaspora represents a major resource for national development processes.

Both the Diaspora conferences and the community activities of the Vincy Homecoming are the beginning of a permanent process to systematically and consciously integrate the resources of the Vincentian Diaspora into the national development process. While much has been achieved, up to this moment in our history, the connections between SVG and its Diaspora have been too sporadic, unstructured, disorganized, and often times chaotic. The Vincy Homecoming promises to correct these weaknesses and establish a more conducive environment for a conscious permanent Homecoming process. It is hoped that this would also be a permanent process in which strategies, initiatives, and projects emerging from the conferences will be implemented, monitored and evaluated. “Many People in Many Lands we shape our Nation with Many Hands”. This is really the essence of Vincy Homecoming.

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