A new group launched recently in Brooklyn is determined to uplift the image of the town of Calliaqua in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and to help residents as much as possible.
The Calliaqua United Diaspora Organization (CUDO) was formally launched two Saturdays ago amid much fanfare at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center in Brooklyn.
At that time, the group also held its first fund-raising event, with a “Back in Time” party.
“The event was well attended, and many of the individuals expressed future support for the Calliaqua United Diaspora Organization,” said Garnes Byron, a popular Vincentian community advocate in New York, who heads the new group and is one of its founders, in an exclusive Caribbean Life interview.
“Calliaqua has always been at the forefront of the thoughts of ‘Calliaquarians’ in the Diaspora; and, for years, we had unsuccessfully tried to form a group,” he added.
But Byron said the opportunity came last summer when a prominent Calliaqua native died, “and we seized the opportunity at her home-going celebration to acquire names of people to form an organization”.
In November, he said their “dreams were finally realized when 18 enthusiastic citizens of Calliaqua came together, and the Calliaqua United Diaspora Organization was formed.”
Byron said the group’s primary mission is to assist the southern most town and the surrounding community of East St. George through scholarships, health and elderly care, and cultural activities.
He said the group will also foster “community enhancements to rebuild pride, unity and community.”
“I think it’s a great opportunity and privilege to give back to Calliaqua,” Annie D. Williams, CUDO’s assistant treasurer, told Caribbean Life. “It’s our home town. We love Calliaqua.
“We’re proud Calliaquarians,” added the foundation member. “Happy to represent! We just want to bring back some love to Calliaqua and to show the people that they’ll not be forgotten.”
Rose Marie Burgin, another co-founder, said the formation of the group is long overdue.
“I think it’s a long time coming,” she said. “We’re dedicated to do our best for Calliaqua. We’re looking forward to go down and show our love to our home town.”
Besides Byron and Williams, other members of the executive are: Jocelyn Trent (vice president); Dianne Byron (treasurer); Celene Deare (secretary); David “Zakie” Jack and Franklyn “Bicky” Quashie (public relations officers); and Curtis “Willie D” Williams (chairman), a former popular local radio announcer.