As Vincentians in the Diaspora begin celebrating their 38th year of political independence from Great Britain, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ambassador to the United Nations, I. Rhonda King, remembers “just a few” of the country’s “recent blessings,” urging her compatriots to join her in giving thanks in the process.
In addressing an Ecumenical Service of Thanksgiving on Sunday — at The Church of St. Mark’s Episcopal in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, organized by the umbrella Vincentian group in the United States, Council of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Organizations, U.S.A., Inc., (COSAGO) — King said that, in a few days, Oct. 27, the nation will actually celebrate its 38th independence anniversary.
She said, while “it is often man’s practice to focus on what is wrong, to lament what he lacks, to brood over the distance he has yet to go,” the Holy Scriptures, however, “tell us in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
The envoy listed the opening of the country’s first international airport, the Argyle International Airport (AIA), on Feb.14, atop “just a few” of the multi-island state’s “recent blessings.”
She described AIA as “a beautiful, state of the art facility, arguably, now the most beautiful in the Caribbean.
“I went home for the summer this year, I left JFK (John F. Kennedy International in New York) at 7:30 am, and I was in St. Vincent and the Grenadines before 3 pm on that the same day,” King said. “Let us give thanks for AIA, for the vision and tenacity of our Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves and his government.
“Let us give thanks for the rapidly increasing speed of accessibility to our shores; let us give thanks for the new possibilities this accessibility will bring,” she added. “Infrastructure and accessibility are critical components in our quest for more sustainable development. They are not optional; indeed, they are imperatives.”
King also asked that thanks be given the Zero Hunger Trust Fund, “established by our government with full bipartisan support some time ago, but it continues to be lauded by the international community – in particular by the FAO (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization) as visionary and a superb example of public-private partnership worth of emulation.”
She said this is just one example of the Gonsalves government’s efforts to eradicate hunger and fight poverty in the country, urging that thanks be given for the projects already underway, through this initiative, in the schools and communities in rural mainland St. Vincent, for instance in North Windward, “ensuring that children don’t go to school hungry and parents can develop skills to assist them to better care for their families.”
In addition, the ambassador urged that thanks be given to, among other things, the “Education Revolution” in the country and “the excellent Common Entrance, CXC and CAPE examination results this year.”
She told worshippers that, earlier this year, a resolution, titled “World Creativity and Innovation Day,” was successfully tabled by the Permanent Mission of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the United Nations and adopted by the UN Generally Assembly.
King said the resolution calls for the international recognition of April 21 as the day to highlight the role of creativity and innovation in problem solving and, by extension, the implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals “and, ultimately, achieving the future we want.”
“Let us give thanks that this resolution received widespread support from Member States of the United Nations, with more than 88 countries joining St. Vincent and the Grenadines as co-sponsors of the resolution,” she said. “Let us give thanks, as our foreign policy endeavors, to underscore and draw attention and support for the importance of nurturing creativity and innovation in our quest to build resilient infrastructure, and promote inclusive and sustainable industry in the creation of decent work.”
King said the nation must be praised for its ability to open its doors to hundreds of displaced students from hurricane-ravaged Dominica.
“Let us give thanks that we are able to assist our sister island in their time of need,” she said. “Let us remember that their plight could so easily have been ours.”
King said while Hurricanes Irma, Harvey, Jose and Maria may be over, the devastating impact of their path continues.
She disclosed that St. Vincent and the Grenadines, in its capacity as a vice president and member of the Bureau of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC), is assisting in organizing a special meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 24.
King said the goal is to bring this issue to the attention of the Council and to the wider UN Membership “to enhance coordination in response, recovery, rehabilitation, reconstruction and development efforts.
“We will re-examine the financial architecture of the Bretton Woods Institutions, which does not fully appreciate the real vulnerability of the Small Island Developing States and which we must navigate to seek assistance in the aftermath of these devastating natural disasters,” she said, revealing that Vincentian-born Dr. Douglas Slater will represent the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat in delivering a special address to the Assembly Tuesday morning.
Vincentians in the United States actually began celebrating their 38th anniversary of independence Saturday night, when the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Association of Massachusetts, Inc., held its Independence Dinner/Dance at the Irish Social Club in Boston.
On Sunday, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Nationals Association of Washington, D.C., Inc. (SVGNADC) held its Annual Independence Church Service at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C.
COSAGO’s Independence Cultural/Social Evening takes place on Friday, Oct. 27, Independence Day, at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center in Brooklyn.
SVGNADC Annual Independence Dinner and Dance takes place the next day at Martin’s Crosswinds, Greenbelt, Maryland.
Independence celebrations continue in the US with COSAGO’s Independence Luncheon, on Sun., Oct. 29, at Grand Prospect Hall in Brooklyn. During that event, community worker Ancilla Friday, and sports writer and soccer coach Patrick Horne will be honored.
Independence activities culminate on Saturday, Nov. 4, with St. Vincent and the Grenadines Organization of Pennsylvania’s (SVGOP) Annual Independence Dinner and Dance at Penn’s Landing Caterers in Philadelphia.