To The Editor:
The year 2012 was a good one for the St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) Diaspora Committee of New York, Inc. It embarked on a number of initiatives that have profound meaning for the development of Vincentians at home and abroad.
The main activities included: a round-table consultation on Vincentian youth in the diaspora, a town hall meeting on the NYPD abuse of Amb. Camillo Gonsalves, a round-table consultation on sports, the SVG Diaspora and Development Conference in New York on Oct. 6, a roundtable consultation on the SVG National Cultural Policy on Nov. 18 and International Migrants Day and Vincentian Diaspora Week of Activities, Dec. 18-23, and election of an executive committee.
These activities distinguish the Diaspora Committee within the context of SVG’s diaspora relations. The work of the Diaspora Committee is a good complement to the good activities of the other diaspora organizations and the SVG government. The committee focuses exclusively on SVG’s development policies and the role of the diaspora in their formation, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation; institutional linkages between the diaspora and SVG; needs assessments in SVG and the diaspora; consultative processes to get the full participation of the diaspora; awareness-raising; and capacity building. The central aims are to integrate the Vincentian diaspora into the real development processes of SVG and their host countries and to facilitate the full integration of the Vincentian diaspora into the societies to which they emigrate. This focus and these aims will be deepened in 2013 and beyond.
Plans for 2013
In 2013, the Diaspora Committee will continue to implement its focus and aims. It will consolidate the outcomes of the roundtable consultations and SVG Diaspora and Development Conference held in 2012. In that connection, more initiatives have been planned.
The committee will continue to prepare and advocate for a diaspora data base, the adoption of the National Diaspora Policy, investment incentives directed at the diaspora; acquisition of a Vincentian Center in Brooklyn, and the formation and development of a Vincentian Diaspora Business Association in the United States. In addition, the committee will monitor the formation and implementation of the National Cultural Policy. It will also monitor and assist sports development in SVG and in the Vincentian diaspora in the United States. Furthermore, the committee will follow up the outcomes of the SVG Diaspora and Development Conference held in 2012.
When necessary or relevant, the Diaspora Committee will prepare and distribute press releases, statements and policy papers on important issues affecting the diaspora and SVG.
Specifically, the Diaspora Committee will implement a number of initiatives in 2013, as follows: A meeting to carry forward outcomes of Round Table on sports held in 2012; diaspora leadership development sessions; round table discussion on: Participation of Caribbean Diaspora Communities In The Political Processes Of The USA – Benefits, Opportunities, Challenges, and Strategies; a community forum on disaster and emergency preparedness and response; round table consultation on: “Strengthening Diaspora Affairs: The Role of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs)”; Independenceforum on: “Benefits, Opportunities, Challenges, Strategies for Building National Unity Around National Development Policies and Projects in SVG”; Roundtable on Culture to carry forward outcomes of the roundtable on culture held in 2012; and International Migrants Day and Diaspora Week of Activities. Of course there will be more initiatives, but these are just a few that will unfold in 2013.
During the year 2012, the Diaspora Committee’s work was facilitated by many organizations and persons. The Diaspora Committee will like to sincerely thank the following organizations and persons: Vincentians living in SVG and New York, Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center Inc. in Brooklyn especially Mr. Vaughan Toney it’s chief executive officer; Council of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Organization U.S.A; Garifuna Coalition, USA, Inc.; the government of SVG and its consulate office in New York; development institutions in SVG such as Invest SVG, Bank of SVG, Non State Actors, LOVINSVG, and the Red Cross; the media – The Vincentian and Searchlight newspapers, NBC, WE FM, NICE Radio, STAR FM, API, SVG TV, journalists such as: Nelson King, Gloria Williams, Cecil Ryan and Toni Johnson; LIME, AI Real Estate, churches: Kingdom Life Ministries, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Kingstown Seventh Day Adventist Church and Kingstown Methodist Church.