St.Vincent and the Grenadines independence anniversary

Vincentians in New York are preparing to mark their homelands’s 31st anniversary of indpendence by participating in a series of events organized by the Brooklyn-based Council of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Organizations, U.S.A., Inc. (COSAGO) and the New York Consulate General.

The events, which began on Oct. 16 with a Talent and Culture Show at Wingate High School in Brooklyn, culminate on Oct. 31 with the gala Independence Luncheon at Tropical Paradise Ballroom on Utica Ave., Brooklyn.

Two outstanding nationals Arnold Charles, a certified public accountant and former COSAGO president, and James Cordice, president of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Organization of Pennsylvania (SVGOP) will be honored at the gala.

Cultural figure Ainsley Primus and radio personality Hailes Castello were honoured during the Talent and Culture Show.

An Ecumenical Service of Thanksgiving was held on Oct. 24 at St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church on Decatur Street in Brooklyn.

Cordice, whose members are expected to trek to Brooklyn in a strong show of support during his honour ceremony, said nationals in Pennsylvania also began celebrating with their compatriots in Boston on Oct. 16.

He told Caribbean Life that SVGOP held a church service in Philadelphia the next day, and will celebrate with nationals in Washington on Oct. 30. The group will hold its gala Independence Ball on Nov. 6.

Laverne McDowald-Thompson, COSAGO president, said she felt a “sense of pride and patriotism being among Vincentians, who have been contributing to the development of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

In her independence message, U.S. Ambassador La Celia Prince said that the Ralph Gonsalves-led administration has “sought to lay a framework that would allow the next generation of Vincentians to take up the mantle of nation-building and assert themselves in our quest for sustainable progress and development.”

U.N. Ambassador Camillo Gonsalves said the young and small nation, “with all the blessings and challenges that come with limited size and population,” possesses “proud and industrious people,” who have “seized the mantle of independence and have charted a clear path of progress, development and the ennoblement of our Caribbean civilization.”

“As we reflect on our nation’s storied past of heroes, struggles and triumphs, and contemplate the challenges and opportunities of the future, we must continue to envisage a role for organizations to partner in our journey of independence,” he said.

Acting Consul General Cyril Thomas said that as a small, developing state, St. Vincent and the Grenadines has made “gigantic strides, across the board, in upward social and economic mobility, from 1979 to the present.”

He said the government has “positively and significantly overcome every challenge from every stratum of the Vincentian society.”

It is remarkable, he added, “that such national feats were accomplished while faced with climate change, unfair trading practices, transnational criminal activities, the global economic recession, food and petroleum crises, and a continuous rise in the unemployment realm.”