Celebrating St. Vincent and the Grenadines


happy-independence.jpg

We, the Vincentian students here in Taiwan, celebrated our nation’s 28th anniversary of independence with a dinner on October 28 – one day after the event.

We started celebrating our independence collectively last year with a cultural presentation and food exhibition and sampling. However, because of logistical considerations, we thought it better not to have a public event this year but to invite friends to toast our nation with us.


The Vincentians gathered at the dinner in Taipei represented several of the ethnic groups that make up our population at home, all co-existing in peace and love. We are at one and the same time descendant of all and descendant of none.

Vincentians are a very resilient, pioneering people. Here in Taiwan, I see it in the students who have taken up the task to study in this Asian nation, mastering one of the toughest languages for native English speakers to learn and giving our nation an advantage in the new global reality.

I see it in Peggy Carr who decided to reach beyond the boundaries of our nation, the Caribbean, North America ˇV the West- and is now an editor at a leading newspaper here.

calvert-and-wife.jpg

In Calbert Latham, who has demonstrated in a practical way, that love knows no bound and is married to a Taiwanese and raising his family in Taiwan.

And while we celebrated here, our prime minister, Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves, had earlier reminded Vincentians at home and abroad that we had made much progress but still had a very long way to go.

The attainment of our sovereign nationhood on October 27, 1979 brought to a formal end a British colonialism in St. Vincent and the Grenadines which lasted for 216 years, from 1763 to 1979.

Dr. Gonsalves described the encounter between Europeans, ‘lost on their way to the Indies’ and the peaceful peoples of SVG as having ‘ushered in 500 years of European colonialism, neo-colonialism, and imperialism awash with racism and the crudest, most exploitative form of capitalism.’

This year is the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the Atlantic Slave Trade. St. Vincent and the Grenadines, through its Prime Minister, has been in the forefront of “demanding appropriate recompense from Europe to the Caribbean nations which host the descendants of those whose peoples suffered through genocide, slavery and indentureship.

“We accept an apology as being sincere if it is a sign of inward grace which reflects accompanying outward, practical reparation. It surely is an historic wrong which must be righted, appropriately,”Dr Gonsalves said in his independence address. He however noted that notwithstanding these terrible experiences the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines:

  • have emerged as a good-natured people who have fashioned a core of tried and tested values of real quality;
  • have built a productive, homogenous society of tolerance and caring;
  • have stood askance against oppression and material poverty;
  • have triumphed over immense adversities to uplift our conscience, consciousness and spirit;
  • have twinned the demands of justice with forgiveness: and,
  • have established a beacon of liberal, social democracy to the enduring credit of the Vincentian component of our Caribbean civilisation.
  • have emerged as a good-natured people who have fashioned a core of tried and tested values of real quality;
  • have built a productive, homogenous society of tolerance and caring;
  • have stood askance against oppression and material poverty;
  • have triumphed over immense adversities to uplift our conscience, consciousness and spirit;
  • have twinned the demands of justice with forgiveness: and,
  • have established a beacon of liberal, social democracy to the enduring credit of the Vincentian component of our Caribbean civilisation
gordon.jpg

Gordon Shallow is proud to show that he is from St. Vincent and the Grenadines

He further said that during this year, 2007, our nation has made considerable progress despite huge challenges.

And, whereas the Peoples of the nation of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – who are known as Vincentians – have affirmed that the Nation is founded on the belief in the supremacy of God and the freedom and dignity of man; I Kenton Chance join Dr Gonsalves in thanking God for the many blessings He has bestowed upon us. And will endeavour to continue to show Him that we are deserving of His Love and bounty.

Long live SVG, the home of the blessed!!!

Photos by or courtesy Jamali Jack. See Jamali’s slide show here.

Advertisements
Posted in SVG

2 thoughts on “Celebrating St. Vincent and the Grenadines

  1. Some people accuse me of not smiling to often but you got me for a while.Thanks .Just to let you know most of my Vincy info comes from you. I read your stuff all the time hope they are accurate.Ha!

  2. Good going Kenton. Good to read your perceptions of life in Taiwan and your observations of SVG from this side.
    I note with particular interest your frequent use of the word “tolerance” and cannot help but wonder how far Vincentians as a people have come in that regard. In my view, it is one of the major weaknesses in our society and one that has resulted in much pain and lack of progress. I note with sadness the sharp divide that exists between people who support different political parties; I hear the totally uninformed comments related to people who adhere to religions other than Christianity; I read in the newspapers the comments that play on and encourage ignorance on the topic of sexual orientation; I observe that while we generally live in live harmony as culture of mixed races, we seem to have little understanding of people of other races and cultures and tend to measure them solely against our own standards and experience — an experience that we cannot yet grasp is very limited within a global context.
    It is my sincere hope that those of us who now have the opportunity to broaden our horizons will open our minds and try understand that tolerance for and acceptance of a different way of life, or different choices, does not necessarily mean surrending one’s own values.
    This is perhaps the most valuable gift we can take back to our country.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s