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Integrating Diaspora in National Development

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by Lincoln DePradine

Senior officials in the Grenada Ministry of Foreign Affairs want nationals in the Diaspora, dubbed the country’s 16th constituency, to participate in an ongoing initiative that will conclude with parliamentary passage of a Grenada Diaspora Engagement Policy.

Among the components of the initiative are the conducting of a “skills gap analysis” and the completing of a Diaspora Mapping Project which involves using an online survey tool to collect information about the socio-economic profile of Grenadians in the Diaspora.

“I want to urge everyone in the Diaspora to get online and engage in that survey,” Hon. Peter David, Grenada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, appealed on Tuesday.

David was speaking at the official launch of the website for the Grenadian Diaspora For Development (GD4D) project.

The two-year project is funded in the amount of US$200,000 from the International Development Fund and administered through the Guyana-based regional coordinating office of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), a UN member-agency.

The mapping project is an avenue “to establish a hub to connect the Diaspora online,” said Trisha Mitchell-Darius, the IOM’s Project Officer for Grenada.

“The online communication portal is www.grenadiandiaspora.gd. Please tell your family and friends out in the Diaspora,” she urged. “It’s open and available for all Grenadians globally.” The survey also is accessible at http://www.grenadiandiaspora.gd/survey/

Permanent Secretary in the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Alva Browne, underscoring the importance of the mapping project, said that “without the mapping exercise, we would not be able to achieve much.”

The IOM-administered GD4D initiative began in February with Minister David and other members of the project team visiting London, England, and Washington, USA. The next Diaspora outreach meeting, with David scheduled to be the keynote speaker, is Saturday, 16 November in Toronto, Canada.

“This project seeks to engage the Grenadian Diaspora globally. The project will facilitate a collection of data on skills, resources and the return interest and plans of those willing to support the development of Grenada, through organisations and institutions here in Grenada. The information collected through the project will help to guide government policies aimed at engaging the Diaspora,” Mitchell-Darius said Tuesday.

Apart from the mapping component, a consultant soon is to be hired she said, “to assist us in gathering information regarding current and future skills gaps in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.”

Another key activity planned is a workshop, with banks and companies such as Western Union and MoneyGram, to discuss ways of reducing the cost of sending remittances to Grenada and on how remittances can be structured for national development.

“The talents and skills within the Diaspora are wide and varied,” said Browne. “It is our firm view, though, that if we engage in an organised and strategic manner, we can harness those skills and resources in national development.”

According to Minister David, “the Diaspora is not just a group of people out there who sometimes we rely on just to send this and send that for us. They should be engaged as a part of our development process.”

He added that the Grenada Diaspora is “our 16th constituency and must be treated as our 16th constituency, in that they must be integrated into national development.”

No reason exists, said the minister, why Grenadians abroad “cannot invest in hotels, individually or as a group. They can get involved in health. We have excellent health practitioners in the Diaspora.”

He emphasised that, “all areas of investment are open to persons in the Diaspora”, reiterating that he wants “all Grenadians – in the Diaspora, in Grenada – to become involved in the project.”

As far as the online survey is concerned, Mitchell-Darius said the highlights will include job, volunteer and investment opportunities. “Please take the survey so that Grenada knows how to connect with you when any of these opportunities arise,” Mitchell-Darius said.

She referred to it as a chance to “allow Grenada to be able to connect” with its overseas nationals “on a holistic level. As well, in terms of the draft Grenada Diaspora Engagement Policy, it is downloadable on the website www.grenadiandiaspora.gd. Please, take the opportunity to review that,” she said.

“If you have feedback, we’re accepting submissions until 31 December and/or if you are in a city near where the project team will be visiting, please come on out.”

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Caribbean & World

National Youth Parliament moves into a higher gear

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Preparations are moving into high gear, as Grenada prepares to join the rest of the Commonwealth, in recognising Commonwealth Day 2020.

It will coincide with an expo and the hosting of the first sitting of the National Youth Parliament 2020.

The sitting scheduled for 9 March, follows the hosting of parish-based sittings, in 2019. According to Project Officer for the National Youth Parliament Programme, Deslyn Williams, preparations began two weeks ago. “Training is ongoing every Tuesday and Thursday, at the Youth Development Centre, most of them have the experience because they were selected from the Parish Parliament, so far everything is going really great.”

Youth Parliamentarians will make presentations based on the resolution: “BE IT RESOLVED, That the National Youth Parliament of Grenada endorses the Non-Biodegradable Waste Control Act 2018 as an effective means of regulating the use of such products; thereby reducing impact of the inevitable disposal of single-use plastics, Styrofoam, and other non-biodegradable products.”

Training Facilitator, Aleshia Allert, said the training will cover a number of areas. “What we really focused on is getting them ready for presentation, so topics such as public speaking, presentations that would persuade, looking at resolutions through the eyes of ministers of government and facilitating strong debates, all of that comprise of what we did so far.”

The parliamentarians-in-training said they are 80% ready for the Monday, 9 March National Youth Parliament sitting.

Participant Elon James said, “Preparations are going great, I have already started noting some key points. My logics and statistics, I am putting together. I am just waiting on my portfolio to put the final pieces together.”

Grenada joined the Commonwealth in 1974. Observed by the 53-member states of the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth Day is a celebration that is held on the second Monday of March every year.

Its purpose is to recognise the work of Commonwealth members and to promote understanding and cooperation on global issues.

Ministry of Youth

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Interruption in services at St David’s Health Centre on Thursday

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The Ministry of Health (MOH) informs residents of St David that services at the St David’s Health Centre at Belle Vue, will be interrupted from midday tomorrow, Thursday, 27 February 2020.

This is to facilitate an important assessment and to rectify electrical fittings and supplies to the facility, as well as to ensure the safety of staff and patients.

The assessment will also determine the proper functioning of the equipment at the facility.

Clients are therefore encouraged to utilise the services as early as possible.

The MOH Community Health Services sincerely apologises for any inconveniences this may cause.

GIS

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Grenada on importation transmission watch

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The outbreak of COVID-19 has now spread to various countries. At this point, there are NO COVID-19 cases in Grenada.

However, in view of the current situation, Grenadian health authorities are expanding their surveillance to cover a wider area of travel to affected areas.

This means that the island is on what is referred to as Importation Transmission Watch (ITW). These include assessing exposure to risks, monitoring events in the region, and providing pre-travel training. Pre-trip risk assessment, education and preparation can markedly reduce the likelihood of an incident disrupting normal everyday life, trade and travel. One person while on a holiday/leisure or business trip can result in risk of transmission by virtue of contact importation.

Apart from mainland China, these include the following countries and cities: Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Italy. Health authorities are also advising people to avoid non-essential travel to these areas, and are reminding those who choose to do so that on their return, they can be quarantined for a maximum of 14 days.

The Ministry of Health advises people who develop a fever, cough or shortness of breath within 14 days of visiting the above-listed countries, to contact their family doctor and the health authorities on 440-2649 during regular working hours (i.e., 8 am to 4 pm), 417-1079, or 417-2562 after regular working hours, weekends and holidays.

These travellers are advised to refrain from visiting health centres or the casualty department in the first instance.

The general public is reminded to take the necessary precautions for the prevention of respiratory infections:

  • CLEAN: Clean hands often by washing with soap and water or using alcohol hand rub.
  • CONTAIN: Contain germs by staying at home if unwell; do not go to work or school until your health condition is improved. Do not visit patients in hospital if you are sick.
  • COVER: Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze and not into to your bare hands.
  • BIN: Used tissues immediately. DO NOT leave used tissue laying around as it can lead to contamination.
  • DO NOT sneeze or cough into your hands as you may contaminate objects and people that you touch.

GIS

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