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Prime Minister's address to opening ceremony of the Diaspora Founding Conference

Feature Address by Prime Minister, Hon. Tillman Thomas to the Founding Conference of the Grenada Diaspora, August 2, 2011

The Grenadian identity in the twenty-first century transcends beyond the possession of a passport or an identification card. To claim that one is Grenadian extends beyond a sense of belonging, as important as that is.  

Indeed, being Grenadian is a measure of our enduring affection for our homeland; a reflection of our determination and resilience as a dignified people; a demonstration of a keen sense of community and a proud inheritance of strong values and a rich heritage.

We are indeed a proud Nation.  The Grenadian ethos is not one of a drifting soul or an orphan spirit. We are a people of vision, strength and character; we are a maroon community of industry, production and sharing. Most importantly, we are a Nation founded upon principles that acknowledge the supremacy of god and man’s duties towards his fellow man.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Meeting here this morning at the commencement of this Founding Conference of the Grenadian Diaspora is quite symbolic. Today, succeeding generations of Grenadian sons and daughters know and love their homeland. Grenada has in many respects become greater than its geographic boundaries. Much has changed physically and socially, but much has remained intact, especially the kinship bonds and the good old-fashioned Grenadian way of life.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Grenadian Nation of 2011 is a powerful legacy, crafted and constructed by patriotic hands; by a people economically disadvantaged but rich in spirit, by a people challenged by daunting circumstances but full of character. The Nation therefore owes a debt of gratitude to the early generations of Grenadians, who left these shores, but who carried with them a joy, a pride; a resilience and an ambition that is uniquely Grenadian.

Today, after many years of non-formal relationships, we are here determined to fashion a Grenada of the future.  It is a responsibility we are called to shoulder. While several modern vehicles are available to assist in the process, partnering to build our Nation must be deeply rooted in the traditional Grenadian spirit in order to underpin its longevity…. and to assure its success.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

What is now needed is purposeful coming together of all Grenadians, everywhere, to shape, mould and fashion a new Grenada. When all our people come together, physically, culturally, mentally and spiritually, we multiply our potential exponentially. We qualitatively expand our bank of skills and expertise.  We deepen and diversify our education and knowledge base, and we broaden the catchment pool of investment resources. All of these attributes and assets will help to position our Nation for a great harvest of improved welfare and long term development.

Our partnering therefore represents real opportunities that we are obliged to give to ourselves. Our development challenge is no longer a matter for aid donors, foreign investors or international money lenders. We Grenadians, at home and abroad, must come to the table now.

God has truly blessed our nation and with that blessing which began with the seeds of migration many decades ago, we are now poised…. and able to deploy a new and exciting menu of Grenadian resources for the building of a more prosperous Grenada.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the work of this Conference must be to define and establish the pillars of the Nation we must build. The Conference must determine the relationships and arrangements that would be crucial for executing the tasks at hand. It is our duty to play our part in shaping the preferred constitutional arrangements of our Nation.

 We have a great opportunity to define and agree who is entitled to be Grenadian.
 It is for us to structure the institutional framework for the conduct of business between the homeland and the Diaspora. It is for us to devise the communications strategies for elaborating the mechanisms for ensuring that the Diaspora becomes integral to the Nation and to nation-building.

The terms of engagement cannot be shaped by any one group.
 While Government must provide political leadership, it is for all responsible groups, parties and stakeholders to establish themselves as “coalitions of leaders” and to reach consensus on the way forward, beginning with a set of practical and urgent development issues.

We need our youth to be prepared to receive the development baton and to take it to new frontiers. We need “Spiritual Grenada” to guide all our efforts because unless the Lord builds the house we labour in vain. We need civil society to help keep our democracy vibrant, and our heritage preserved and protected. We need “Sporting Grenada” to fly the flag of our Nation worldwide and we need “Artistic Grenada” to tell the story and to chronicle through music, art and literature our progress as a Nation.

In all of these areas, the mission is to engage and mobilize the “Full Grenadian Nation”, at home and abroad, to make a difference.  All our efforts must be aimed at establishing an enterprise of hope and development with the Grenadian Diaspora.
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I welcome every one of you to this Conference.  I give you and this Conference my fullest commitment and support. Let us together fashion far-reaching arrangements and strategies for the building of our Nation.
May God bless our Nation.

Thank you.


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