by Denis Antoine, former Ambassador in the Diaspora in Washington
I have had the special privilege to listen to the fresh voices of representation of Grenada across the world on Sunday, 21 February 2021, as the advent of technology managed to connect more than 100 voices.
It was very refreshing to hear the passionate recitation of ideas expressed in “Assessing the Changing Narratives of Diaspora Engagement in the Development of Grenada”.
From my paradigm changing the narrative should mean more than merely changing how we talk about the role of the diaspora in the development of Grenada. I wondered as I listened whether tools to address the need should have been introduced in the narrative. Now when tools are mentioned here let the focus be on skills and competencies. Therefore, what tools? I got the sense that there are tools, so let us look at what we have that work, and what tasks need new tools.
The assessment of tools should not show any disregard for the efforts made to bring Grenada to where it is today; to do so will represent a continuous cycle of disrespect for continuity, which I hope the new narrative rejects. Continuity does not mean doing the same thing the same way that the front runners have done it. It means doing the same good thing better. I am impressed by the way the chocolate factory diversifies; I look forward to bathing in warm chocolate in Grenada. The new voices must remember that the road to progress has had many turns and obstacles. For Grenada, there have been protests, revolution, many storms, and hurricanes and yes worst of all, the politics of disrespect insults and vilification.
It was rather refreshing to hear the dialogue about technology, and its impact on the diaspora in the process of development. We are in an era when technology as a tool presents greater prospects; however, technology apart from applied artificial intelligence does nothing more by itself except to increase the potential for handling a task that also requires human input. I was incredibly pleased, to realise that there is so much interest among the new generation of Grenadians that are now speaking about their abilities and readiness to contribute, and the many ways they are now contributing. It seems quite clear that, that there is motivation. What comes to mind however the narrative was not focused on building on what is good about Grenada.
Going forward requires that there be a full court press, in a holistic way but organised. There must be a new infrastructure of engagement that synergises. All experts doing their thing has its place. What comes to mind as it relates to productivity, based on the nature and the size of our demographics including the Grenada diaspora; it seems like collective engagement, in thematic groups, with ministerial affiliations in the same tradition of pooling, for cooperative successes now needs more emphasis. Each diaspora thematic group can adopt a ministry, I am promoting an “adopt a ministry initiative”.
The early nutmeg and cocoa success provides some foundation. Using the value-added knowledge of young Grenadians at home and in the diaspora that seem to overflow; and technology, what seems to be required now, is the creation of demand for what we produce. The size of the local population and the diaspora may not be sufficient for sustainable profitable maintenance of the industries. The creation of demand can be enhanced by the technology-driven production and value-added commodities.
The older generations of Grenadians must be proud because, as I listened to the new narrative there are sufficient bright and ready Grenadians “all over the place”. Grenada is certain to benefit if this narrative about how Grenadians wherever they may be, can find consensus on a master plan, for us to pull in the same direction; but even if it is a tug of war then the winning side will be embraced by all. Is it possible for this chorus of voices to get on board a Government of Grenada project? Mindful that all Grenadians are striving to keep or obtain the same thing as such is the rule of a tug of war.