by Curlan Campbell
- Grenadians abroad encouraged to channel support through Office for Diaspora Affairs
- Diaspora would be made aware of country’s needs through master list
- $36 million to stimulate economy; over 900 applications currently being processed
Grenadians abroad are mobilising support to help their country of birth amid the Covid-19 outbreak.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell encourages members of the Diaspora to channel their support through the Office for Diaspora Affairs to ward against people using a time of crisis to raise funds for their own gain.
“There is an understanding of a system and structure for the acquisition of support at the level of the Diaspora community, so they work closely together. We want to make sure because some people have been calling and saying that people have been asking for donations, [in] some cases funds and other equipment, but we want to be careful. It has to be centralised because we don’t want any group outside there trying to use a very badly needed situation for their own personal gains,” Dr Mitchell said.
Understanding the critical role of Diaspora at this time, Dr Mitchell is grateful for the outpouring of support and assistance when Grenada’s healthcare system has been tested following the community spread of Covid-19. He engaged the Grenadian Diaspora virtually on Saturday 9 October 2021, to get their feedback, queries, and suggestions.
Director of Medical Services Dr Tyhiesia Donald explained that the Diaspora would be made aware of the country’s needs through the circulation of a list of requirements. “We have a master list, and as we receive donations, we do a log and a tally which goes through our procurement unit. They are the ones that do the distribution, so based upon the number of things we have we would cross off some of the needs off of our master list. So, the best thing for people who need to know what our needs are, is to use that same list which can be circulated to all the different organisations.”
At the government level, the Office for Diaspora Affairs has completed the Diaspora Mapping Project (GD4D), which involves using an online survey tool to collect information about the socio-economic profile of Grenadians in the Diaspora. The 2-year project is funded by US$200,000 from the International Development Fund (IDF), and administered through the Guyana-based regional coordinating office of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), a UN member-agency. The mapping project is a data collection exercise “to learn more about the socio-economic profile of the Grenadian Diaspora in North America and the Caribbean–and to begin the creation of a database of skills for knowledge transfer.”
Dr Mitchell said, “Through a collaborative effort with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), we have completed a Diaspora mapping project and a skills gap analysis to address local needs to fill gaps and strengthen existing capacities throughout the length of the breath of the country. A remittance conference was held in July 2021, and policy ideas are being analysed for submission to the cabinet.”
This initiative falls in line with the Grenada Diaspora Engagement Policy, which seeks to outline many areas of the diaspora engagement with the guiding principles of neutrality, inclusiveness, partnership, integrity, accountability, communication and sustainability. The policy will focus on 6 thematic platforms namely, Diaspora Engagement, Diaspora Investment, Remittances, Diaspora Philanthropy, Human Capital Transfers and Governance and Administration.
To curb the Covid-19 spread, Dr Mitchell has called on Grenadians abroad to assist in encouraging their fellow citizens at home to get vaccinated. “Every one of us has a responsibility; I keep saying that every one of us is a leader in that respect. The government leadership can do what it can, but we need every sector. We need the medical association to speak out more firmly on this important matter. We need the business community to speak to their workers because the pandemic is affecting businesses directly, so everyone is affected by this, not just the health workers.”
The Government last month unveiled $36 million to stimulate the nation’s economy and help poor people make ends meet amid an unprecedented global crisis. Over 900 applications are currently being processed.
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