As you are fully aware, Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique will be celebrating its 41st anniversary of political independence from Britain on February 7, 2015. Birthdays are times to reflect on life lived, paths traveled, and upcoming opportunities to take advantage of. As it is for the individual, the same is true for a nation. Big Drum Nation (BDN) is joining the festivities as we celebrate our nation’s accomplishments, appreciate our shared ideals, and assess our potential.
We are seeking the contributions of writers, artists, poets, photographers, our leaders, and everyone with a voice and view to share. The theme of this BDN issue is “Moving Forward in Unity to Build a Stronger Nation”.
Over the past decade, we have been constantly re-imagining the BDN brand so that we can fully realize our potential as a repository of our tri-island arts, culture, and letters.
As we dedicate our latest issue to Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique’s 41st anniversary of independence, are seeking fresh voices and new visions. We rest assured that voices, stories and perspectives like yours are necessary if we are to indeed remain united as a people and fulfill the ideas of our ancestors.
In these regards, we are seeking your contribution. We would like you to respond to the following set of questions:
a) Hon. Derrick James you were recently appointed Ambassador for Humanitarian Affairs and the Diaspora. Congratulations! How does your function/role contribute to the theme of Grenada’s 41st independence celebrations?
Ans: The theme calls for unity and the efforts to bring all nationals of the tri- island to rally under one flag is critical for our survival. Our entire program for the celebration is structures to do such
b) The most common definition of the term‘Diaspora’ is a scattering of a people. Do you agree with this definition? Or, what is your government’s concept of diaspora?
Ans: That definition we agree with and it one we have used over the years with some success.
c) Why does the government want to organize the Diaspora?
Ans: No longer can we ignore the significant of the contribution made by our diaspora. There are much more Grenadians living outside Grenada than on the island with huge economic, political and skilled potential.
d) Is there any reflection of the diaspora in current constitutional reform debate?
e) Grenada certainly has one of the world’s highest ratio of diaspora per home population. Psalm 137 is essentially a lament about Diaspora people utilizing culture in order to maintain unity in ‘foreign’, “…how can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?”What role do you see culture playing in the mission of the diaspora desk and in forging national unity?
Ans: Culture plays it’s part even as we celebrate the 41st anniversary most of the activities are around culture. It is also use for the promotion of our nation and the connection between the diaspora and home
f) There have been some apprehensions in how home based Grenadians and those abroad perceive each other. What are some of the ways in which your organization can help Grenadians at home and those abroad re-imagine the relationship between each other?
Ans: Education is most important and we need to have much more cultural and sporting exchange when we visit each other.
We need to embrace each other just as to do to foreigners
g) Israel, Italy, India, Ireland, China are some of the countries that are noted internationally to have benefited greatly from integrating their huge diaspora. Are there any lessons or best practices that Grenada has considered from these experiences?
Ans: Yes, structures and engagement
h) Do you have significant time lines, deadlines, goals that have been set for the goals of the diaspora initiative?
Ans: We are in the process of developing a five year plan