Prime Minister Tillman Thomas has urged Grenadians in the Diaspora to utilise every avenue to help Grenada overcome its development challenges, while improving and increasing the role they play in the country’s socio-economic development.
“It is my firm belief that Grenadians, at home and abroad, have the capacity to overcome our development challenges”, he told the Diaspora Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony held at the Spice Basket last week Thursday night.
The Prime Minister stressed that, “Our development challenge should no longer be solely a matter for aid donors or foreign investors”.
He welcomed the success of the Grenadian Homecoming 2012 initiative which encouraged Grenadian nationals to return to their homeland “to reminisce on our early years but also to enhance our engagement in the years to come.”
“History will mark the significance of this day,” the Prime Minister told the audience.
PM Thomas pointed out that his government’s decision to institutionalise and structure the engagement with the Diaspora came after many years of discussions and debate by previous governments about the contributions of the Diaspora to nation building.
He said the “ultimate goal” is the provision of a mechanism, through which Grenadians at home and in the Diaspora, can maintain a dialogue on areas of need, desire and interest.
Additionally, Prime Minister Thomas stated that the new framework provides the homeland with access to the pool of expertise and talents available in the Diaspora.
“What is required at this time … is a purposeful coming together of Grenadians everywhere, to shape a new Grenada. We must not be daunted. When we pull together, we multiply our potential, expand our skills and expertise and we broaden the pool of resources,” he commented, adding, “our partnership therefore, should represent real opportunities.”
Prime Minister Thomas paid tribute to the many Grenadians, at home and abroad, who contributed to the development of the country, including the most recent exploits of Kirani James, the World and Olympic Champion over 400 metres, whose historic gold medal performance “cannot be quantified in mere money terms.”
“We cannot help but admire this 19 year old, who has consistently spoken of his commitment to the people of Grenada and the motivation he feels from their support for him. Indeed this is a unique period in our history that we must cherish for years to come,” he said.
The formalization process began in 2010 with the Diaspora preparatory conference which was followed one year later with the Diaspora Founding Conference and culminated with the inaugural Grenadian Homecoming 2012.