The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, through its Regional Integration and Diaspora Unit (RIDU), has launched the country’s Diaspora Mapping Project in the United States.
The project – launched at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center in Brooklyn, is being implemented in partnership with the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration (IOM).
“Let me count it a privilege to address you, members of the Vincentian Diaspora in New York,” said Maxwell Charles, a former government minister in the administration of Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, now serving as RIDU Deputy Director. The former director, Ellsworth John, has been assigned as the country’s ambassador to Cuba.
Charles, who was accompanied by RIDU administrative assistant Renitta Peters, said RIDU was “delighted at this great idea,” which was launched simultaneously with 40th anniversary of Vincy Mas 2017 here.
“The Diaspora, perhaps, on whose shoulders the success of this Mapping Project lies, will play an integral part in its success,” he said, adding that, over the years, the country has “witnessed a migration pattern among our citizens – one that is directed towards the US, Canada, the UK [United Kingdom] and the Caribbean.
“The result is a Diaspora that is becoming more and more diversified in a changing world,” he told the audience that comprised nationals of all walks of life. “We have among us today valuable resources in the form of human capital that is yet to be fully utilized. The Diaspora is playing, and can even play, a greater role in the development of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”
Charles said the aim of the Diaspora Mapping Project is to obtain a skill set of Vincentians living in the Diaspora and to match them with the needs that exist within the nation.
The RIDU deputy said the project is as important to St. Vincent and the Grenadines as it is to nationals living abroad.
He said it gives the country an idea of the skills and experience that are available in the Diaspora, and “can aid in filling gaps, where there is lack.”