Newsletter for August 2021
Checking in with Sir James
"I am prepared to be ignorant and ask somebody, please tell me the alternative. Criticism is easy, but answers to problems are not that easy. And answers to problems can’t come from emotion. Problems need to be answered by reason and fact."
Sir James Mitchell
by Glen Herbert
In many ways, Sir James Mitchell has seen it all. He served as the second and longest serving Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, seeing first hand the transition to independence. He founded the New Democratic Party (NDP), and remained its president until 2000. In all, he's served his country in an official capacity for 35 years. He remains vocal, and in the eyes of many is a component of the country's conscience.

I reached him at the Frangipani with the intention of getting his thoughts on the current state of affairs. He didn't mince words. How are things going? "Terrible." This even before the protests of last week. The reason, he feels, is because so many fail to see what the country is facing, or to recognize what is truly at stake. "We are critically dependent on tourism, and there isn’t a proper understanding about the importance of our tourism. ... The wealth being generated by tourism has no easy replacement." 

To refuse vaccination, or for the government to fail to promote it effectively, he feels puts the economy at risk in ways the people of the country have yet to appreciate. "You know that the virus is there. And the mere fact that you are not vaccinated is that you are taking a position for yourself, knowing that the vaccine is there. So you’re taking an anti-vaccine position. What suggestions do you have for the path out of this pandemic? What is your answer to get rid of this pandemic? Do you think that you will escape forever?"

For our full conversation, see:
Delivering food, providing care
by Solana Gooding
To date GI has been able to deliver a total of 300 food vouchers this year to families throughout the island of Bequia, with another 100 vouchers scheduled to be delivered for the month of August 2021. The most recent deliveries include folks that struggle not only financially but their biggest fight is with mental health. There is recently a lot of attention surrounding mental health issues in the tabloids, whether it is the top tennis players Naomi Osaka or the world greatest recognized gymnast Simone Biles, but we dare not forget our very own fighters of this disease right here in our little island, our very own local island celebrities some may be labelled as. 

Many who are familiar with these persons, know that they add to what are the memorable characters of Bequia, that need not be forgotten, as we can somehow often forget how fine the line is that can lead a person to deal with mental challenges, and how various traumas in the past have affected them greatly.These same persons often depend on members of the community to help them with their basis needs, and during the pandemic when the greater community are financial strain, favours become limited.

With the help of funds donated to GI, and the nurses from the Port Elizabeth and Paget Farm Clinic, who helped in identifying our recipients, we can happily say that a total of 10 food boxes were packed and delivered to persons through out the island of Bequia, dealing with mental health issues, and these person will continue to be on the radar for the on going emergency food security program, in efforts to help against the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Thank you to all followers and donors of GI for making this indeed a valiant effort for the community of Bequia. To contribute to the program, click here.
“Some of the most comforting words in the universe are ‘me too.’ That moment when you find out that your struggle is also someone else’s struggle, that you’re not alone, and that
others have been down the same road.”
– Unknown
Scholarships are awarded each year to offset the cost of students travelling between Bequia and St Vincent each day to attend school. Applications can picked up at the Learning Center in Port Elizabeth, or you can find it by clicking here. Please email me glen.herbert@grenadinesinitiative.org with any questions or to learn more about this program.

The deadline for application is August 20.
Moashella Shortte is an early childhood educator who grew up in Lower Bay and who now makes her home in Montreal with her husband. (We profiled her work in May of last year.) She co-founded Learning 4 Young Minds, a company that builds learning programs and resources. Here she has an in-depth conversation with our great friend and director of teaching at the Learning Centre, Tylisha Miller. They talk about life, learning, and the great work being done at The Learning Center.

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