CaribWorldNews, WASHINGTON, D.C., Fri. Nov. 6, 2009: Nationals of St. Vincent and the Grenadines gathered recently at the Hall of the Americas in Washington, D.C., to celebrate their annual independence anniversary.
The 30th Anniversary of the Independence of St. Vincent and the Grenadines was marked with a gala event at the ornate Hall of the Organization of American States headquarters on Saturday 31st October 2009.
The annual independence dinner/dance was presented under the distinguished patronage of the Ambassador of SVG to the U.S., La Celia Prince and was organized by the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Nationals Association (SVGNA) of Washington, DC.
The event attracted nationals and well- wishers from neighboring states, and as far away as South Florida and marked the culmination of celebrations – which began on Sunday 25th with a Thanksgiving Service at the Church of the Holy Comforter in Washington, DC.
The Embassy of SVG hosted a reception at OAS headquarters on Tuesday 27th, Independence Day.
The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Wendell Samuel, a native of SVG. Dr. Samuel is Senior Economist and Mission Chief in the Caribbean 1 Division of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Western Hemisphere Department. Dr. Samuel spoke about, `recent economic developments in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) countries, and the prospects for the year ahead.`
The eminent Caribbean economist stated that the 30th anniversary of SVG`s independence is turning out to be the worst year of the post independence, post colonial era for OECS countries, with the global economy going through the worst recession in 60 years, the collapse of the Trinidad based CL Financial Group spilling over to the OECS, and SVG in particular, thereby threatening to wipe out 1 billion dollars in savings in the sub-region. Looking to the future, Dr. Samuel said that 2010 would be another year of belt-tightening, and emphasized the enhanced role of remittances in this scenario.
The highlight of the evening`s formal proceedings was the presentation of awards to five (5) distinguished Vincentian nationals for their outstanding contributions in the professions, diplomacy, and the development of the Vincentian community at home and abroad. They were Betty Eileen King, recently been nominated, by President Barack Obama, as US Representative to the Office of the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva;
Kingsley C.A. Layne, for his many-faceted contributions to SVG; Distinguished international public servant; Dr. Baldwin King, for his contribution to science; Clemon M. Dopwell, for his consistent contributions in sports, culture and community activities; and Dr. Roy L. Austin, a teacher, sportsman, and Carnival bandleader in SVG before emigrating to the US in 1964 to study sociology at Yale University, where he was a classmate of the future president George W. Bush.