By Elma Gabriel-Mayers

We are at the end of our 50th year of the survival of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Association of Toronto (SVGAT), acknowledged and celebrated our accomplishments based on the association’s relevant standard to date.

In the past week, I have met and chat with many members, patrons and associates within our community; some who said that they expected to have seen me at the Gala and that I was missed, that there was a table with my name — Elma Gabriel, (like that of all other past presidents).

Well, to be honest, I thought of attending but then for me, being in attendance is to pretend that all is well going through the motion of an evening of imaginary importance, of flaunting, listening to speeches of accomplishments which has done very little for a community, where the visible involvements of our young people and the onward future of our SVGAT groups remain in bewilderment, where very little effort has been made to document its history of the past years, much less to have secured a worthwhile or reasonable “fund balance” within its building fund account; that which was established since in the 60’s, the early days of our trailblazers. An account that was revived on a few occasions under the leadership of some forward-thinking, honest community-minded and progressive presidents and executives.

Taking in consideration past prospects, the reliance on our Toronto Vincentian community of the last 50 years, I personally believe that we have deceived out SVG Canadian future generation, future immigrants, our children, their Children’s children of a promising history which was tailored for us by our forerunners fifty years ago. Those who with pride pursued opportunities and carried a touch aligned with policies, creativity and ambitious suppositions. Channelled through the ethics they were taught by parents derive of our SVG roots.

Just a few days ago, a priest at the funeral of one of our late SVG leader ask; “can anyone tell me what a legacy is”? And as we listened, he provided his terminology. That as long as there is life there is a legacy and what is important is how it is lived, the contributions you have made during life’s dash.

Well as individuals, we are at liberty even in today days, to live by a standard, one that we have set; that which will be the ‘legacy’ behind our name, that which aids us within our conscience, that Christian conscience which we as ‘A people’ have subscribed too and live by. That Christian integrity to which we will one day if not already ponder on.

Yes, 50 years! So let’s ask ourselves why SVG Toronto organisation having held the historical height of “being the second eldest Caribbean registered community association in the City of Toronto” has not acquired at least their/our own building? To note that the leadership of 2009/2010 in less than two years was able to revive and doubled the amount of the building fund in excess of $22,000 with an annual extra operation fund of $7,000. Unfortunately still, due to the lack of transparency, and poor accountability; the dwindling of funds within the subsequent five years are still the uphill endeavours of today.

It is true that being amongst one’s people should be the delight of our hearts and truly no exception to my credence. So; to those of you who missed my being at the SVG Toronto’s 50th anniversary and 40th SVG Independence Gala, I do appreciate your interest and patronage as I hope for success stories in future SVGAT’s financial standing commentary.

In life, we have to make choices and so my activism spirit does not accede to a falsity of make-belief, especially to the disappointment of our SVGAT trailblazers and our future generations; combine with the pursuit to the real meaning of ‘independence’.   Nonetheless, prosperity and economic growth are evident after a recession, so that being the case; our 50-year-old organisation with a patriotic starboard at its helms; maintaining a focus of governance with good intentions, embracing integrity to that of a core passion leading up to the next 50 years. There is yet the chance and hope of our trailblazers’ dream for our future Canadian Vincentian heritage.

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to news.iwitness@gmail.com.

13 replies on “SVGAT’s 50 years of serving”

  1. Face the facts ELMA! They were dunce and poor when they departed SVG for Canada and they have remained the same in Canada ELMA, that is one of the reason for the continued stagnation. Very much the same when they return to SVG years later!

  2. Clement Wyllie says:

    You are a mind reader. You read my mind. I attended one meeting of that outfit back in the early eighteens when I moved to Toronto from Ottawa. I expected big city Toronto Vincy people to be doing better than small town Vincy people. What a disappointed. I never went back. Bunch of jokers.

  3. The editorial by the writer which respect to the achievements of the Svgat in Toronto is true to the bone. I was there when the $22,000 was appropriated for the purposes of a building fund. As stated a further $7,000 was set aside for the same purpose . Today, the funds were all taken out of the Building fund for no good reason.

    The leadership cannot give good reasons as to why the GIC’s in which the funds were invested were redeemed and become part of the operating fund to meet current expenditures. This was not only a lack of financial management but short sightedness in the part of the leadership at that time.

    I often asked the question as to, whether or not if the funds were the leaders personal funds if they would have exercised the same kind of financial stewardship over the financial affairs of the Association? I believe the answer is no.

    I vividly remembered that one fund raising event which was a banquet, which in the past was a money looser netted a profit of over $5,000 because the proper protocols and controls were put in place to to prevent a reoccurence of the past. In my opinion, the Svgat has always been a wounded animal, not completely dead but just limping around.

    The Svgat needs a savior or otherwise I predict it will end up in the same manner as the other animals who have become extinct. I have seen signs of it in the making, for example there is a lack of renewal. Young people are not coming on board.The membership has dwindled dramatically. The association is becoming less relevant as each day passes by. All in all the truth must be told.

  4. Rawlston Pompey says:

    SERIOUS INDICTMENTS

    Fifty years seemed a darn long time to see through the ‘…Vincentia diasporic organization.’

    Though these may not necessarily represents full facts, the contents not only speak to some very ‘…Serious Indictments,’ but also an apparent ‘…grossly mismanaged organization.’

    We shall still be warned ‘…Judge not’ [KJV: John 7: 24].

    In short, and at least through the mouth of a former member, it frighteningly speaks to, among other things;

    (i) Lack of Integrity in organizational life;

    (ii) …Lack of accountability for organizational funds, particularly how they may have been expended; and

    (iii) …Lack of transparency as ‘…funds dwindled’ or miraculously whittled away.’

    1. You indicated –‘a former member’. The constitution of SVGAT does not constitute any previously registered member ‘a Former member’, so as long as you become a member, you are a member for life. However, to vote on matters and at the annual general meeting you must be a financial member by paying an annual due of $20.00.
      Nonetheless, you may be onto something as it is now my understanding that amendments were made to the original constitution to illuminate the category of membership, to only consider one membership condition, making none dues members extinct. Which would mean that the over 500 members of SVGAT has depleted to approximated 30 including a board of 5 persons.
      I stand to be corrected re the current constitutional requirements on membership category.

    2. You indicated –‘a former member’. The constitution of SVGAT does not constitute any previously registered member ‘a Former member’, so as long as you become a member, you are a member for life. however, to vote on matters and at the annual meeting you must be a financial member by paying an annual due of $20.00.
      Nonetheless, you may be onto something as it is now my understanding that amendments were made to the original constitution to abolish the category of membership by only considering one membership condition, making none dues members extinct. Which would mean that the over 500 members of SVGAT has been depleted to approximated 30 including a board of 5 persons.
      I stand to be corrected re the current constitutional requirements re membership category.

  5. Their biggest downfall and disappointment to everyone decent, is their failure to condemn the behaviour of Ralph Gonsalves over the years.

    1. Rawlston Pompey says:

      NO WAY JOSE

      Would not be able to shake off or shape ‘JG’s’ thinking.

      He is still a ‘JOLLY Green’ fellow.

  6. The biggest downfall and disappointment to everyone there JOLLY, is that they came from the very communities that they left at home and have never changed! And ELMA if you ever have cause to return home to SVG you would immediately recognise the symptoms. Poor business skills other than that of street trading https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1Yba1-ijh4 because our politicians liked it that way!

    To have rented for such a long time is just profoundly very foolish. There is an old saying noted by landlords that says, I WILL BUY IT AND LET THE TENANT PAY FOR IT! They really ought to have obtained a mortgage they would now be enjoying the 50 years increase in asset value.

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