Antiguans & Barbudans have a lot to be proud of as the twin islands celebrate their 29th independence anniversary, new Consul General Janil Greenaway told nationals at the Antigua & Barbuda Association of Toronto (ABA) annual gala last Saturday night.
“Our citizens have made great strides not just at home but also in Canada and wherever we are,” she said in her first official address to nationals since replacing Madeline Blackman last summer as the islands’ top diplomat in the city. “We have done so in spite of our smallness which many saw as a handicap when we were growing up. Back then, some of us thought we could only pursue certain careers or our aspirations were limited.”
Antigua & Barbuda achieved independence on November 1, 1981.
Greenaway added that each independence anniversary provides Antiguans & Barbudans with a great opportunity to reflect on their common heritage, shared values and future goals. She also acknowledged the ABAT for making youth the central theme of this year’s celebration with the theme, “One Family Celebrating Our Youth.”
“It’s a theme that reflects the importance of young people in the future of our country,” said the former Minister Counsellor at the United Nations in New York. “Here in Toronto or at home, young people are the engine of growth and prosperity…Let us individually and collectively provide support, guidance and direction to today’s youth to help them become tomorrow’s great leaders.”
Scholarships were presented to 20-year-old Trent University Psychology student Roderic Southwell who migrated to Canada five years ago and graduated from Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School in Ajax and Ontario College of Art & Design second-year student Tamu Clarke-Stevens who aspires to become a visual editor or high school teacher.
“This award means a lot because it shows that my community cares about my academic and professional development,” said Clarke-Stevens, who graduated from Dr. Norman Bethune Collegiate Institute.
Nia Meade, who was presented with the Merit award at her graduation from H.G. Bernard Public School, was the recipient of the President’s Cup. The 14-year-old Richmond Hill High School student enjoys dancing, drawing and other art-related activities. She aspires to become an architect.
Former ABAT president Carlton Abbott donated the Cup to encourage young people to pursue academic and volunteer excellence.
ABAT fundraising coordinator Paul Thomas and member Eustace Dowe were presented with the Joe Reid and Novelle Richards Memorial awards, respectively.
Reid was an ABAT vice-president and community activist while Sir Novelle was the first president of Antigua & Barbuda’s senate, his country’s first trade commissioner in Canada and the composer of the lyrics for Antigua & Barbuda’s national anthem. He died in Antigua in 1986 while serving as deputy Governor-General.