The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
In his keynote address at the Grenada Association of Toronto’s (GAT) annual dinner and awards ceremony last Saturday night to mark the Caribbean island’s 41st independence anniversary, Senator Peter David reminded leaders of Grenadian organizations in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) that more can be achieved when organizations and people unite and work together for a common cause.
Grenada achieved independence on February 7, 1974.
“We are fully aware that there are many organizations in the Greater Toronto Area that seek to promote Grenada, mobilize the community, empower our people here and provide for our families and friends at home,” David, who attended university in Ottawa, said in the keynote address. “These organizations all have noble intentions and all have contributed greatly to the Grenadian community here and at home. But I want to suggest that more could possibly be done and be achieved if we find a way to work together.
“Too often, we operate as if each of us is in a world by ourselves or as if our interests run counter to the interests of the other group when that is not the case. Collaboration does not diminish our influence. It consolidates it. The work that we are doing is not about ourselves. It is not about personalities. It is not about political affiliation. It’s about country. We can all agree that we will have differences and that we will have personal biases, but when it comes to homeland, we should be willing to set aside those and put our country first.
“From what I have seen in Toronto, there is too much separation although the various groups continue to claim they are working for the development of Grenada. You cannot claim to do so if your personal biases are standing in the way of development or if your message is running counter to that which we are trying to do at home.”
A graduate of Carleton University and Essex University in England, David suggested that leaders of Grenadian organizations convene a summit as early as this spring to find common ground to work together.
The former St. George Member of Parliament also proposed that an independent person with experience and skills in organization and capacity building should be the summit moderator.
“That person can be from anywhere, with a history of success and the skill set to be able to bring people together,” said David, who is a lawyer. “I am of the firm view that all these important groups here must refocus on what they were formed to do and that is provide service. That is the only way you can truly be working for the development of Grenada. What you are doing now needs to be re-examined.”
Expelled from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) party five months after resigning as Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation & Culture in April 2012, David joined the governing New National Party (NNP) last year.
“I have found my work with the NNP so far to be quite rewarding,” he said. “All of my political life has been centred on pulling Grenada together. I believe we have too much tribalism in our politics. I am not calling on everyone to join the NNP. All I am asking is for people to join together to build Grenada. I am quite proud to be associated with the NNP and I am walking with that party to build Grenada. I am ‘Exhibit A’ when it comes to the new Grenadian concept of inclusion and unity.”
David congratulated community award recipients, Davis Joseph and Dr. Sheridan Cyrus and acknowledged the myriad contributions nationals are making to their birth country.
“We are appreciative of your service and we are all incredibly proud of your achievements,” he told the award winners.
A member of Cricket Canada’s 2014 inaugural Hall of Fame class, Joseph played for his adopted country 19 years before retiring in 2003.
A useful lower order batsman and exceptional fielder who played with Overseas of the Toronto & District Cricket Association league before joining Victoria Park which he captained in 1986, Joseph rates his dismissal of Sachin Tendulkar – who is considered one of the greatest batsmen of the modern generation – as the highlight of his sparkling career. He bowled Tendulkar for two runs in the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Malaysia.
Prior to migrating to Canada in 1982, the married father of two children represented the Windward Islands in the 1981 and 1982 West Indies youth tournaments.
“I have received several awards but this one stands out because it’s from a Grenada association,” said Joseph, who represented Canada at the 2003 World Cup. “This is a proud moment for me and my family.”
Cyrus, who migrated from Grenada in 1983, obtained his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Dalhousie University where a scholarship is awarded annually in his name. He came to Toronto in 1989 and established a practice in the Malvern community 24 years ago.
The chair of the Malvern Family Resource Centre’s board of directors, Cyrus supports many local community initiatives.