Just over two years after the need for it was conceived, the St Vincent & the Grenadines Business and Professional Association of Canada (SVG BPA), was officially launched in Toronto on June 9.
In January 2010, Steve Phillips, the consul general of St Vincent and the Grenadines, issued a call to members of the Vincentian community in Toronto to participate in a planning committee.
The SVG BPA will cater to the needs of its members, market their expertise and services, mentor the youth and create a mechanism for effective networking.
The organisation will also address the lacunae, “the apparent loss of the spirit of patriotism among our people generally, a weakened sense of community and a failure to transmit the legacy of a distinct Vincentian culture to many young professionals and business people of Vincentian heritage.
There were attempts to launch the organisation in December 2010 and May 2011 but the organisers had to change plans to focus on relief efforts to aid those affected by Hurricane Thomas in October 2010 and the flashfloods of April 2011 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“The association’s mandate is to build, promote and cultivate a stronger, more empowered united community, and support a network of businesses, professionals and entrepreneurs in our Canadian community, the Caribbean Diaspora and the global marketplace,” said Tony Browne, president of the organisation, in his greetings.
He said the Caribbean Diaspora forms an integral part of Canadian society which enriches Ontario and Canada on many levels.
Keynote speaker, Philip Leong, vice president and director of RBC Dominion Securities and Canada’s representative to the APEC Business Advisory Council, said the new organisation will represent an important voice to all levels of government.
He encouraged the group to seek out the business opportunities that exists between Canada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and other Caribbean communities.