Toronto Chapter of Grenada Association Celebrates with Independence Gala, Awards

The content originally appeared on: The Barnacle News

By Lincoln DePradine

101 year old Hilda James was awarded

As far as many can be remembered, Hilda James has never missed the gala that’s held annually in Toronto to commemorate the anniversary of independence of Grenada, which includes the Grenadine islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

The gala was cancelled during the lockdown forced by the COVID-19 global pandemic. It returned last Saturday, as part of Grenada’s 49th celebration of independence.

The organizers, from the Grenada Association (Toronto), presented three awards. Unison Joseph and Paul George were recognized for their community service.

James, cousin of former consul general in Toronto, Derrick James, was recognized with the presentation of a plaque. She’s 101 years old.

“We all have a role to play in creating a better future for Grenada,’’ Grenada government minister, Kerryne James, said in the keynote address Saturday.

James, 24, is a former senator, who was elected to the House of Representatives on a National Democratic Congress (NDC) ticket in national polls last June.

She’s MP for the Parish of St John and in appointing his cabinet, newly elected Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell named James as his minister of climate resilience, environment and renewable energy.

Grenada attained independence from Britain on February 7, 1974. “As Grenadians, we have much to be proud of,’’ said James, the first government minister to make an official visit to Canada since the NDC’s 2022 election victory.

From left: Liberal MP Michael Coteau; Grenada’s Consul General Dawne Francois; Minister Kerryne James; Ray Williams, and Sandra Pierre, Grenada Association President

She urged Grenadians at the gala to consider what roles they could play in “shaping the future of our nation’’, and how they could “work together across borders and distances to build a stronger, more prosperous Grenada’’.

James appealed for a “spirit of collaboration and partnership’’ among Grenadian nationals, and also implored them to “recommit’’ themselves to the “principles of freedom, justice and equality’’.

“Let us remember that our independence is not just about having the freedom to govern ourselves. But, it also represents the culmination of years of struggle and sacrifice,’’ James said.

“Our forefathers and mothers fought tirelessly to break free from the chains of colonialism, and today we reap the benefits of their tireless efforts. Our responsibility is to continue working hand in hand with the government and our fellow Grenadians to build a better future for our nation.’’