September 19, 2019
NEWS RELEASE -OFFICIAL VISIT TO INDIA OF DR. THE HON. RALPH E. GONSALVES, PRIME MINISTER OF SVG AND HIS DELEGATION- MRS CHERYL RODRIGUEZ REPRESENTATIVE OF THE SVG INDIAN HERITAGE FOUNDATION- SEPTEMBER 5TH 2019 TO SEPTEMBER 13TH 2019
Mr. Junior Bacchus, President of the SVG Indian Heritage Foundation, and all Executive members express profound appreciation and thanks to Dr. the Hon. Ralph E. Gonsalves Prime Minister of SVG for including a representative from the Foundation in his delegation on his official visit to India from September 5th 2019 to September 13th 2019. Special thanks to the Government and people of India for hosting our Prime Minister and his delegation. Our sincerest gratitude to His Excellency Mahendra Singh Kanyal Ambassador in Surinam for facilitating the travel of Mrs Rodriguez by sending his Consular Officer Mr Niraj Kumar to SVG on Wednesday September 4th 2019 to issue the visa for our representative’s travel to India and for the support we receive from his office in every area.
Mrs. Cheryl Rodriguez, Treasurer of the Foundation, was nominated by the Executive to represent the Foundation. Mrs. Rodriguez left the State on Thursday September 5th 2019 and returned on Friday September 13th 2019.
During her visit to India, Mrs. Rodriguez was part of the Honourable Prime Minister’s delegation and she attended all official functions.
Composition of delegation:
- the Honourable Ralph E. Gonsalves, Prime Minister of SVG
- Robert Browne, Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment
- E. Mr Cenio Lewis, High Commissioner of SVG to the United Kingdom
- Fitzgerald Providence, Director of Forestry SVG
- Cheryl Rodriguez, Treasurer of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Indian Heritage Foundation
- Richard Byron Cox, Liaison Officer
The official agenda was as follows:
Sunday September 8th 2019: Honourable Prime Minister Gonsalves met with more than 20 Caribbean Ministers and their delegations from 7 Caricom countries.
On Monday September 9th 2019: The SVG delegation attended the 14th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-14) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), along with more than 8,000 representatives from over 180 countries. Prime Minister Gonsalves chaired 3 Roundtable meetings on Land, Climate and Renewable Energy, and met with the Executive Secretary of the United Nations.
Tuesday September 10th 2019: The Honourable Prime Minister Gonsalves met with Indian Prime Minister Modi and presented the SVG delegation to him.
Prime Minister Gonsalves attended a series of other high level meetings later in day.
Wednesday September 11th 2019: Honourable Prime Minister Gonsalves met with India’s External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar and signed 3 agreements on behalf of the SVG Government and people. H.E Cenio Lewis, High Commissioner of SVG to the UK, signed the exemption of visa requirements for Diplomats who travel for business purposes to India. Honourable Robert Browne, Minister of Health Wellness and the Environment, signed an agreement for co-operation in Medicine, and Prime Minister Gonsalves signed the International Solar Alliance agreement. Prime Minister Gonsalves reported that there were 3 other agreements: co-operation in Health and Medicine, Green Fund and the possibility of establishing an Embassy in India. The signing ceremonies were followed by a working lunch hosted by the India’s External Affairs Minister.
Thursday September 12th 2019: Prime Minister Gonsalves, H.E. Cenio Lewis and Mrs. Cheryl Rodriguez departed India.
The visit to India was an official one, and all members of the SVG were present at all official functions.
In Mrs. Rodriguez’ report to the SVG Indian Heritage Foundation on her return to SVG, she said:
“All functions were well arranged. We were treated with respect and dignity wherever we went. Our Prime Minister represented us and our nation with distinction and praised the work of the SVG Indian Heritage Foundation, presenting me as the representative with pride.
“All persons whom we met were impressed that there was a functioning Indian Heritage Foundation in SVG.”
“The highlight of the visit was when we were presented to Prime Minister Modi … a warm, friendly, humble, stylish, and fashion conscious gentleman, dressed so simply, yet one of the world’s greatest leaders.”
For me, it was an emotional and spiritual experience… We were treated with dignity and respect wherever we went.”
Mrs. Rodriguez also held discussions with H.E Mr. Cenio Lewis, SVG High Commissioner in the UK, who said he was happy there was an outstanding, functioning Indian Foundation in SVG.
“He was impressed by the work of the Foundation, Mrs. Rodriguez reported. “He would like to see all Indians in SVG unite and actively participate in the events put on by the Foundation. He will be meeting with the Indian communities in the U.K. to solicit assistance for the Foundation and for research and teaching of the Hindi language. He is planning a visit to SVG later this year.”
“Overall, this visit was a miracle for me; an impressive, successful one, which has enhanced the image of the SVG Indian Heritage Foundation and the Indian community,” Mrs. Rodriguez said. “It has helped to bring awareness of our existence and our work. We have been able to forge linkages with India, Motherland and home of our ancestors. In time, there will be opportunities for us to learn more about our heritage and culture. As a result of that trip, several influential persons are available to us now to help us with our programmes.”
Special thanks to Dr Richard Byron Cox a knowledgeable, professional, friendly, helpful, expert in several areas; a Vincentian doing outstanding work in the International field. ”
The SVG Indian Heritage Foundation is pleased that their representative was able to meet with the Head of the country Prime Minister Modi, was introduced to officials in various Ministries, and spoke to persons connected to many Diasporas. Our Foundation and the Indian community received exposure at the highest level. We look forward to any further announcements by Prime Minister Gonsalves that would benefit the Foundation and to any assistance and guidance he might offer us.
SVG Indian Heritage Foundation to join the world in celebrating 5th International Day of Yoga
Kingstown, St Vincent and the Grenadines, June 17th 2019– International Day of Yoga will this year be celebrated internationally on June 21st. The day was first celebrated on June 21st 2015 and is now formally recognized by the United Nations. It gives participants an opportunity to learn simple yoga practices which can be incorporated into a daily routine leading to healthy and wholesome life. Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice which originated in India and has been made a priority by the Indian Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi since the declaration of the day in 2015.
The SVG Indian Heritage Foundation under the auspices of the Indian Embassy in Paramaribo, Suriname and the Government of India will join the international community in celebrating Yoga Day on Sunday June 23rd 2019. The celebration will take the form of a Yoga session at the Cruise Ship Terminal in Kingstown beginning at 8AM with an introduction to Yoga followed by the main session led by a professional Yoga instructor. There will also be brief remarks from President of the SVG Indian Heritage Foundation.
The Executive and members of the SVG Indian Heritage Foundation extend an invitation to all Yoga enthusiasts and Vincentians in general to the Cruise Ship Terminal this Sunday as we celebrate international Yoga Day. The event is free and a limited number of Yoga Day T-Shirts will be available for participants on a first come first serve basis on the morning of the event and light refreshments will also be provided for those taking part.
SVG Indian Heritage Foundation to host activities to commemorate Indian Arrival Day 2019
Kingstown, St. Vincent, May 18 2019 – The SVG Indian Heritage Foundation is this year commemorating the 158th anniversary of the arrival of the first Indian indentured laborers to the shores of St Vincent and the Grenadines with a series of events . Indian Arrival Day, declared by an act of parliament in 2007 and has been celebrated each year since then with a series of events to mark the occasion.
This year, the foundation will begin their celebrations on June 1st with a church service at the Calder Seventh Day Adventist Church, this service will be attended by the executive, members and other well-wishers. The highlight of the celebrations will however be on June 2nd when two major events will take place.
On the morning of June 2nd at 8:30AM, a boat will leave Blue Lagoon and sail into Indian Bay for a re-enactment of the arrival of the first Indians to SVG.Upon arrival at Indian Bay, those onboard will disembark, line up ,“registered” and presented with a certificate bearing their name. Before the end of the proceedings, brief remarks will come from the president of the foundation, Junior Bacchus.
In the afternoon, the celebrations will culminate with a family afternoon at Rawacou where the main attraction will be a visiting group of twenty-six dancers from Suriname. During the ceremony, addresses will come from the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition with the featured address by historian Dr. Adrian Fraser. During the ceremony, the foundation will officially launch its website svgihf.org ,which will serve as a communication hub for the organization locally and in the diaspora. The celebrations will conclude with the honoring of several Indo-Vincentians who have made significant contributions to the development of St Vincent and the Grenadines in various fields. Indian food will also be on sale for those who wish to have a taste of authentic Indian cuisine.
The Executive of the SVG Indian Heritage Foundation extend a warm invitation to Vincentians from all walks of life to these events as we commemorate the 158th anniversary of the arrival of the first Indian indentured workers to St Vincent and the Grenadines and how they have contributed to the building of this nation over the last century and a half.