Our Readers' Opinions
August 24, 2007

Ontario/Vincy Picnic now a vendors’ market


Editor: Our Vincy Unity picnic has lost its cultural flavour and has become a vendors’ market, while at home in St. Vincent; Vincentians seek to preserve the cultural history of our nation. The shift in the day’s itinerary from cultural, games and family get together to park trading of articles such as comforters, costume jewels, utensils and the like, etc., has surely left us ‘association members’ and observers speechless, questioning when the Hi-Jack really took place.{{more}}

SVG local Ontario Commodity Peddlers, Vultures and Panhandlers have just realized a gold rush opportunity to become rich by soliciting picnickers at our “Unity picnic”. Long gone is that spirit which used to be a ‘Picnic Spirit’, similar to our “Easter Monday beach picnic” at home. Nevertheless, the “Unity Picnic” could still be the place to meet old friends and to celebrate family reunions hassle free, as the policies of the picnic organizers will allow you to erect a sign indicating “No Panhandlers or Solicitors at this table please”!

With an average attendance of over 14,000 Vincy patriots and friends from New York, Boston, Florida, Washington, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa congregated at the Browns Bay Park in Kingston, Ontario on July 21/07 burning meats at every possible turn on that park; dare you not to wonder what must have been floating in the atmosphere. However, let me warn you, the ambiance of the party is loosing its vibrancy. Three years ago when P.M. Gonsalves visited the picnic and gave us ‘Vincy Canadians’ an eye open refresher on ‘how to party’ under the lyrics of our Calypso legend Becket; creating such a hype which, surely lend credit for the sudden overwhelming attendance in 2006 and 2007. But, now the hype is waning.

Even with capable, trusted and reliable administrators of Montreal and Ottawa including two SVG Toronto representatives; the party may have out grown the current strategic approaches as the Ontario Government and the Ontario SVG Cartel is clearly the benefactor of this annual event. The SVG Association of Toronto has now become a skeleton of its former self, while the cartel has become the benefactor of all the moneymaking community activities. The events such as the Mothers’ Day program, Caribana dance, Labour Day bus trips and performance shows.

I am calling on all Vincy Ontarians patrons to wake-up. Precedence has been set, I fear a reoccurrence of the ode of Caribana which, was also an initiative founded by two of our SVG fathers 40 years ago (the Liverpools).

Predatory dealings are not the answer; self-serving activities must be exposed before it is too late. Isn’t it time we regain the true ‘Picnic Spirit’ with SVGAT committed patriots working towards the building of a vibrant SVG Canadian community for the future of our Canadian Vincentian generation?

Elma Gabriel
Community Advocate