President's Message 2008
This year Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Nationals Association of Washington, D.C., (SVGNA) celebrated its 20th anniversary as an organization. Founded in the summer of 1988 by patriotic Vincentians residing in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, SVGNA commenced its operation at the office of Dr. Richard John, one of its founding members. The aims and objectives of SVGNA are as follows:
To promote the development of closer ties among Vincentians within the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, and other geographic areas throughout the United States.
To maintain a patriotic link with Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and to provide assistance to institutions in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in time of need; and
To operate exclusively for charitable, educational, scientific, cultural and literary purposes, within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
During the past 20 years, the members of SVGNA have worked feverishly to recruit new members and to network with other Caribbean Organizations in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Some of SVGNA’s accomplishments include:
1. The area of social welfare: SVGNA was instrumental in securing and shipping many barrels containing clothing and toys to several institutions for needy children and adults in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Some of the institutions include: the School for Children with Special Needs; the Lewis Punnett Home for the Elderly; Can Save Children Program; and the Mental Hospital at Calliaqua.
2. The area of national disaster relief: SVGNA was instrumental in raising and contributing $2,500 to the victims of “Tropical Storm Lili.” This storm battered Saint Vincent and the Grenadines with high winds and heavy waves and rains, destroying several homes, schools and our country’s banana industry.
3. The area of education: On September 6, 1990, SVGNA embarked on an educational initiative by adopting seven primary schools in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to which we provide students with pens, pencils, rulers, exercise books, dictionaries, world maps, encyclopedias, computers, printers and video recorders on an annual basis. These educational institutions include: Evesham Methodist, Cane End Government, Sandy Bay Anglican, Layou Government, Barrouallie Anglican, Rose Hall Government, and the Mary Hutchinson Government on Union Island. Our annual budget for this educational initiative is now $7,500. Additionally, SVGNA was instrumental in providing $2,500 to underwrite the cost for the training of sixteen teachers, representing seven primary schools, from the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Teacher’s College at a workshop on Information and Communication Technology. These teachers in turn provided computer training to the students at their respective schools.
4. The area of health care: SVGNA was also instrumental in purchasing and donating a neo-natal infant monitoring machine to the pediatrics ward of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, and providing financial assistance to the “Gavin Joseph Kidney Transplant Fund” to assist a fellow Vincentian in defraying the cost of a kidney transplant operation in New York City, and subsequent out-patient treatment. Additionally, some members of SVGNA participated in the Washington, D.C. “Light the Night Walk.” This charitable walk was sponsored by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to raise awareness and funds for cures of leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.
5. The area of social activities: Each year SVGNA sponsors an annual bus ride to Atlantic City during the month of May; a moonlight cruise on the Potomac River during the month of July; a family picnic at Rock Creek Park during the month of August; a Children’s Christmas Party during the month of December and a fundraising dance during the latter part of the month in December. Additionally, SVGNA participates in the Capital Area Food Bank and Project Harvest fundraising drive each year.
6. Communications with SVGNA: SVGNA advertises its activities and keeps in touch with its members through the following media: a quarterly newsletter entitled “Hairouna Times,” a website: www.svgnadc.com; by e-mail: SVGNAdc@aol.com; and by regular mail at: Post Office Box # 2250, Washington, D.C., 20013-2250.
Some of SVGNA’s past presidents who have contributed significantly to the growth and maturity of the association include: Dr. Stanley Anderson, Lennox J. Simon, Leonard Crichton, A. Bert Davy and Jasmine Andrews. SVGNA’s current executive board consists of: Lennox J. Simon, President; A. Bert Davy, Vice President; Eppie Marecheau, General Secretary; Bonnie Andrews, Treasurer; Brenda Simms, Recording Secretary; John Anderson, Public Relations Officer; Omegah Fair, At-Large-Member, and Jasmine Andrews, At-Large-Member.
Despite our record of accomplishments, SVGNA continues to strive towards developing innovative ideas and efforts so that we can offer even more assistance to our needy brothers and sisters in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. SVGNA is very appreciative of the support and contributions we have received from the Vincentian community over the past 20 years, and hope that the community will continue to work with SVGNA to improve the quality of life of Vincentians at home. Therefore, I encourage all Vincentians residing in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area to join SVGNA and become active members so that together we can accomplish all our goals through our united efforts.
Lennox J. Simon, President