Grenadians in Diaspora urged to help build new hospital

by Lincoln Depradine
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Grenada's Foreign Minister Joseph Andall

The construction of the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA), which began during the 1979-1983 People’s Revolutionary Government, remains Grenada’s largest infrastructure project in the country’s almost 50 years of political independence.
MBIA’s construction involved Grenadians purchasing special airport bonds and also providing volunteer non-pay work.
Grenada now plans on another project – a new and modern “climate-smart” hospital – and its foreign minister Joseph Andall wants an approach, similar to one taken in building MBIA, to be adopted for the proposed hospital where the teaching of healthcare personnel also would take place.
“We know that the provision of medical supplies has been one area that our Diaspora has been traditionally very strong in and we thank you for that and encourage you to continue along that line,” Andall told Grenadians at a July 2 townhall in Scarborough.
He and Grenada’s Prime Minister, Dickon Mitchell, who was elected in June 2022, were in Ontario for a series of engagements.
In one step in the move to build the hospital, Mitchell and other government officials visited a potential site in March on Calivigny Estate in the island’s south.
The land – 93 acres – was described as “generally flat” and “very accessible”.
“I think the site is pretty ideal,” Mitchell told reporters during the site visit. “The intent is to try to acquire all of it, because we think we need to make sure we can protect the entire area within which the hospital would be located.”
Andall, in his remarks in Scarborough, thanked Grenadians overseas for assisting their Caribbean homeland, and underscored the need to ensure the hospital is built.
“Some of you may be old enough to remember the initial stages of what is now Maurice Bishop International Airport. And you may remember the lengths that ordinary Grenadians – fishermen and women, construction workers, agricultural labourers – the lengths that they went to, to ensure that the airport became a reality,” Andall said.
“I am putting down a challenge to all of us tonight, to take it as a personal responsibility, to bring to fruition our teaching hospital, which will transform not only the nature of healthcare in our country but also the economy in a wider sense.”
The contributions from the Diaspora to Grenada are “truly valued”, said Andall, a bilingual former educator who is also minister responsible for trade and export development.
“We know what you’re capable of, and (that you are) willing to contribute a whole lot more than has been done,” he said. “We extend to you the invitation to continue working collaboratively among yourselves, your different organizations, and with the government of Grenada.”
Among out-of-town visitors attending the meeting was New York-based Grenadian Gerry Hopkins, who has been named incoming consul general in Toronto. He’ll replace honorary consul general Dawne Francois.
Andall said the government intends to expand, “as wide as possible”, consular services to Grenadians abroad, including having more than just a consular office in Toronto.
“Our vision is that down the road, in the not-too-distant future, we’ll be able to upgrade to a full-fledged high commission in Ottawa. We know there are significant pockets of Grenadians residing in other parts of Canada,” he said.
“As a government and, particularly as a ministry of foreign affairs, trade and export development, we are committed to spreading the representation of our country. We heard of the people on the western side who feel underrepresented, or maybe, not represented. Again, we are going to explore ways and means to ensure you, at least, have access to some types of consular services,” said Andall who is fluent in English and Spanish.
“We are thinking about you; we want to work with you. We know that you are committed to the development of our country and we are willing and open to embracing everyone, of every stripe.”

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