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:
1. Dr. the Honourable Ralph E. Gonsalves, Prime Minister of SVG
2. Hon. Robert Browne, Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment
3. H.E. Mr Cenio Lewis, High Commissioner of SVG to the United Kingdom
4. Mr. Fitzgerald Providence, Director of Forestry SVG
5. Mrs. Cheryl Rodriguez, Treasurer of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Indian Heritage Foundation
6. Dr. 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.