Grenada celebrates Independence and art in Toronto; PM talks about coronavirus at home

By Lincoln DePradine

From Left: Mark Strong, Consul General Derrick James, photographer Ian Grant and Dr Gervan Fearon, President & Vice-Chancellor of Brock University

Dr Gervan Fearon, president of Brock University in St Catharines, has commended self-taught photographer Ian Grant on the quality of his artwork, calling them “inspiring’’.

“His pieces have meant so much for me,’’ Fearon said at the launch of the latest exhibition by Grenada-born Grant.

The exhibited work, at the consulate general of Grenada at 90 Eglinton Avenue East, is on display until February 28.

It’s one of a series of activities in Toronto marking the 46th anniversary of independence of Grenada, which attained nationhood on February 7, 1974. The nation also includes the Grenadine islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

Other Toronto activities have included a thanksgiving church service, a flag-raising ceremony at City Hall, as well as a gala and an awards’ presentation ceremony of the Grenada Association. The final event is a showcase of Grenada culture on Sunday, February 16, at the Jamaican Canadian Association Centre, 995 Arrow Road.

“What you see here is just a small portion of my framed artwork,’’ Grant explained at the opening of his exhibition.

“I try to tell stories every time I pick up the camera. Some of images are dear to my heart because they bring back a lot of memories from when I was a little kid.’’

Fearon, who was born in England to Jamaican parents, has purchased Grant’s artwork, saying he’s fond of one piece in particular.

“Every morning I wake up to that piece. It hangs on the wall, right beside my bed. It’s one of the most inspiring pieces for me,’’ said Fearon, who has visited Grenada and has held discussions there on educational opportunities available at Brock University, where he’s also vice-chancellor.

Ambassador Derrick James, the consul general, said his office will be happy to host other exhibitions by Grenadian artists.

“We have to promote the work of our nationals,’’ he said. “The consulate is open, and remember this is your home.’’

The exhibition launch was chaired by Mark Strong, who revealed that he and broadcast partner Jemeni soon will be visiting Grenada. The two, who co-host G98.7 FM’s 6 am – 10 am radio show, will be broadcasting live to Toronto from Grenada.

Their visit to Grenada, where Jemeni was born, is April 4-11. It’s been arranged by the Grenada Tourism Authority through Toronto-based Sekou Stroude, the tourism director of sales for Canada.

“We’re not going there to play. When we go there to do the morning show, we going there to display what Grenada is about. We’re going there to represent you and we want you to know that people love Grenada as much as we love Grenada,’’ said Strong, who also is an arena in-house announcer for the Toronto Raptors, the NBA’s defending champions.

“We’re happy to connect generations, which is very, very important,’’ he added. “Myself, being somebody who came from a family that emigrated from Grenada to make what they called either a better or different life for us, we’re very happy and appreciative that we are here. But, it’s so important that even if we are here, we reconnect back to the roots.’’

Last Friday’s Independence Day in Grenada was observed with a rally and parade in St George’s, with Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell commenting on several national issues, including concerns at the global outbreak of the Coronavirus.

Grenada, so far, has quarantined four nationals returning home from China.

“The latest traveller, identified as a student, left mainland China and landed at the Maurice Bishop International Airport, just after 9 pm on Saturday,’’ Grenada health officials said. “A review of the student’s travel documents by immigration officials verified that the individual left mainland China on February 7, hence the execution of the mandatory quarantine order on arrival in Grenada.’’

According to Mitchell, his government “has taken decisive action to help prevent this disease from penetrating our borders and affecting our people’’.

He claimed it was “alarming and nothing short of mischievous that elements among us – some of whom we expect to demonstrate a greater level of responsibility – are using the situation to create panic, fear and distrust among our people’’.

By uttering “irresponsible statements that have implications for the health of the nation’s people’’, said Prime Minister Mitchell, “these persons are playing on the emotions of a population that is already concerned about their own vulnerability. They are arbitrarily fuelling fears about our own mortality, and creating unnecessary doubt where there should be absolute clarity’’.