Grenadians raise flag at Toronto City Hall to mark 49th year of Independence

By Lincoln DePradine

Consul General Dawne Francois
(centre) with Consul General for
Guyana Grace Joseph (right) with
Sekou Stroude, of Grenada Tourism

Grenadians in Toronto are marking their Caribbean country’s anniversary of independence, but with an eye on next year’s celebrations.

Grenada, a former British colony, became an independent nation on February 7, 1974. Its 50th anniversary is next year.

“Once the events of this year are over, we are going into planning mode. We have to go bold and big in showcasing Grenada in 2024,’’ Dawne Francois, Honourary Consul General for Grenada in Toronto, said Tuesday.

She was speaking at a reception held following the hoisting of Grenada’s red, green and gold national flag on the rooftop of Toronto City Hall, where it’s being flown in commemoration of the nation’s independence anniversary.

The flag-raising, attended by Grenadians and members of Caribbean diplomatic corps in Toronto, was performed by Grenada-born entrepreneur Alicia Vianga, a 2022 Progressive Conservative MPP candidate for Scarborough-Guildwood and an entrepreneur. Her business interests include the company Premier Jour Lingerie & Swimwear. She also is founder and executive

Attendees at the flag-raising ceremony

director of the charity, After Breast Cancer, which was launched on October 14, 2012.

Francois said attendees were blessed with good weather with the two anniversary events – the flag-raising ceremony and a church service – held so far.

“People remain cautious, after the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s really good to see people coming out and we still had very good turnouts,’’ Francois said.

The remaining celebratory events are a gala on Saturday, February 11, and a Grenada showcase on February 19 at the Jamaican Canadian Association centre.

“We’re expecting some big numbers at the gala. And then showcase Grenada happens on the 19th with our local performers, and we’ll have the Oil Down, the popular national dish of Grenada,’’ said Francois.

At the reception, Francois read a message to Grenadians in Toronto and other Diaspora cities from Grenada’s Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell.

In the message, as well as in his speech at an Independence Day event Tuesday in St George’s, Mitchell said one of the plans of his government, which was elected to office in June 2022, is a focus on developing wind, solar and geothermal energy.

“Grenada has the potential to achieve 100 percent in renewable energy generation in the electricity sector from geothermal, wind and solar,’’ said Mitchell.

“Government is currently in the exploratory drilling phase for geothermal energy, which is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2025 and will open significant opportunities for the development of infrastructure works, including access roads and utilities, to sites in the outer parishes of St John and St Patrick,’’ he added.

“In our parish of Carriacou and Petite Martinique, an 800 kilowatt Solar PV plant, with battery storage, will be commissioned by June of this year, which will displace 60 percent of the diesel used to generate electricity on Carriacou.’’