An interview with Dr Merle Collins

I have respected and admired
 Dr Merle Collins for some time and felt honoured to have the opportunity to interview her on her recent visit to the U.K. She is an academic, an author,
a poet, a theatre director and a biographer. She was here to launch her latest publication “The Governor’s Story.”

The book chronicles the life of Dame Hilda Bynoe, the first Black female Governor in the Commonwealth; previous ones had been White and male. It is incredible to think that the first female Governor was from the small Caribbean island of Grenada given that the Commonwealth includes Australia, New Zealand, Canada and India. It was an incredible achievement for her and for women.

Me with Merle Collins - picture by Mervyn Weir

Me with Merle Collins – picture by Mervyn Weir

I met with Merle Collins at Senate House in London where she was scheduled to speak at a poetry event. With busy schedules and unreliable technology it took commitment from both of us to get the interview done.
I experienced her as a warm and engaging person very much comfortable in her own skin.

Merle Collins experienced her primary and secondary education in Grenada before earning a degree in English and Spanish at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica. Her time in Jamaica gave her an insight into social class in the Caribbean. As well as teaching Spanish in Grenada and St.Lucia she also spent some time in Mexico, fine tuning her language skills and getting an insight into Mexican cultures. She would discover the ethnic tensions between Mexicans descended from Spaniards and those whose ancestors were Amerindians. Unfortunately she also found herself stared at as an exotic rarity. This would lead her to study for a Masters in Latin American Studies in the USA. Read more »

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Friends of Africa v Friends of Caribbean professional football fundraiser

 

 

footy6

ticket entry

 

 

 

omar

Jazzy soul singer Omar sang his well known hit “There’s nothing like this”

 

 

footy9

 

footy8

 

 

footy10

Caribbean players celebrate a goal

 

Several charities involved including the Jason Roberts Foundation for its summer camps in Grenada.  For more info see http://jasonrobertsfoundation.com/calendar-events.htm

 

 

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5th Annual Grenadian Heritage Day

Spice vibe in West London - July 2013

Spice vibe in West London – July 2013
See you there

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Grenada independence (39 years) gala celebrations -London

Saturday 2nd February 2013 at Novotel, Hammersmith, London

welcoming flowers

 

 

 

 

Dining and chatting

dance the bele

hardworking organisers

 

Baroness Howells of St. David and Shirley Anstis

 

 

High Commissioner Ruth Rouse, Shirley Anstis

 

Anthony C George (who designed the Grenada flag), Shirley Anstis

Words to Grenada’s national anthem

dance the bele

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Grenadians honoured by Her Majesty the Queen in the New Years Honours 2013

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Happy New Year!

Wishing you health and fulfilment for the year ahead.

 

Have a look at the up dated blog and leave any comments. Let me know what you think of the book too. Thanks

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They Call Me (local events)

 

Enjoyed being part of BOOKFACE  an artists and writers day at Rising Sun in October.

ready and waiting

Admiring the work of local artists

 

 

Participating in Black History Month (October 2012) at the local college

About to give a short talk on Grenada and nicknames

Black History Month at Reading College

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Grenada and Bahamas at London 2012

Grenada at London 2012 Olympics – flag carried by Karani James

These super athletes who make it to the Olympics are a source of wonder and inspiration.

The medals table seek to show not individuals’ success but success by country.  China, USA, Russia and U.K. are always well represented.  I am amazed that in recent years we’ve begun to predict the number of medals we expect to win, partly based on the amount of money invested in the athletes.  Although this makes sense it seems so far removed from individual pursuit, motivation and endurance.

But what about the other end of the table where countries have tiny populations and very little money to invest in sports? The Bahamas and Grenada are two such places and they performed well above what might be expected.

The Bahamas, with a population of more than 347 000 won an Olympic gold medal for the men’s 4×400-metre relay team. I am sure the team were overwhelmed by all the attention at home and abroad.  It probably helps that there are four of them to share the experience together and take turns in the spotlight.  Being aged from 23 to 32 they already have some experiences of competitions and life so this could spur them on to their next achievements.

Winning Gold

For Karani James (“The Jaguar”) of Grenada, he is the island’s first and only Olympic medal holder!  He won the gold medal by finishing the 400 meters in 43.94 seconds.  By doing so he brought Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martnique to the attention of a whole new audience.  Karani, 19 at the time, showed humility and graciousness beyond his years.

I was lucky enough to be on the island when Karani competed for his medal and the place was alive with hope, expectation and excitement.  When he glided to the finish for the gold the place exploded into carnival celebrations.  It is amazing what effect his achievement has had on the island.  All ages and all classes feel a renewed sense of pride.

Grenada is the first of the OECS countries to have won an Olympic medal.  For an island state with 110, 000 people this is truly amazing.  Many people can connect with Karani’s can do attitude and demonstration of commitment.  With his humble beginnings he shows that it is not where you start but where you end up that matters.  The moment he exchanged numbers with the South African runner Oscar Pistorius he touched the hearts of many and demonstrated the generous heart of the Grenadian people.

For Karani and his family it has been a beautiful and overwhelming experience.  They have been guests of the Prime Minister and Governor General on several occasions.  My hope is that he can regain some of his privacy and enjoy the remaining time at university without feeling too observed or pressured.  He is capable of so much more but he needs time and space to continue to mature in his sport and as a person.

These young men are all role models.  They encourage all small states and their populations to believe that they can leave a mark on the world stage.  Having money and a large population increases a country’s chance but all is not lost without that.  I am sure that many people will be encouraged and I expect to see more of the same successes in Rio in 2016.  I can’t wait.

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Grenada Carnival 2012

It was really great to be able to experience the cultural explosion that is Grenada carnival.  Some of my favourite pics below

 

 On the waters edge

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Grenada Homecoming

For 2 years now the Grenada diaspora across the world have been coming together to plan a big homecoming.  This took place in Grenada, in August 2012 – competing with the London Olympics.  In the end I was pleased to be able to do a bit of both. Some of my best photo moments below.

As this was the first homecoming event the organising and delivery was new for everyone. A time for collaborative ideas, renewing friendships, raising awareness and celebrating achievements.

A brief minute with a busy Min. of Education Hon. Franka Bernadine

A great turnout from Teachers and Head Teachers for the launch of the Poetry and writing challenge for schools pupils – deadline extended to 31st January 2013 – entries to submissions@grenadastudentchallenge.org

 

A very well run summer youth camp with talks on health, diet, exercise, mental health and an opportunity to create art and jewellery. Some great art work created by the young people at summer camp – St. Rose Modern Secondary

inspiration

creativity

expression

jewellery

 

A final gala evening with great performances and a film on the history of Grenada, followed by an awards ceremony


Seizing an opportunity to say hello to VC Johnson Beharry at the Gala Event


Mr. Anthony George receiving his Queen’s Award from the Governor General His Excellency Sir. Carlyle Glean

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