By Neals J. Chitan
Being born at the tail end of the Baby Boom generation on the mainland of the tri-island state of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, as a teenage boy I frequently braved the wild Atlantic on simple wooden boats with my brothers to visit our sister island of Carriacou.
Neals J. Chitan is the Grenadian-born president of Motiv-8 For Change International -- a Toronto based High Impact Social Skill Agency that is specially dedicated to the social empowerment of individuals, families and communities
This beautiful little sister island steeped in history and culture has always intrigued me and captured my fancy, with its simple and friendly natives who seemed would do anything to make you feel at home. Their music, food and celebrations were different and pulled thousands to their white sand shores annually.
There was a kind of simple pride that went along with being Kayak and I wanted to identify with it! You see, in my reckoning, Kayaks were the tease of the town in Grenada. Back in those days, when a mainlander wanted to make a stupid joke about some dumb individual, the joke was usually on the Kayak, yet I found myself gravitating towards the loving, friendly and simple lifestyle of Carriacou.
You see, I myself have risen as an underdog in my profession as a social skill and crime reduction specialist to make an international impact on the 200,000-plus lives that I have already touched, and from back then I knew that Carriacou as a then stigmatized underdog was on the path to lead the mainland one day.
With a string of high ranking professionals, Carriacou has placed within the annals of Grenadian greats the likes of Dr Roy Adams, Dr George Davidson and Dr Winston Davidson DDS, all personal friends of mine and fellow Baby Boomers.
However, I have recently identified another great from a younger generation, Gen X, in the person of a resident young father, husband and parliamentary representative, Senator Jester Emmons.
With a natural wit for community and youth empowerment, this young Christian politician, realizing the rising tide of crime and violence that is sweeping the Caribbean, decided to step out and respond to an offer to negotiate an antidote to prevent this societal plague from infesting and damaging the peaceful social landscape of Carriacou and Petite Martinique. Robust discussions and negotiations ensued between Carriacou and Canada until a deal was hammered out and “Project STOP ‘n’ THINK -- Carriacou 2014” social skill crime prevention campaign was set in stone for mass delivery across the two sister islands, June 20 - July 19, 2014.
Immediately, the young senator jumped into action and putting together an organizing team of friends from his home church, Hillsborough Adventist Church, he took to the radio airwaves promoting and registering a targeted 300-plus individuals to be part of a sustainable 42 high impact session series. Designed and copyrighted to address the underlying contributing factors to crime and violence, “Project STOP ‘n’ THINK -- Carriacou 2014” aims to create a powerful change in self-perception, attitudes, decision making, impulse and anger control, while giving the keys to achieving and maintaining phenomenal success.
As the frontline presenter, I am totally exhilarated by the attendance, participation and enthusiasm of the hundreds of children, youth and adults who attend the four venues.
“These sessions are changing my life, sir! I now know what I must do, and I will soar one day,” said Wendy, a young woman who has a dream to follow the Kayak greats and leave a legacy behind.
After attending the eight sessions at the four locations across Carriacou and Petite Martinique, participants will earn a Canadian Social Skill Certificate issued by Toronto-based social skill agency Motiv-8 For Change International, thus qualifying to be part of a historic community crime prevention graduation ceremony and street march in Hillsborough the capital city on July 19, 2014.
As a Christian, I have always heard the saying “A little child shall lead” and we Grenadians have always looked at Carriacou and Petite Martinique as the little sister islands. However, as an international crime reduction/prevention specialist, I must hereby proclaim that, although I have worked across Canada, the USA, Africa, England, Grenada and most recently Jamaica, this little 13-square mile island of Carriacou has outdone everyone and led the way internationally in engaging a full course sustainable series of crime prevention strategies and concepts -- a process that will soon blossom into a socially vibrant community.
Way to go, Carriacou! This little child has led!