Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Visa free days over

And darkness descended on St Vincent and the Grenadines when it was proclaimed that visas were now needed to enter the land of Canada. The natives wailed, gnashed their teeth and rend their garments but to no avail. I exaggerate but the mood has ranged from gloomy to belligerent to blame sharing since the plug was pulled on visa free travel.

Among other things the Canadian Government has cited the unusually high refugee claims and unreliable Vincentian travel documents as factors that weighed heavily in their decision. Unsurprisingly,both sides of the political fence have had field days dispensing the blame.The Opposition point to the Government's failure to create an environment that enables economic stability while the Government blames the Opposition for aiding and abetting spurious refugee claims.  From time immemorial  persons have left their homes in search of  the proverbial greener pastures. Caribbean people for the most part following the 60's exodus to England (aptly captured by Louise Bennett's "Colonization in Reverse") have flocked to the US and Canada. There  vibrant communities have flourished as the immigrants set about to build better lives for themselves and their families.

With the economic downturn  being felt Vincentians have been packing their bags and heading northwards to Canada. Some rather than applying themselves to being productive citizens have found themselves in trouble with the law and subsequently deported. From my vantage point both political sides have valid points but I suspect they would rather die than give any such concession. So now visas are needed and the form is so discouraging that persons may not even want to bother applying. For example, applicants must list the names of all their siblings-half, full, step along with their DOB and occupation. Hmmmm, given the dynamics of the Caribbean family that list could get very long! Would be visitors must have a letter of invitation from a Canadian citizen, show continuous employment of 10 yrs, bank statement of 6 mths etc. Then there is the monetary cost of $75 Cdn for single entry, $150 for multiple and I've been told there is also a family rate.

Since this seems so irksome I've come up with some non visa countries / regions that we can visit. In no particular order here goes





South Africa

The Caribbean ( Yes the Caribbean)


Who needs Canada?

Monday, September 10, 2012


Here's to the Paralympians

The Paralympics came to a close on Sunday. I would have liked to watch it but unfortunately there was no television coverage.Thank God though for YouTube which allowed me to see several clips that not only took my breath away but also gave me new admiration for the triumph of the human spirit. Watching the blind and their guides and other physically disabled run races a childhood story came to mind.

There was once a little steam engine who had a long train of cars to pull. She was doing well until she came to a steep hill. No matter how hard she tried she could not move the cars. Did she give up? No, she tried several avenues until she found a solution. As the cars began to move up the steep hill the little engine began to sing " I think I can, I think I can,  I think I can,  I think I can." And the seemingly impossible happened and soon the cars were over the hill and down the other side. On the plain the little steam engine could pull the train herself. So she thanked the little engine who had come to help her and said goodbye. And off she went merrily on her way singing "I thought I could,  I thought I could,  I thought I could."

Like the steam engine the Paralympians had to face enormous challenges. They could not succeed on their own but needed the support of relatives, coaches, friends et al who believed in their ability and allowed their dreams to blossom. They are all winners because they chose not to feel sorry for themselves but to embrace life despite their limitations. We all could take a page from their book

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