Caribbean diplomats urge students to share knowledge
A Bahamas government official implored students to bring their education and experience to the islands at Friday’s third annual Caribbean Circle Ambassador Dinner.
Dignitaries from Dominica, St. Lucia, Grenada, the Bahamas and Jamaica discussed the recent tragedies in the Caribbean, including the cholera outbreak in Haiti and the hurricane that hit St. Lucia.
“Try to work in some of the regional organizations that we have,” said Rhoda Jackson, the Bahamian ambassador to the U.S., who urged students to help develop the country’s information technology sector. “Even if it means only five years of your life.”
The officials also talked about the “brain drain,” a phenomenon in which many Caribbean students leave to study in the U.S. and other countries and don’t come back.
“In order to be competitive, you must have an educated workforce,” said Gillian Bristol, Grenada’s ambassador to the U.S.
The diplomats said their countries’ economies are not based solely on tourism and they are working to develop their agriculture, technology and sustainability sectors.
St. Lucia and Grenada are in the process of harnessing energy from geothermal springs that will help create clean energy.
Violent hurricanes recently tore through St. Lucia, causing flooding and severe crop damage.
“It’s a fact that countries, irrespective of where they are, tend to come together during a crisis,” said Minister Counselor Cheryl Gordon of Jamaica. “I think the history of small islands is that we tend to seek and reach out to one another because if you have scarce resources, those resources shrink further, so it makes sense to pool those resources. We’ve always helped each other with natural disasters.”