October 6, 2022

Calling the young, gifted and Caribbean!

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By KERYN NELSON From St Lucia Star

The High Commission of Canada to Saint Lucia (and other neighbouring islands) is once again opening up its offices in Bridgetown, Barbados to two promising young people between the ages of 16 and 19. Candidates from Saint Lucia, Barbados, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Dominica, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are encouraged to apply for a chance to win the “Be High Commissioner for a Day” competition. The selected winners will serve as High Commissioner and Deputy High Commissioner on March 8, a day also observed as “International Women’s Day”.

Currently serving as Canada’s High Commissioner to the aforementioned countries is Her Excellency Marie Legault who has an extensive career in international diplomacy. Ms Legault and her team provide business and consular services to Canadians visiting and residing in Barbados, leads the Canada Barbados Business Association and liaises on behalf of Canada with the Caribbean Development Bank.

In 2017, nineteen-year-old Antiguan Rose-Marie Reynolds and 16-year-old Christopher Brathwaite from Barbados emerged as winners from a large pool of entrants and were awarded the opportunity of serving as High Commissioner and Deputy High Commissioner respectively.

Their temporary posts involved meetings and visits including a Town Hall meeting which the two had the pleasure of running at the Canadian High Commission office. Reynolds and Brathwaite also met up with Senator, Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister Maxine McClean during a Parliament meeting, who briefed them on her experience as a female leader in Barbados and the wider region.

Canada now boasts robust gender equality and women’s empowerment movements.

Since the appointment of Justin Trudeau as prime minister two years ago, women now make up 50% of the country’s cabinet. The Canada Fund for Local Initiatives also donated EC$75,000 last year to Saint Lucian advocacy group Raise Your Voice INC to facilitate the Saint Lucian leg of the “16 Days of Activism” against gender-based violence and for a gender equality awareness programme.

In keeping with this theme, and in observance of International Women’s Day, “Be a High Commissioner for a Day” competition participants are required to submit a 60-90 second long video to the High Commission of Canada answering the question “How can you champion women’s rights in the Caribbean region?” According to a member of the High Commission, the judging panel is looking for “answers. . .  that hold weight and could make a difference”. It was also recommended that persons adhere to the stipulated timeframe.

The High Commission of Canada will cover travel and accommodation expenses for all winners residing outside of Barbados.

To make a submission, interested persons are to send their videos via private message to The High Commission of Canada in Barbados’ Facebook page. The deadline for video submissions is February 26, 2018.

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