As Grenada counts down to the celebrations marking the country’s 41st anniversary of independence, here at Grenada 40 we’re reflecting on the past 12 months.
Tomorrow will mark a year since we launched and the support and engagement this project has received has been overwhelming. We owe each and every one of you who has taken the time to click, comment and share a huge thank you.
Even more impressive though are the stories that have emerged from the talented young visionaries this island has spawned.
Although there are still around a dozen profiles which will be published as part of this 40 under 40 list, we thought it was as good an opportunity to curate a list of the most-viewed interviewees who, in their various ways, are making strides towards building a future Grenada in which we may truly be able to claim financial, political and cultural independence.
Former Grenadian ambassadors Dessima Williams and Gillian Bristol have hailed Rachel as, “the first Grenadian on Broadway” – she’s appeared in numerous shows including the Tony award-winning musical Fela! – and it seems there is no limit to what she can achieve.
Our favourite quote: “What can I say to young people with doubts? If we don’t push through that feeling, really come to terms with it, evaluate, articulate and admit what that doubt is, then we stand in the limbo of outside opinions and fear.”
While London-based lawyer Akima can already lay claim to being an island scholar, soca monarch and a UN award winner, you get the strong sense that there is far more to come from this young woman born and raised in Victoria, St Marks.
Our favourite quote: “Although I’m part of the brain drain I’m trying to remedy that. I’m part of the malaise so maybe this is an act of contrition because I’m very concerned about Grenada and what can be done to help the island but at the end of the day the people who are considered the talent, we need to figure out a way to assist.”
3. Lovell Felix
Felix, creator of the popular Grenadian Buzz app, is a clear illustration of what can be achieved through focus, skill and determination. The self-taught developer was given the opportunity to develop his skills while working at the Grenada Co-operative Bank and has gone to study in the US and is excelling in his field.
Our favourite quote: “…I’ve improved my skills by helping others. I’m a big Zig Ziglar fan, and recently I truly understood what he meant when he said, ‘You can have anything you want in life if you help enough people get what they want.’”
This young Canadian-born actor of Grenadian descent flies the flag for our nation through his presence on the small screen. His first major role was as Jack Landor aka the Red Ranger in Power Rangers: S.P.D and is currently staring as agent Dale “DJ” Jakes in Graceland.
Our favourite quote: “The older I get the more important Grenada has become to me. My grandmother passed last year, and going back to Grenada for the service really made an impact on me. In fact every time I go back, I am impacted more and more. Knowing where you come from, the idea of history, lineage, tradition; these are all themes that have been central to the human experience for centuries. For me, Grenada is at the center of these themes.”
When we met with Groundation Grenada co-founder and LGBT rights advocate, Richie Maitland, he had recently returned to Grenada after a stint in Trinidad where he played a key role within the region’s leading gay rights advocacy organisations, CariFLAGS and Trinidad-based CAISO.
Our favourite quote: “I’m interested in being a part of the cadre of young educated leaders in the Caribbean. Many of my colleagues are interested in doing that. We are corresponding. All of us have our own organisations, we’re writing. It’s movement building. I want to build this movement by being here and being in this space. By having Grenada, breathing Grenada and eating Grenada and feeling it and smelling it and having it infuse me with the vibes I need to chant down Babylon!”
During her time in Grenada, Ayanna was one of only two female criminal lawyers. The 30-year old became one of the island’s go-to legal professionals for representation in sexual crimes.
Our favourite quote: “…rather than sitting back and complaining if you have the opportunity to try and do something you should. Some people say that makes me political, but I deny that strenuously. I don’t think it’s political at all. I think it’s an appreciation of the fact that things need to be done matched with a willingness to do so.”
While millions of viewers in the US might know Amanda Seales as a DJ, TV personality and pop culture critic, here on the Spice Isle we love that her roots are Grenadian.
Our favourite quote: “I don’t dream, I plan.”
It seems there’s no end to Malaika’s talents. She’s co-founder of Groundation Grenada, a qualified yoga instructor and an esteemed artist who is passionate about stimulating growth and thriving in Grenada and the wider Caribbean.
Our favourite quote: “What drew me back [to Grenada] was that I was passionate about the fact that we can be a sustainable island. I wanted to focus on the idea of how we feed ourselves, not just physically but how we can feed ourselves creatively and in terms of our social engagement with people,”
The extent of this artist from Clozier’s talent is hard to question and he adds much to this 40 under 40 list as his experience is reflective of the thousands of gifted young people in Grenada who may not have the luxury of finances or family connections to propel them forward.
Our favourite quote: “Go forth and grab life, make the best of it. If art is what you like then give it your best shot. Despite all the hindrances and factors that are around holding us back you should go for it!”
10. Jason Roberts
At the age of just 29, Jason Roberts established his eponymous foundation which aims to improve the lives of youngsters through sport in both Grenada and the UK and in 2009 he was awarded the MBEfor his services to sport.
Our favourite quote: “The pride and sense of achievement I have felt representing Grenada has honestly been the highlight of my footballing career, a tiny island of 100,000 population has provided me with my finest footballing moments, win, lose or draw.”