A Clarion Call for Continuity among Diaspora Associations – Lear Matthews


By Lear Matthews

Despite the surge in popularity of Caribbean Diaspora Associations and the reminiscent jollification they entertain at fund raising events/reunions, there appears to be a serious problem of recruiting new members. This situation, which warrants a timely assessment, has emerged with regards to rank and file membership, as well as leadership/executive positions.

This writer and other former and current members of one such organization have lamented over this issue. Particular difficulty is encountered in efforts to increase financial membership, and engaging more recent immigrants/graduates. The problem has become endemic to various non-profit transnational organizations.  Such an observation led to research on the topic, within the context of the unprecedented increase of HTAs – Hometown Associations (e.g. High School Alumni, village, cultural, professional, charity, religious, political groups) among Guyanese immigrants in North America.

These Associations, a collective prototype in the Caribbean immigrant experience, have become an integral part of a transnational lifestyle, a vibrant subculture, a network that seeks to sustain a country-of-origin connection and identity, and a prominent contributor to infrastructural development in the homeland. Commonalities among them are both encouraging and disconcerting.

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  • compton de castro  On 09/30/2014 at 5:25 am

    Culturally if you are not part of new culture you are
    the problem….not the solution.
    Integrate or immigrate !
    The choice is you’re !

  • Thinker  On 10/02/2014 at 5:51 am

    The issue is not so much our progeny breaking ties but the fact that although there has been a steady stream of Guyanese going North over the last few decades, we stiill do not see enough younger people getting active in diaspora organisations.

  • detow  On 10/02/2014 at 11:35 am

    Part of the problem is that although there has been migration North over the past few decades, the ones who formed and encouraged the continuation of diaspora organizations have now reached the point in their existence where, because of age, it has become difficult to continue the task. Our offsprings do not really identify themselves as Guyanese but rather as the place that their parents came from and are, therefore, in large not interested in diaspora organizations.

    Just my take.

  • compton de castro  On 10/02/2014 at 12:13 pm

    Sadly yes ! If situation in Guyana is to be ‘improved’
    it will have to come from within Guyana influenced by
    what happens elsewhere….especially in its big brother
    USA and English speaking Caribbean.
    Also its neighbours Brazil Suriname and Venezuela
    have a part to play.
    Forever the optimist !

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