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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Pandemic provides opportunity for province to tap into Carribean culture

Reader shares ideas for how to benefit from Ontario-Carribean culture
Photo by jules a. on Unsplash

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Dear Editor:

How do we uplift our fellow citizens? How do we begin anew in 2021?

Perhaps we can create an event that will encompass the province's financial, cultural and social sectors.  For one to two weeks, encompass all Caribbean communities in Ontario, while allying  us with their neighbors from the Caribbean. 

Our various media outlets throughout Ontario, Canada and the Caribbean can spread the word about this great celebration. 

a. Partnerships, special promotions given by these media outlets, business sponsors in Ontario and beyond can promote:

  1. Ontario, Toronto & its many regions
  2. Its diverse communities, both Caribbean and others
  3. Caribbean businesses based in  Ontario and beyond through special competitions, giveaways, and sponsorships.
  4.  Various business sectors working together for self promotion                                        
  5.  Educational Partnerships between colleges, universities and private educational  institutions, promoting cutlural and educational pathways.
  6.  Promoting and experiencing cultural diversity in its urban and rural applications                                

Media partnerships can be anchored through the CBC, and other provincial, national and international media outlets. The important thing here is having Ontarians and the world experience oue celebration, our diversity and our welcoming nature.

b. Media is essential in promoting and driving our enthusiasm towards and during this event. The CBC has an excellent regional understanding of Ontario and also of the Caribbean. The mix of cultures in Ontario need to be explained and enjoyed. Exploring the Caribbean, local Ontario regional communities and the impact Ontario's Caribbean commuity has upon Ontario and the world needs to be explained & promoted. Education through the media and first hand experience.

c. Business: Individual Ontario based firms, Caribbean firms exporting to Ontario need to be promoted and explored. Many proudcts from these regions can receive the needed exposure a business requires.

For example, hot sauces made in Barbados and hot sauce made in Thunder Bay are sponsored and promoted in a vast region within a community who love spice. Exciting visibility and experience for all.

d. The vastness of Ontario becomes visible to the Caribbean community. Tourism will bring in visitors from all regions of The Caribbean diaspora. Visibility of Ontario, all that our province has to offer economically, culturally, socially, agriculturally, and spiritually. Yes, spiritually. Ontario is famous for its wilderness, its vibrant forever changing nature. This nature inspirers us all in every way. Our visitors will share their life experiences and cultures with Ontario's leading artists, writers, entertainers and musicians. Cultural diversity demands expression. That is what this celebration is, an expression of our Caribbean community and all their neighbors.

e. Agriculture: The islands of the Caribbean grow much in the little they have. Their knowledge and Ontario's agricultural community need to be shared and studied. Agricultural needs in both regions communicated, alliances developed.

f. Law Enforcement: Our peace keepers share their know-how with their brothers and sisters of the Caribbeans Blue Line. Community strength found in our expressions/demands. How is policing expressed in the Caribbean and  is it different from Ontarian police expressions/processes? You don't know until you ask/study this issue. Transparency, accountability and community policing.

g. Economic alliances: Can Ontario establish alliances with the Caribbean region? Politicians/specialists/business people gather during the week of celebrations to advance ideas of international partnerships.

Attract Caribbean businesses to Ontario. Connecting Ontario based businesses, Ontario based Caribbean businesses to the Caribbean. Communication , exploration and advantageous partnerships could be developed. Develop business links within the two regions, creating long lasting benefits for all.

h. Cultural: Create partnerships between museums, artists, cultural agencies and musicians. Imagine our museums expressing our relationships, history and art within Caribbean musuems. How has the Caribbean - Canadian experience influenced our province and cities? How has the Caribbean experience been expressed in Ontario's northern and urban regions?

i. Food: Restaurants and bars sponsor and compete with their competitors. Image a Caribbean vibe in all entertainment and food environments. Who makes the best hot sauce? Who has the best flying fish meal? Is Red Stripe better then one of our craft Caribbean inspired beers? Imagine the fun, the food and drink. 

Food and accessories manufacturers in the Caribbean and Ontario could be explored and experienced by eager consumers. Get institutions like George Brown College involved in Caribbean food development, matches and competitions. Explore Ontario-Caribbean financial , institutional and business associations.

j. Education: Explore interships here and abroad. Institutions sharing their knowledge and research into vital  issues. A gathering during the week of celebration getting these experts together. Institutions sharing and funding one another. Cultural Programs created and explored. Open the mind - Open our expressions. Encouraging Caribbean based and Ontario based firms to support mutually benefiting research and programs. Openning Ontario to the Caribbean's leading institutions. The funds raised during these celebrations can provide year long research, teaching and direction for many of Ontario's regional Caribbean communities and their many activities. This event can be a financial benefit to Ontario and its many regions.

k. Environmental: The Caribbean and Ontario share in many high technological industries...mining, oil exploration, sea water management. Green Industry found in equatorial environments vs. those found in the north. An exposition bringing together citizens, specialists, educators and agencies to explore, exhibit and present combined research and practical applications of green industry/science.

The Caribbean's and Ontario's financial corporate institutions:

It is here that many sponsors can be found. Corporate institutions flourish within a diverse society. We have much to learn from the Islands of The Caribbean which have always been forced to do better within their limited boundaries.  Ontario needs to promote our strengths here and abroad. It is through an event such as this that we can bring the world's attention upon Ontario's many regions, its vast potential, and Ontario citizens' creative nature. No matter where they are from, no matter how diverse we may be, we live in our strengths. We are community. 

There's a lot to celebrate. 

Steven Kaszab, Bradford