17th November 2014:Rural and fishing communities generally, perhaps more so civil society groups like the FCFA, that actively seek to create a respectable space and voice amidst neglect and distance challenges and social aspects of community are bound up with well-being, over and above young people’s concerns for the future, rural youth transitions, and out-migration for residency, employment and acceptance.
However, on Saturday night the Felicity Charlieville Fishing Association (FCFA) was invited to share the stage at the Felicity Divali Utsav 2014 Awards and Appreciation Ceremony held at the Center Point Mall Auditorium in Chaguanas. This invitation was well received by members and winners in our recently held bamboo-bending competition themed “highLIGHTING the oceans.”
The Honourable Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar in commending the residents of Felicity, Cacandee Road, Pierre Road and environs also acknowledged the role Minister Ganga Singh played in consulting, mobilizing, empowering and giving structure to the Divali celebrations which is now internationally known. Her discourse resonated with the work of the FCFA as we realized continuing contact with youths in multiple settings will allow even children with low social impact to find a niche within their peer group. Unfortunately, these same societal characteristics also increase the probability that those with strong negativities will carry their reputation with them.
Preceding the ceremony, Omardath Maharaj Industry Development Officer at SIDC explained to the FCFA that youth diversity spans geographic, ethnic, economic and cultural contexts. The reality of life for many families in fishing communities is continuing poverty or lower socio-economic status, lower levels of educational and occupational opportunity, discrimination and devaluation of their cultural heritage; often times by the mainstream urban society. He encouraged the FCFA to be committed to team work in a spirit of cooperation and openness while building on past achievements; fostering a stable and community-oriented multi-cultural environment; respect for differences of opinion and minority views; gender-awareness; and personal trust.
The FCFA wishes to acknowledge the support of the Seafood Industry Development Company (SIDC) in the conceptualisation and execution of the competition.