Call to strengthen Caribbean twinning relationship (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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A film-maker is concerned the council does not do enough to promote its twinned city Roseau
A film-maker is calling on the council to strengthen relations between the borough and its Caribbean twin, Roseau, the capital of Dominica.
Richard Etienne, 29, spoke at the authority’s Twinning Association general meeting last week as part of a documentary he is making about his first visit to the island.
He passed on a message from the Dominican Prime Minister, who said he hopes the twinning agreement can prosper in the future.
Both of Mr Etienne’s parents come from the island which he has never visited because of a lack of awareness about the country, he said.
“Dominica is a country I so badly want to call home,” The Oval resident said.
“However with a mind filled with unconfirmed truths, myths and warnings bestowed upon me by Dominican-born members of my family, I developed dangerous preconceptions of our island’s history and culture.”
“I was told that Dominica wasn’t a place for young people, that it was boring, difficult to travel around and that because of French and English colonial influences it had lost its original culture.”
He said this discouraged him from visiting and he urges the council to help people who are in a similar position.
“There’s never been any evidence of politicians connecting in any way,” he said.
“It’s about raising awareness at an educational level to fulfil the purpose of raising cultural awareness of global communities.”
He said he feels this is not being done enough and is calling for cultural activities promoting information about Dominica through the borough’s clubs.
In his film, iD, he visits his parent’s home for the first time to commemorate the 10th anniversary of his father’s passing.
He hopes the film will give others a better sense of their heritage.
“I hope to inspire others who’ve not been to their country of origin to take that leap of faith,” he said.
The Twinning Association’s objectives are to promote friendship, information exchange and a mutual understanding of cultural, recreational and commercial activities of the linked areas.
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