Pair develop strategy to promote a safe and peaceful Grenada
August 24, 2017
Grenada is one of the safest countries in the Caribbean.
There were just nine homicides last year, but the first made headlines around the world when 39-year-old American tourist Jessica Colker, who was walking on a deserted beach with her husband, was murdered on January 24.
A suspect was arrested 24 hours later after surrendering at a police station and charged with the homicide.
Nearly 3,890 kilometres away in Toronto, Kimron Corion was very concerned about the narrative constructed online in the wake of the gruesome murder.
“What we were seeing was not what we know to be a true representation of our birth country,” said Corion who graduates in October from Ryerson University with a Master’s in digital media. “We knew there was going to be some backlash, but what we didn’t anticipate was the high level of negativity and negative press that Grenada received because of that isolated incident which we in no way condone.”
What was even more disturbing to Corion was that it was Grenadians who were helping to spread the inaccurate narrative.
“I saw postings from individuals purporting to be Grenadians that the country is a dangerous place and one person even went so far to write that they were attacked by rebels and had to be rescued by the Army,” he said. “Grenada doesn’t have rebels or an Army.”
Less than two weeks after the murder, Corion acted.
He and his business partner, Trisha Mitchell-Darius, launched ‘I am Grenadian’, a multimedia platform for human interest stories. It was unveiled on February 7, 2016 to coincide with the country’s 42nd independence anniversary.
“We created a transmedia strategy project that will accurately reflect what Grenada really is,” he said. “We are highlighting our human resources which are the people you will interact with on a daily basis when you go to Grenada. This is not a feel-good project to promote the country. These are stories of people who have overcome challenges and are succeeding, those who are still trying to overcome hurdles and others who are simply doing great things without getting the recognition they deserve.”
Corion said Grenada has a lot to celebrate and be proud of.
“It’s a place with white sandy beaches and people who love their music and are fun-loving,” he pointed out. “I am not saying that we are perfect, but we are not what the international media made us out to be after that murder. When I turn on the television in the evening, the lead story most of the time has to do with a stabbing, a shooting or some violent encounter. This is coming from the same media outlets that are trying to demonize Grenada and that’s not right.”
Individuals with stories or story ideas can submit them to Corion at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Though Canada has been his home for the last four years, Corion still has fond memories of his time in Grenada, including the first day as an undergraduate student at T.A Marryshow Community College.
On September 7, 2004, Hurricane Ivan pummelled the island damaging 90 per cent of the homes and causing widespread destruction.
The college re-opened nearly six months later and Corion completed the school year pursuing business studies before successfully applying for a government scholarship to study economics at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Learning in Mexico City.
Before entering the classroom, he spent five months learning Spanish.
“I love challenges,” he said of the move to study in a foreign language. “I picked up Spanish easily and am now fluent in it.
Graduating in 2010, Corion returned to Grenada and worked in a credit union as a branch supervisor before migrating with his Canadian-born wife, Avril Samantha Corion.
“She was raised in Grenada, but she wanted to come back here because she felt there were more opportunities and this is a great place to raise a family,” he said. “I complied with the request, started a freelance business working with small and medium size businesses helping them to build brand awareness and returned to the classroom.”
The couple has a six-month-old daughter.
Corion said making the switch from economics to digital media was necessary.
“The internet has provided an opportunity for people to pursue their dreams on their own terms,” he said. “…I believe that digital media is truly changing the entrepreneurship game and can be the difference between a business succeeding or failing. I want to use digital media to help small and medium-sized businesses level the playing field between them and larger organizations so they can go from the unknown to the well-known online.”
Last June, Corion was among four Grenadians that made the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) inaugural 30 Under-30 entrepreneurial list. There were 132 applicants from the nine OECS member states -- Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, Grenada, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Montserrat, Martinique and the British Virgin Islands.
The winners received a certificate from their respective governments who supported the initiative. They will also receive professional business support from business development professionals to help grow their enterprises.
The cohort will be guided by the OECS competitive business unit under a business mentorship program to aid their professional and business development skills, technical assistance in sourcing markets for their products and services and financial assistance.
“At the centre of this effort is youth development,” said OECS director general Dr. Didacus Jules. “The youth demographic is among the most disadvantaged segment of the population characterised by unacceptably high rates of unemployment. Therefore, youth empowerment and entrepreneurship must be a priority if we are to drive the change we all seek.”