Public Relations Officer of ABAT
Antigua & Barbuda Association of Toronto. by Norman Hart
I recently spoke with ABAT Public Relations Officer Eric Delfish who told how in 1974 he joined as a volunteer steward with other recently arrived young single people and said ABAT was formed in 1967 as a not-for-profit community organization.
Eric Delfish“ It started in someone’s basement because of the need for the freshly landed ex-pats from Antigua to have an avenue to keep in touch with each other. “As more and more Antiguan families immigrated to Canada the Association grew and became an official organization.”
“The main purpose was to maintain and enrich the cultural heritage of Antiguans and Barbudans living in Toronto by initiating and promoting activities, also nurture the educational growth of young people in the community through programs, events and scholarships. We also assist individuals and groups during national disasters and times of need, whether here in Toronto, in Antigua and Barbuda or elsewhere.
ABAT provides a forum to discuss matters of interest to Antiguans and Barbudans in our society and to establish channels of communication between them and other Caribbean Communities and the Canadian society at large.
…. There are over 5,000 Antigua & Barbudans now living in Canada. We have around 50-60 paid members but that is not limited to financial members since we consider every Antiguan and Barbudan members.
ABAT is not as busy as it once was as many families move out of town and province and the 3rd generation aren’t so interested..it’s mostly the seniors that’s keeping it going…the big question is what’s happening to the youth? Why don’t they contribute?..
To help maintain the organization we have Membership fees and hold fund raising activities as there is no government funding as yet…but the possibility is there for any future projects.
“Some of our successful achievements include creating an active registered Emergency Relief Committee in case of emergency anywhere..
I got to direct The Cavaliers (named after Antigua’s famous rum) Netball club that was played at Greenwood Park…also The Cimba Soccer Club that plays at Thorncliffe Park. 1995 Volunteering for The Volcano relief efforts…Caribana Association 90’s organizer of the year Award… 2004 spearheaded Caribana entertainment team to Hong Kong with a lot of logistic work… for the last 10 years I have been the Director of the Toronto Caribana Junior Carnival with great support from families and friends of which 20,000 people regularly attend the parade in Scarborough.
I’m still very active and always ready to participate in a worthy cause…”