After months of intense preparation, meetings, emails and phone calls flying back and forth, taking into account different time zones – and a lot of rain – the 2-day Global Goans Convention and Festival (22-24 July) finally dawned bright and clear.

The level of support and teamwork, not only from within the Board of Directors but also from family members, friends and other volunteers, was tremendous and key to what eventually became a successful event.  Feedback on the Convention – from across a range of people – dwelled upon our professionalism and timekeeping, the quality of speakers and their admirable and fearless delivery of their presentations, the range of literature available to view and purchase, the spacious venue (the Indian Gymkhana Club) and the extremely generous and tasty buffet table and availability of refreshments throughout.

The Hon Commissioner for NRI Affairs, Mr Eduardo Faleiro, ably reassured all present of the good intentions of the NRI Office to address, inform and put right any concerns of Goans outside of Goa and he was supported by a very intensive presentation from Mr U D Kamat, Director of NRI Affairs.  The Indian High Commissioner’s representative – Mr Shrivastava – also gave a good deal of helpful information for people concerned about visas etc.  We were grateful to be given the opportunity of listening to the eminent speakers, each covering extremely interesting subjects ranging from what Goan organisations elsewhere are involved in, the fight for the liberation of Goa, to the shocking and eye-opening mining exploitation in Goa.  The audience was very appreciative of the chance to ask questions and equally reassured on the most part by the responses.

The Convention concluded with the Annual Festival – which had 2 firsts this year.  One being the new venue at Cranford, Middlesex and the second, the guest appearance of Goa’s acclaimed nightingale, Lorna.  Again, the consensus from all who attended or viewed publicity pictures was that it was a most enjoyable event, with a wide range of stalls and entertainment to keep everyone on their toes and palates satisfied.  There were also 45th Anniversary brochures given on entry and souvenirs available to purchase.  The downside was the total disregard by many, to help keep the grounds clear of litter and mess – something which the organisers will ensure is not repeated next year.   In fact, the President of the GOA and a group of stalwarts were on the grounds early the next day tidying up, and returning these back to a pristine condition, as well as being on hand to oversee the collection and return of the hired portaloos, stage, marquees and children’s fairground.

A number of lost items were handed in to the GOA stall and anyone with a missing item, should contact us by email, giving us its full description.

The GOA Board of Directors is very grateful to all those who contributed in any measure by way of support, time, effort, assistance before, during and after the Convention and the Festival.   The list is long but your input certainly helped to smooth the way forward.

The presentation of the Global Goans Convention award to the GOA President at the Festival – in the presence of the Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP – was a very pleasant gesture and well-received.

Anita Rebello