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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, July 24, 2024


May 22, 2002 – The inclusion of the U.S. Virgin Islands as part of a newly launched "Caribbean reunion" web site means islanders worldwide now have access to a venue for establishing contact with long-lost family and friends.
However, while the site has more than 130 members so far, no one has registered from the V.I. as yet.
The web site is the brainchild of Clarence "Ben" Benjamin of Grenada, currently a deputy headmaster at a London school. Benjamin had noticed a mushrooming of successful reunion sites but felt none catered to the needs of people like himself, living away from home for nearly 30 years, yet wanting to rekindle old ties.
"I miss the warmth, and I'm not just referring to the climactic sense — I miss the warmth of the Caribbean people," Benjamin said.
And so, over dinner last year with neighbor Gary Docherty, who handles the technical aspects of the site, the idea was born. The Go limin' site, which Benjamin describes as "warm, friendly and very readable," was launched on May 5.
Serving more than 25 English-speaking Caribbean islands, the site features search facilities in five categories (primary school, secondary school, college/university, place of worship, place of work), a message board, and notification when friends become registered members. A free partial membership is available to anyone wishing to register, and annual full membership is $7.95. Full membership allows contact notes to be sent to invite correspondence with friends.
"'Go limin' is a statement symbolizing the freedom to go socializing and is an offspring of that freedom," according to Benjamin, who as a registered member is hoping eventually to hear from old school friends.
Although they are an ocean away from the Caribbean, he and Docherty got the site up and running with the help of family and friends in the islands and by compiling any available information.
" We loaded as much as we could to kick-start the site," Docherty said. However its success ultimately depends on its ability to attract members, who by joining it will supply specific information to its database.
The two partners, who currently fund and run the site themselves, say they hope to target members of alumni associations and the Board of Education in the territory. "The Virgin Islands was very American-based," Benjamin said. "We found it extremely difficult to find information on institutions in the V.I."
Benjamin set aside plans to include French-speaking islands in the database for now, because he felt it might be "overambitious" at first. "I thought it would be useful to start out with islands which were similar in education systems and culture like our British Islands," he said.
The site states that it has been "developed from a socio-cultural perspective rather than a geographical one," and therefore includes Guyana. Unlisted islands cannot be "added" to the site currently, but it states that "all requests will be given consideration." Benjamin said, "It is not exclusive at all."

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