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GT: Dis & Dat: Reflections On Guyana’s Independence Celebration On Lower Manhattan

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    By Felicia Persaud Hardbeatnews, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. June 1, 2007: Thousands of hours of work later, with a small team, the support of a few sponsors and donors
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2007

      By Felicia Persaud
      Hardbeatnews, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. June 1, 2007: Thousands of hours of work later, with a small team, the support of a few sponsors and donors and an even smaller budget, we managed to pull off what we set out to do – to mark Guyana’s 41st independence anniversary in style in the powerful financial district of Lower Manhattan.
      Despite the lack of support in many quarters of the community – not to mention the blatant shunning of the event by many of the economically empowered businessmen in our community in Richmond Hill, - many of whom spend wildly to support political candidates outside of that black that can do nothing for them – we pulled it off.
      Not as any one particular group – but as Guyanese – Indo, Afro or whatever other labels the Guyanese community continues to use. It indeed showed the power of unity in diversity as was reflected in our committee and proved what I’ve preached my entire life – that if we think of ourselves as Guyanese and not only as part of some ethnic group, then we can truly achieve great things together
      For me, it was worth the while to see the Golden Arrow Head being hoisted just a few blocks from the New York Stock Exchange and I know that singer Almira Brasse’s accapella version of the Guyana national anthem only added to the pride that many, including Committee members, Chuck Mohan, Ron Bobb-Semple, Rickford Burke and Aleem Ally, felt in that powerful moment.
      Of course we could not have done it without the support of the Bowling Green Association, whose tireless work helped it come together in a big way; the Administrator of the General Services Administration in Washington and the entire staff of the Alexander Hamilton building in New York, our sponsors: Western Union, especially Garfield Comrie and Jennifer Cipriani-Nelson; Deluxe Delivery’s Mr. Ryan Ramnarayan; North American Airlines and Billy Braithwaite; Jack Bharat of AmeriFunding; Laparkan’s Glenn Khan and the entire marketing crew; and Ariana Development Group Of Companies’ Rafeek Baksh and cricketers, Sewdatt Shivnarine, Vishal Nagamootoo, Amin and Sudesh Dhaniram.
      Our donors: Roxanne Sookraj of Unique Professional Creations, J.R. Giddings, Edgar Henry, Wanda Fisher, Brand Caribbean LLC, Albert Baldeo, Ray Rafeek, Pat Jordan Langford, President, Guyana Tri-State Alliance, Golden Krust Bakery, Tota's Bakery, Sybil's Restaurant and Hollis West Indian Restaurant and core volunteers: Marina Sahadeo, Rawle Persaud, Allison Skeete, Jared McCallister, Hazra Alli, Wanda Fisher, Roger Gary, Rosalyn McLymont, Don Profitt, Djenny Passe Rodriguez, Stacia Weaver, Alexander Sahadeo, Sanjay Marray, Michael Haddaway, Maureen Moore, Andrea Mohan and Michael Jones also cannot be forgotten.
      Of course, for many, Guyanese American Hollywood actor Sean Patrick Thomas’ presence added the star power to the event as did the attendance of his wife, actress Anoika Laurent; Bollywood actor Kumar Guarav and boxer Vivian Harris. And one cannot forget the many Guyanese entertainers, who shut down Broadway and gave of their time and talent to celebrate this 41st anniversary.
      So thank you to veteran performer, John 'Slingshot' Drepaul, The Dheeraj Cultural Foundation's Ghungroos Dance School, Mr. H2o WataFlow; poets James Richmond and Francis Quamina Farrier; musical saw performer Moses Josiah; drummer Akoyah Rudder; The Verna Walcott Impressions Dance Theater and the Malini Bose-Shaw dancers of the Nritya Kala Kendra Inc., the Triad Group and of course Courtney Noel, Almira and Clifford John AND THE MEDIA and official photographer Hayden Roger Celestine and RolModel Media's Roland Hyde.
      The presence of many of our friends of Guyana, from the wider Caribbean and US communities, also added to the occasion. Most memorable was Counsels General Jessica Odle of Barbados, Dr. Harold Robertson of Trinidad, perhaps one of the most visible CG’s; and of course the new chair of the CARCIOM consul corp in New York, Grenada’s Ambassador Allen McGuire. And of course, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, newly sworn in Haitian Councilman, Mathieu Eugene, and Josh Sawislak, the senior advisor to the administrator of the US General Services Administration, who came especially from Washington for this event. Proclamations by New York City’s mayor, the Brooklyn Borough President and of course the Irvington New Jersey Mayor also added to the ceremony.
      Unfortunately, missing from this – really the only independence celebration for Guyana in New York on May 26th – was our own host counsel general, Hon. Brentnol Evans. Much to the chagrin of the Committee to Celebrate Guyana and the three CARICOM consuls general who had taken time out from their holiday weekend to be there.
      The first question from the consuls mouths to me was: “Where is the Guyana CG?” Of course I really had no answer and not even the presence from Washington of Guyana’s Ambassador, Bayney Karran, helped to quell this embarrassment.
      Because the truth is we really had no specific answer as to why our CG, who had given of his time – at least two full days during the planning of this event, to call and try to solicit local sponsorship support – would not show up at possibly the biggest independence event outside of Guyana.
      On Saturday, we were told that he had a late night at a New Jersey flag raising and could not make it in to the Sat. May 26th 11 am event. On Tuesday, he told me he had something else to do – this after he knew of this event since early April. But last Thursday he had already told my assistant, and subsequently me, that he did not think he could make it. So what is the real truth?
      What could cause our own CG to so foolishly miss the 41st independence celebration in his own backyard? We still are waiting for the real answer but the reality is that this morass in our leadership here in New York that continues to embarrass us among other CARICOM nations, should not be allowed to continue as is.
      The reality is that had any other consul general missed his or her own independence event, especially one of this nature, there would have been hell to pay. So why is the Guyanese community so silent on this and why have they been for so long?
      Who knows what the answer to that is but while there is no doubt that CG Evans is a warm, wonderful man, the New York Guyanese community needs a more powerful representative here who can make things happen, command respect and push Guyana to a level that other consuls, who are changed ever so often, have managed to do. Its time to step out from behind politics and really give Guyanese New Yorkers the leader they truly deserve in this powerful city of the world. – Hardbeatnews.com
      EDITOR’S NOTE: The writer is publisher of the Caribbean World News Network (caribworldnews.com), the only daily Caribbean Diaspora newswire. 

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