Big Bajan party for New York

Director of Public information, Pat Parris.
Photo by George Alleyne

New York is expected to see a mass assembly of Barbadians at month end as these island people from all parts of the USA and Canada come together for a party that traditionally serves as a meeting and catch-up event back in their Caribbean home.

The venue is Nazareth High School on 475 E. 57th Street, Brooklyn, where on Aug. 31 the Barbados government will be sponsoring the ever popular social event and dance party combination, ‘Q in the Community’, with the intention of bringing together as many as possible Bajans resident in North America.

Organised by the state-owned CBC television station in collaboration with various bar owners or event sponsors, ‘Q in the Community’ has over the years gained tremendous popularity across the island as the TV station broadcasts the meeting of sometimes thousands of Bajans and visitors who socialise, sing in Karaoke competitions and dance the night away.

The month end to-do in Brooklyn will not be the first such event in NY as the social and dance party was taken on a North American tour including the tri-state before, but government is pushing this one for an opportunity to deliver a message to Bajans – come home next year.

Organiser behind this NY ‘Q in the Community’ is Barbados government’s Director of Public Information, Pat Parris, who has teamed up with one of the islands most popular schools, Combermere, to sponsor the event.

Paris told Caribbean Life that they are capitalising on traditional Labour Day festivities, which bring to NY Caribbean people from across North America. Members of the Combermere Old Scholars Association resident in North America have been passing around the word about the ‘Q in the Community’ event.

She said that the idea is to use ‘Q in the Community’ to steal away Barbadians for that Saturday evening between 2pm and 10pm.

The occasion’s attraction will be given a major boost with the presence of Bajan entertainer and CropOver 2015 triple crown winner, Peter Ram.

Within that massive socialisation event Parris and Barbados’ Consul General to NY, Mackie Oral ‘Mackie’ Holder, along with other officials will be telling Bajan-Americans and Bajan-Canadians about their islands ‘Vision 2020: We Gatherin’ programme that spans the whole of next year.

The aim of ‘We Gatherin’ is to encourage Barbadians living abroad to come home during whatever part of the year that is convenient for a bonding.

Starting with the parish of St. Lucy having responsibility for January, each of the island’s 11 parishes will host entertainment activities for a month with St. Michael accounting for November, also marks Barbados independence anniversary.

In December the entire nation will come together to host a big bash that incorporates traditional Christmas celebrations.

At the launch of ‘We Gatherin’ preparations in February Prime Minister Mia Mottley said “2020, my friends, is about that conversation…telling our story, sharing our passions, coming home for that inspiration…. 2020 is about making that difference to your old primary school or making that difference to the church that helped nurture you in your parish. 2020 is about families recognizing that time on this earth is way too short and we need to get together a little more”.

“Coming together in 2020 isn’t about a single moment in time, but it is about a process. It is about the building of a nation from St. Lucy to St. Philip, from the west coast to the east coast…. 2020 must be about defining who we are as that one people, in this one space,” she said.

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