Queens Borough President Melinda Katz hosted for the fourth time a fitting tribute to Guyanese as they celebrate their country’s 53 Anniversary of Independence. The event was held at the Helen Marshall Cultural Center in Queens Borough Hall, named for the late, first African-American Borough President of Guyanese roots.
While the Borough president could not be there to enjoy the celebration herself, Guyanese American cultural affairs director, Mohamed Hack, served as host for the evening event, which showcased Guyana’s rich cultural heritage.
Hack welcomed expatriates, to where he called the headquarters of 190 countries with 200 languages. “We live very happy and respectful of each other here in Queens, Guyana has six races of people, so I ask Guyanese to inculcate this.”
“Our consul general and others are trying very hard to bring Guyanese together. The time is now. We need to see our native land sparkle in the world,” he urged the gathering, while boasting about Guyana’s upcoming wealth from oil reserves.
Consul General of Guyana to NY, Barbara Atherly, in turn, thanked the Borough President, Melinda Katz and the Independence Planning Committee for inviting her office to share in the celebrations of the Republic’s 53rd Independence Anniversary, calling on residents of Queens to be more supportive of events such as this.
“Guyana has made positive strides since attaining Independence in 1966 and continues to develop daily,” she said.
“We should be encouraged to be good examples to the younger generations, our leaders of tomorrow. We, Guyanese at home and in the Diaspora can help in nation building by contributing to the social and economic prospects and expanded opportunities. This is a time for national unity, solidarity and a restoration of our beautiful Guyana for all Guyanese,” said the CG.
“As we celebrate our 53rd Independence Anniversary, let us salute those that fought for our independence and move forward with purpose. There is no challenge that could withstand the strong resolve of our nation. Let us promote unity and integrity to demonstrate the true meaning of our motto — One People, One Nation, One Destiny,” she said Happy Independence to you all!
During the celebration, nationals, Rozanna Beaumont, Lloyd Judah, Romesh D. Kalicharran (posthumous), Shri Devi Mandir, and Pastor James Richmond were presented with citations from the Queens Borough President’s Office, for their sterling contributions to their community.
Independence Committee members Bena Angilini, Anup Ramnath, Mohamed Salim, and Malini Shah, made the presentations.
Pastor James Richmond, City of Refuge SDA, Pandit TilakdharrySeerattan, of the Shri Devi Mandir, and Imam Mohamed IIham, Masjid Ar-Rahman prayed for Guyana, followed by a Color Guard presentation, by Guyanese-born, NYPD Officer Khyume Khan and APO Urmela Autar of the NYPD Desi Society, and Guyanese Law-Enforcement Association (GALEA).
The highlight of the evening however was the vibrancy that overtook the 11,000 Sq. ft. space of the historic cultural center, included a vivacious Bollywood Fusion, by jeweled, Zaman, Chandani Singh, and Kayla Kumar, whose pieces, garnered loud applause.
Young dancers, Navidta Bissessar, Chandani Singh & Menessha Boodhoo, of the Abinaya Dance Group in colorful costume, took to the stage in a rhythmic, hip-movement, feet stamping choreography that mesmerized the audience.
Cayla Kumar, Miss New York’s Outstanding Teen 2018, also dazzled the Guyanese audience with an exciting dance movement.
Showcasing the diversity of the Guyanese culture, Impressions Dance Group, enthralled patrons with an African tempo of high jumps, splits, and twists.
Spoken-word poet, James Richmond, who was also presented with a Certificate of Recognition from the Office of Mayor, Bill de Blasio, and who continued to captivate audiences with poems of his native land, teamed up with artistic drumming genius, Akoyaw Rudder, and dancer, Carol Callender, for the poem, Oozing Oil, a tribute to Guyana’s oil discovery.
Emcees Neema Jadubans and Claire Patterson-Monah, like performers, and Anthony Alleyne, who sang the Guyana national anthem, left the legendary cultural center felling gratified that they had an opportunity to celebrate their magnificent culture, with enthusiasm and pride.
The Independence Committee would also like to thank Impreet Rattuof the ROTC, and Arsatan Mohamed, former broadcaster, for his walk down Guyana’s memory lane, and all others who made the event a success.