The Brooklyn-based Council of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Organizations, U.S.A. Inc. (COSAGO), the umbrella Vincentian group in the United States, on Sunday honored the Rev. Hoskins Prescott and the United Vincie Cultural Group of Brooklyn (UVCGB) during a gala ceremony marking the nation’s 39th anniversary of political independence.
“To the honorees, today, we salute you,” COSAGO’s president Laverne McDowald-Thompson told patrons, at Grand Prospect Hall in Brooklyn, at the anniversary luncheon. “Your significant contribution in humanitarian work and community service must not go unnoticed.”
Consul General to the United States Howie Prince also commended the honorees, saying that their “labors in the vineyard of this community have become legendary.”
He added that their “combined humanitarian philanthropic endeavors speak volumes.”
In his brief acceptance speech, Rev. Prescott, an Episcopalian (Anglican) priest, said it was “a privilege to receive this honor.
“I salute this organization (COSAGO), and it’s my hope that all of you will rally around this organization,” he added.
UVCGB president and co-founder Dr. Roxie Irish also gave “a very big ‘thank you’ to COSAGO.
“We do what we do because it is a blessing to others,” said the Youth Minister at Miracle Temple Ministries, an evangelical church in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, invoking partially UVCGB’s motto: “We’re blessed to be a blessing.”
Dr. Irish said her group intends to continue its mission, “because we believe, as Vincentians, charity begins at home.”
“As proud Vincentians, we were raised knowing that caring for the elderly and the children were our priority,” UVCGB said in the independence journal at the luncheon. “Everyone helped each other and everyone’s problem was a village problem.”
Founded in 2003, the Vincentian cultural group comprises about 20 nationals, of diverse ages and backgrounds, from the Vincentian Diaspora of New York and New Jersey.
UVCGB said its goals are primarily: To donate medical supplies and equipment to clinics and hospitals in St. Vincent and the Grenadines “in order to enhance healthcare in the country;” and to promote Vincy culture throughout North America and elsewhere, via, among other things, folk songs, chorale speeches, skits, storytelling, plays, poems and dancing.
The group performs at concerts, prayer breakfasts and Christmas Serenades, and, at the same time, helps raise funds for “donations to generally assist Vincentians everywhere, who are in dire medical or financial need.”
To date, UVCGB said it has hosted three medical mission trips to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where 40 clinics have been served.
The next mission trip will be in July next year, UVCGB said.
The group recorded and launched its first CD in 2017. All folk songs, except one, were composed by UVCGB members.
At an early age, Prescott said he was inspired by his “deeply religious, praying mother to engage in the life of the church.”
He said he, thus, served on the altar, became a Sunday School teacher, then superintendent of Sunday School and later a local preacher.
On migration to the US in 1979, Rev. Prescott said he immediately began working on training to become a priest, while employed at New York Presbyterian Hospital.
Besides his religious services in many churches in which he worked, Rev. Prescott said he has devoted “much time and energy in doing humanitarian work.”
Over the years, he has worked with COSAGO in helping to organize the annual Ecumenical Service of Thanksgiving, commemorating the nation’s independence anniversary.