Though some members were present during a welcoming reception in his honor last month at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center in Brooklyn, representatives and friends of the umbrella Vincentian group in the United States, Council of St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Organizations, U.S.A. Inc. (COSAGO), on Sunday officially welcomed newly-appointed St. Vincent and the Grenadines Consul General to the United States, Rondy “Luta” McIntosh.
McIntosh, a popular Vincentian soca artiste, assumed the new position on Aug. 1.
The Brooklyn-based COSAGO on Sunday evening warmly welcomed McIntosh and his wife, Semone, in a small “Meet and Greet” ceremony at the Canarsie, Brooklyn residence of COSAGO executive member Celia Bramble.
Bramble is a retired registered nurse, a former associate executive director of nursing education at the expansive Kings County Hospital in the heart of the Caribbean community in Brooklyn, and a retired colonel in the US Army Reserve.
“This group of COSAGO people, I don’t know if they know the word ‘no’”, said Bramble in her brief introductory remarks Sunday.
“We’re here to help you to do the best and to ensure you’re the best,” she told McIntosh before leading attendees in raising their glasses to “cheers”.
Stating that not all members of the 15-odd organizations that comprise COSAGO were present, COSAGO President Laverne McDowald-Thompson said the umbrella group “just wanted to provide this opportunity” to meet with McIntosh.
“We love you wholeheartedly,” she said. “We’re from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but I can speak for love and unity. When we speak about St. Vincent and the Grenadines, we bend over backwards.
“We find it a joy to meet with you,” added McDowald-Thompson, pointing out that COSAGO had established good relations with previous Consuls General. “With you, we don’t want you to be any different.
“So, once again, congratulations!” she continued. “We have a very good supportive family.”
Later, McDowald-Thompson told Caribbean Life that it was “very important” that COSAGO “stand united” with the new Consul General, “as our aim is to foster closer cooperation on projects and events that have national significance in our homeland.
“We continue to pave the way for unity among Vincentians, as we work together here in the Diaspora,” she said.
Deputy Consul General Olson Dallaway told Sunday’s reception that the Consulate General has been “getting the support from COSAGO.
“We’ll give the support to the new Consul General,” he said. “We’ll go forward, because we’re here to plow the soil.
“We appreciate the folks coming out, and we’re prepared to work together,” Dallaway added.
McIntosh, who succeeds Howie Prince, said he’s in the US “to work with all,” stating that the Consulate General must welcome all nationals.
“Anyone who needs service from the Consulate must walk-in,” he said, hinting that “appointments only” will be dispense with. “I’m the person who likes to get involved.
“The workload is a lot, because there are so many issues that come to the Consulate – not just passports and birth certificates, repatriation,” added McIntosh, disclosing that he is already working on “a few things” in preparation for St. Vincent and the Grenadines Independence Anniversary on Oct. 27, such as flag-raising ceremonies at Brooklyn Borough Hall and in Newark, NJ.
“I’m here with you, I’m living with you, and we’re looking forward to working with you,” McIntosh continued.
Last month, he told a welcoming reception at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center that he wanted to have “open and frank” discussions with his compatriots in the US Diaspora.
Before coming to New York, McIntosh said that the reports he had received about Vincentians in the Diaspora was “painful”.
“One of the most frightening thing (s) for me coming to the USA as Consul General is how so many people will warn you about your own people,” McIntosh told the reception, which also served as a farewell to Prince. “That is not good.”
“We are one people and one common homeland, and we should be looking out for each other more,” added McIntosh, a former sales manager at the state-owned National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC).
“I want to socialize with my people,” he added. “I want to go out from the Consulate General and meet my people. I want to be who I am, with a little control. I want to walk with you. I am here to work with you. Call on me. I’m out-going.”