Consul General of Guyana, Barbara Atherly leads a colorful Mashramani-style parade during a 48th Republic celebration in New York City.
Photo by Tangerine Clarke

Barbara Atherly, consul general of Guyana to New York, told expatriates to be inspired by the vision of a united, democratic, and prosperous Guyana, during a magnificent, colorful 48th Republic Anniversary celebration, on Thursday, Feb. 23.

“Today, 48 years later, we as Guyanese should honor the struggles and sacrifices of past generations and resolve to build on progress already achieved,” she told a wide cross-section of the Diaspora, including Senator Roxanne Persaud, all who in unity, paid tribute to their country which became a Republic on Feb. 23, 1970.

Dressed in an African ensemble to showcase one of the six peoples of her heritage, GC Atherly made a commitment to serve expatriates in a professional manner through several initiatives, stating, “We at the consulate stand ready to support our Guyanese brothers and sisters in whatever way possible.”

The diplomat then dramatized Cheryl Winter’s poem “Mashramani” in Creolese.

This made way for a colorful, exciting and unified evening of the stirring African drums by Winston “Jaggae” Hoppy, Menes de Groit and Akoyaw. The exhilarating performances by Zaman’s Indian Expression of Unity in Diversity, and Kijama Lewis’ African Vibrations, brought the audience to its feet.

Expat Gail Nunes who travelled from New Jersey, enjoyed the Guyanese cultural expressions of Chardell and Chadeary Park’s “Oh Beautiful Guyana,” and Maurine Flores-Dilmohamed and Theodore Dilmohamed Amerindian mosh — symbolic to Guyanese, whose roots Nunes said were planted in the soil called home, and cannot be changed. “We need each other,” she said.

Many like Nunes who acknowledged that expats are drawn even closer to each other at events such as this — felt the diversity and unity — when Kish Seunarine expressive poet “Do Not Stare At Me” by Martin Carter reverberated, Mark Chung’s Reflection on Chinese Indentureship in Guyana, and Verna Walcott White’s choreography “The Spirit of Guyana,” performed by Victor Brown and Bobby Carter received loud applause.

By far the most diverse Republic celebration, as evident by the vibrant chutney melody performed by Novita Bissessar, Aaliyah Kishundat, Chandini Boodhoo, Moneish Boodhoo and Shantel Giaridh, Dennis France Dean song — “We God Oil” and Bedeyah’s “Poor Boy” — Guyana’s multiethnic spirit transcended into a phenomenal celebration.

Dr. Cheddi “Joey” Jagan’s reflection of his late father, former President of Guyana, Dr. Cheddi Jagan, was well received.

Thanks to shared emceeing by Claire Patterson-Monah and Paula Walcott-Quintin, and the captive audience, the show was brought to a crescendo with a kaleidoscope of costumes from Guyana’s vivacious six races of peoples.

The Mashramani dancing and waving of the Golden Arrowhead flag in a celebration of togetherness and enjoyment by all Guyanese wereheartwarming.

“A taste of Guyana” reception, followed.

The Republic Planning Committee President Patricia Jordan-Langford, applauded the group for the success of the event and acknowledged Guyana’s achievement. Beverly McDonald echoed theses sentiments in a vote of thanks.

The consulate thanked the Consul General of Trinidad and Tobago, Keva Clarke, and Rev. Helen John, Pandit Tillack Seerattan, Mercedes Pierre and Khyume Khan for blessing the proceedings.

It also thanked Trinidad and Tobago representative, A Capella Rkhty, for singing the national anthems of the United States of America and Guyana, and Chuck Mohan for making venue DC1707 available. Donoars, Edgar Henry, Carl Guillams. Dave WI Products, Bakewell Bakery Restaurant, Hibiscus Restaurant, Orrin Paradise Caterers, Faith Leaders, Tony Sing, DJ Mark Campbell, Oswald Bobb, Carl Anderson, Paintings, Yvonne Marcus-All Seasons Creations, and Clive Powell.

Costumes paraders: Brenda Locke, Jonathan Usha Ragnauth, Latisha Chester, and Phyllis Cort.

Planning committee members: Barbara Atherly, Venita Farrier, Claire A. Goring, Ann Narine, Claire Patterson-Monah, Lynette Marshall, Penelope Lambert, Pandit Tillack Seerattan, Paula Walcott-Quintin, Khyume Khan, Ave Marie Brewster, James Richmond, Rose October Edun, Rozanna Beaumont, Lita Inderjit, Lorraine Croft-Farnell, Cleveland Drepaul, Rhonda Binda, Errol Lewis, Charles Sugrim, Errol Lewis, and Jonathan Locke.

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