The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ex-Police Association USA, Inc. last Friday night honored four outstanding nationals and a business concern during its 36th anniversary banquet fund-raiser and awards ceremony at Tropical Paradise Ballroom on Utica Avenue in Brooklyn.
The Brooklyn-based group conveyed its Special Recognition Award on Vaughan Toney, president and chief executive officer of the Brooklyn-based Friends of Crown Heights Educational Centers.
The group’s former president, Godfrey Pitt, and current secretary, Berisford “Shuga” Latham, received the Diamond Award; and the Brooklyn-based Standard Shippers, Inc., whose owner is Gideon “Fessy” Yorke, received the Corporate Citizenship Award. Ex-police officer Charles Jordan received the President Surprise Award.
The Special Recognition Award, which is conveyed on a non-member of the association, is bestowed on someone who has played a “significant role in empowering individuals within the Vincentian/American community,” the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ex-Police Association USA, Inc. said in its souvenir journal.
The Diamond Award recognizes members of the association, who have “demonstrated a passion for community service to the development of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and in particular members of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force and Ex-Police Associations,” and have “dedicated time, energy, financial and other personal and professional resources towards this passion.”
The Corporate Citizenship Award “recognizes a member of the corporate society who has made significant contribution to St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force and Ex-Police Associations towards achieving their goals and has demonstrated good corporate citizenship within the Vincentian community as a whole,” the association said.
It said the recipient of the President Surprise Award recognizes “an unsuspecting member of the organization who has performed beyond the call of duty, resulting in the recruitment of at least two new members over the past 12 months,” and has “contributed significantly to the success of the 36th anniversary celebration of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ex-Police Association USA, Inc. 2016.”
“I want you to know that I very much appreciate this recognition here tonight,” said Toney after receiving the award from ex-police officer Malethia Joseph. “Tonight, I’m honored, I’m humbled, and I’m inspired for the work you’re doing.”
Pitt, a former Brooklyn resident, now living in Georgia, said: “My mother always said to us, ‘if you’re doing something, do your best.’
“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father, who is in Heaven,” said Pitt on receiving the award from ex-SVG Police Detective Corporal Orton Guy, quoting a popular scripture. “Don’t keep your light under a bushel.
“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength,” added Pitt in continuing Biblical quotes, prompting Master of Ceremonies Hailes Castello to quip afterwards that Pitt was taking spiritual lessons in Georgia. “If feel like an eagle, and we’re going to fly.”
Lorna David, an ex-police officer, assistant secretary of the association and Registered Nurse, presented Latham with his award.
“I just want to thank my former police officers for recognizing me,” said Latham tersely, who has over 40 years of law enforcement experience, in receiving the award.
Entertainment promoter Atiba Williams received the Corporate Award on behalf of Yorke, saying that Standard Shippers, Inc. “will continue to assist all the NGOs (non-governmental organizations in the Diaspora.”
Jordan, indeed, expressed much surprise in receiving the President Surprise Award from Arden Tannis, the current ex-police association president.
“I’m really, really surprised,” he told Caribbean Life afterwards. “I’m really honored, and I’ll continue to serve.”
Don Providence – a former elementary school teacher in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, ex-general manager of O.D. Brisbane & Sons and extant owner of AI Real Estate, one of the older real estate companies in St. Vincent and the Grenadines – delivered the keynote address at the gala ceremony that was also addressed by New York Counsel General Selmon Walters and president of the Brooklyn-based Council of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Organizations, USA, Inc. (COSAGO) Laverne McDowald-Thompson.
In focusing on the role of NGOs, Providence said they control over US$100 billion globally, adding that, while, totally independent of government, NGOs play key roles in society.
He also urged patrons to continue contributing to nation-building, using a popular quote from slain US President John F. Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
Kennedy (1917-63), the 35th President of the United States, also said in that famous quote on patriotism: “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable,” he added. “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate. As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
“A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on,” Kennedy continued. “Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly. Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind. Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”
Tannis said the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ex-Police Association USA, Inc.’s motto is “Staying together to Serve,” adding: “And tonight, we’re staying together to serve for another 36 years.”