Grenadians in ‘Big Apple’ celebrate 40th Independence Anniversary

Bronx-based City South Steel Orchestra of Antigua and Barbuda.

A very enthusiastic crowd of intergenerational Grenadians have joined in the celebration of Grenada’s 40th anniversary of political independence in Brooklyn, where the majority of Grenadians in the tri-state area reside.

The inaugural event, a “Social Evening”, at Holy Cross Church’s auditorium in Brooklyn, launched a series of activities to commemorate this significant milestone in the Spice Isle’s history.

The evening brought together Grenadians from all walks of life in Brooklyn, other New York City boroughs and other states.

“The first event was one which brought attention to the strengths of the parishes of Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique,” Grenada’s new United Nations Ambassador, Dr. Dennis Antoine, told Caribbean Life.

Antoine, a former Grenada ambassador to the United States and the Washington-based Organization of American States (OAS), noted that nationals “competed with pride to show which part of Grenada has contributed most” to the island’s development.

“Like St. Andrews, every village, community and parish in Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique contributes to its (island’s) uniqueness,” he added.

“What I am totally pleased about in the events which I have attended, there are expressions of pride and patriotism,” he said, disclosing that the other events he attended was the “Youth Festival” and “Caribbean Solidarity Night”, at the same venue.

Antoine said the “exuberant display of Grenadian symbols and colors, and the burst of eagerness in several generations of Grenadians to celebrate” were demonstrated at these events.

He said Grenadian culture and nationalism are “alive and well” in Brooklyn, adding that, when he sees very young children, of Grenadian parentage, born in the U.S., display awareness of Grenada’s history, values and culture, “it is truly a good feeling.

Grenada’s Quake U.S.A. performing during the Caribbean Solidarity Night at Holy Cross Church’s auditorium in Brooklyn.
Photos by Nelson A. King

“And, indeed, our government and families back home in Grenada remain fully aware of the valuable contributions which Grenadians in Brooklyn, other states of the U.S.A. and abroad make to benefit Grenada throughout the 40 years of independence,” the envoy said.

Grenadian nationals are celebrating the 40th anniversary under the theme, “Unifying Our People, Restoring Hope for a Brighter Tomorrow”.

Besides the “Social Evening”, “Youth Festival” and “Caribbean Solidarity Night”, a calypso competition took place at Tropical Paradise Ballroom, also in Brooklyn. Veteran calypsonian Val Adams, a former New York Independence Calypso Monarch, was adjudged the new Independence Calypso King.

On Saturday night, a “Youth Fete” took place at Plenty’s Paradise in Brooklyn, and the Annual Anniversary Church Service was held on Sunday afternoon at Beulah Church of the Nazarene in Brooklyn.

Other independence activities in Brooklyn this week included a “Senior Tea Party” and a flag raising ceremony at Brooklyn Borough Hall; and the grand Independence Ball, on Sat., Feb. 8, at Grand Prospect Hall in Brooklyn, at which Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell will be the featured speaker.

Grenadian and several Caribbean groups displayed their cultural attires and showcased their talent at the “Caribbean Solidarity Night” before diplomats from the respective countries.

The performers included the St. Lucia Folkloric Association; Barbadian poet Aja; Jamaica’s Braata Productions; Antigua and Barbuda’s City South Steel Orchestra of the Bronx; Dominica’s New Jersey-based “Know Your Culture”; Carriacou drummer; Beliee’s Garifuna Spiritual Society; the United Vincie Cultural Group of Brooklyn; and Grenada’s Quake, U.S.A.

Barbadian poet Aja.

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