Guyana’s national flag, the Golden Arrowhead, was hoisted over City Hall in Irvington, NJ on Friday, Feb. 22, as Mayor Wayne Smith joined the Guyanese Association of New Jersey in celebrating their country’s 43rd anniversary.
The three-term mayor who calls himself an “honorary Guyanese,” remembered the historic event that took place on Feb. 23, 1970 and congratulated the nationals who he claims are making a “significant contribution” to the Irvington community, particularly former City Councilwoman and mayoral candidate Sandra Harte, dating back to almost 20 years. Stating that Irvington has a rich influx of Caribbean nationals, particularly from Guyana, Smith praised Ms. Harte for her dedication to her culture and for being instrumental in his election as president of the Municipal Council.
Smith also plays a significant role in attracting Caribbean nationals and Caribbean businesses to Irvington, and encouraging their membership in Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“The housing market is affordable for everyone and it’s a great place to do business, added Smith who plans to visit Guyana sometime in the future, and is eager to see the two countries forge a stronger relationship.
Molly Berry, executive officer at the Guyana Consulate, brought heartfelt greetings from Consul General Brentnold Evans, who was on diplomat duty and praised Mr. Evans’ dedication to the Diaspora to ensure the needs of expatriates are met. She also acknowledged the thousands of Guyanese who live in the US, noting that the consulate processes over 600 passports a week, and reassured them that that the diplomatic office is committed to providing support for the Guyanese people.
Ms. Harte, who is president of the Guyanese New Jersey Association, actively keeps the Guyanese culture front and center in Irvington. She started the organization with her late husband Charles, 18 years ago, with the aim of keeping Guyanese expatriates abreast of developments at home. As a result, nationals have benefited from panel discussions headed by prominent Attorney Colin Moore and representatives from all political parties.
Harte reiterates the importance for Guyanese-Americans to play an integral role in their country’s well-being, educating their America-born children about the country, and instilling in them a sense of pride for their homeland.