The “Woman of the Year” award was presented to Barbara Atherly, consul general of Guyana to New York, by the Guyanese American Law Enforcement Association (GALEA), at the organizations inaugural Dinner and Dance Scholarship Gala, at Terrace on the Park in Queens.
GALEA, welcomed the best and brightest of the fraternity on Oct. 12, and presented the diplomat with the prestigious honor for her extensive work as an educator, international civil servant in the United Nations, and for her support to the multicultural Guyanese Diaspora.
Mrs. Atherly, who was appointed consul general in 2016, and worked to extend the services of the diplomatic office through outreach programs, town hall meetings, celebration of Guyana’s festivals and historic achievements, said she was humbled to be the initial recipient of the “Woman of the Year Award,” and saluted her fellow awardees New York Commissioner of Police James O’Neil, “Man of the Year” and Police Officer, Tonya Barry, “Cop of the Year.”
Her work ethics, she said was shaped by the strong spiritual and family values experienced throughout her childhood and reinforced by those professional values inculcated during her prolonged tenure as an international civil servant in the United Nations where there are very stringent guidelines for accepting gifts or awards in the line of duty.
“For me, the prize comes from knowing that I’ve done what is right in service to people, have grown in so doing that my integrity continues to be vital.”
She applauded the functions of GALEA as inspiring, noting it was born out of a tragic circumstance, and said the officers who choose to do positive outreach by dedicating their time and resources towards its mission of enhancing community relations between law enforcement and the community, have exercised notability in their work.
“Their work has touched the lives of the citizens of Guyana and strengthened the fabric of Guyanese through the Randolph Holder Jr. Scholarship, that continues to honor the life of the late detective whose dream of becoming a police officer was well accomplished, as he diligently carried out his duties with pride, principle and discipline.”
“I thank my family (sibling Verna, and my loving husband Michael who has taken time from his busy schedule to join me this evening); my friends for their strong support and putting up with my passion to serve,” added the diplomat.
President of GALEA, Deputy Inspector Rhonda O’Reilly-Bovell, congratulated the honorees, including scholarship recipients Jaden Haynes, Bingham University, and Satrohan Lall, Hunter College, and thanked the executive board for its dedicated work, as she welcomed the honorees and culture in policing. She reminded the gathering of the phenomenal strides the organization has made after being founded “out of tragedy.”
O’Reilly-Bovell said the Guyanese American Law Enforcement — the first national fraternal organization representing police officers of Guyanese descent, was created after the unfortunate line of duty death of Detective Randolph Holder Jr., a Guyana-born police officer.
“Our goal is to make sure that he is never forgotten, hence, we’ve established the “Randolph Holder Jr. Scholarship in his memory.”
She said GALEA works diligently to enhance community relations and build partnerships between law enforcement and the many communities in New York that is home to the Guyanese diaspora.
The group provides help to disadvantaged children living in the USA and Guyana, and serves as liaison between the NYPD and the Guyanese community.
The group is building bridges locally and internationally, by partnering with other law enforcement agencies and community organizations. GALEA also dedicates its efforts to increasing the number of law enforcement officers of Guyanese descent within the NYPD and other agencies to promote law enforcement that is more representative of the communities that it serves.
The group also encourages citizens to attend their local community council and Neighborhood Coordination Officer’s Build the Block meetings to learn about upcoming events.
Inspector Clinton McPherson, vice president, Police Officer Khyume Khan, secretary, Detective Mark Holder, treasurer, Sergeant Khamraj Singh, sargent of arms, Police Officer Mark Ellis, corresponding secretary, and Sergeant Wendel Seymour, financial secretary, comprise the executive board.