Lester E Taylor lll, newly-elected mayor of East Orange, New Jersey, said it was an honor to commemorate Guyana’s 48th Independence in the City of East Orange, a community that boasts the second highest population of Guyanese Americans in all of the United States.
Looking out at a sea of Caribbean flags that littered the tarmac of City Hall, the politician called on the diverse gathering to applaud the large Guyanese population that call the city their new home.
The politician, reminiscing about 1966 when Guyana was freed from British rule, outlined the significance of the five colors of the Golden Arrowhead, Guyana’s flag, and the role it played in the country’s journey towards development.
“I want to thank everyone for coming out to celebrate, and for being a part of this great event, said Taylor, who added that his wife, mother-in-law and children are all Guyanese.
“Guyana and its people are warm and inviting,” he added.
The elected official promised that his council and staff would make a continued effort to improve the lives of all residents of East Orange.
President of Guyana Donald Ramotar, extended Independence greetings in a written statement to the Guyanese residents of East Orange. He told the expatriates that their county was proud of their achievements.
“Guyana deeply values the ongoing commitment and contributions citizens make to their homeland,” the message states.
Activist Colin Moore, in turn, spoke of the pride he felt when then Lieutenant Desmond Roberts of the Guyana Defense Force, pulled down the British Union Jack flag after 172 years, and hoisted the Golden Arrowhead, that soared like an eagle over the magnificent Demerara sky.
“I remember feeling exhilaration, and national pride as we sang the national anthem,” said Moore.
“We have come today to recapture that pride,” added Moore, who in his remarks spoke of Guyana’s past struggles and for a better tomorrow.
Community Liaison Molly Berry extended greetings from Consulate General Brentnold Evans, while Dr. Sandra Harte, who pioneered flag raising in Irvington, NJ, lauded the committee for their efforts.
President Ira Lewis, and Executive Secretary Allison Butters-Grant and Tricina Sobers of the Guyana American Heritage Foundation Inc., then joined Mayor Taylor and Guyanese American veterans Selton and Damon Shelton in hoisting the flag over City Hall at the 8th Annual ceremony.
A multi-cultural presentation that included renditions by Masters Isiah Williams and Marlon Soloman, drum salutes by Akoya Rudder and Menes DeGroit engaged the crowd in merriment.
The Omega International Dance School, East Orange Cheerleaders and Satia D. Baijnath also celebrated Guyana’s freedom.
Mayor Taylor handed out certificates of Appreciation to Master Drummer Menes DeGroit, Colin Moore and others who made contributions to the community.
Dr. Megan Massay Pandit Suresh Sugrim and Ashraf Latif blessed the evening’s proceedings, while “Frankin Bobby Veira did Emcee duties.