Guyana’s First Lady Sandra Granger and Sita Nagamootoo, wife of Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, were guests of honor at the Women of Mission International (WOMI) empowerment Awards Gala on Friday, April 8 at the Glen Terrace, Brooklyn, where 10 Guyanese women of valor were honored.
The awardees included: Dr. Karen Godette, Guliana Jacobs, Bonita Montague, Elsa Kum, Joycelyn Wilson, JoAnne Williams-Carryl, Patricia Jordan-Langford, Lakshmee Singh, Paula Liverpool, Abbess Shirley Beaton.
During the outstanding evening of tributes, the 10 women were praised for their sterling contribution to Guyanese society, and presented with citations from Senator Roxanne Persaud, Community Service Certificates from Congresswoman Yvette Clarke’s office, and award statues from Women of Mission International (WOMI).
The event, attended by Guyana’s Consul General to New York Brentnold Evans, and CARICOM Ambassador to the United Nations Missouri Sherman Peters attracted a sold-out crowd of Caribbean nationals, who applauded First Lady Sandra Granger when she saluted the women for their grit, determination and achievements.
In her address to the women who came from a wide spectrum of professionalism Granger said, “These 10 women honored here tonight, came to a new land, found their purpose, and overcame many challenges to fulfill their destiny. Our lives are richer because of them, we are fortunate that they were true to their roots and never lost the essence of their “Caribbeaness,” their “Guyaneness.”
“I salute them for their dignity and fortitude. I thank the organizers for honoring our sisters in this lovely setting,” said Mrs. Granger, recipient of the Danny Glover Power of Dream Award.
Granger told the audience that women have made great strides and achieved much, particularly during the 20th century, but added that women still have miles to go.
She said despite the struggles many Guyanese women face, they have access to education and certain rights according to the law, even though there is a gap between legislation and implementation. She adds that some women live in poverty, and single mothers in particular, struggle to put food on the table for their children.
She condemned the violence women face on a daily basis in Guyana, be it, physical, psychological or verbal, that sometimes lead to their death at the hands at their assailants or by their own hand, through despair, adding, “Our young girls are victims of sexual violence, incest, rape or trafficking.”
Granger who, received a citation from Senator Roxanne Persaud, and accepted a Community Service Certificate from the office of Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, expressed concern for adolescent mothers in Guyana that leave school, and risk dying of maternal causes. To this end, she has established programs to combat poverty to improve the lives of young women, and the elderly.
“Women are strong, they believe in themselves, they set a path and follow it until they achieve their goals. I believe that each one of us has the power to change the world in which we live, regardless of race, creed, gender, age, or social status. By finding our passion and pursing it with dedications, we will meet the goals we set for ourselves.”
Nagamootoo while applauding the women for their significant achievements, compared the honorees to the female West Indian cricketers who she said, did not only win big, they also offered both leadership and inspiration for “our men who also won.”
“Our women knew their purpose, which was to excel and win, they are the shining examples of success that we all could emulate.”
In her eloquent presentation, Mrs. Nagamootoo said women no longer have to fight for their seat on the bus, Rosa Parks did that to become a gem of a good example, she demonstrated that our place is, and should always be upfront. Not only for women, all persons discriminated against, and dehumanized.
“In Guyana, I am proud to say that after a long fight women now occupy one-third of the seats of parliament, and several women ministers of our government, solicitors, judges, the chief magistrate are all women of worth and distinction,” said Nagamootoo.
The prime minister’s wife received loud applause when she praised the success of Guyana’s local government elections which resulted in a female mayor of Georgetown, Mayor Patricia Chase-Greene, and other female elected deputy mayors of various regions.
“We could soar to the skies, if we are determined, and know our purpose,” added Nagamootoo, who, was also presented with a Citation from Senator Roxanne Persaud, a Danny Glover Power of Dream Award and a Community Service Certificate from Congresswoman Yvette Clarke’s office.
Women of Mission International (WOMI), president, Linda Felix-Johnson accepted a citation from Senator Roxanne Persaud, on behalf of the organization.
Johnson-Felix in turn, presented Granger and Nagamootoo with plaques and thanked them for their contributions to the weekend of events.
She also thanked Caribbean Airlines for ensuring that the Guyanese visitors travelled in Premium Business Class to New York where they also addressed conferences on “Educating Women for Empowerment,” “Know Your Purpose,” and “Bridging The Gap Women’s Millennia” in Queens, and Brooklyn.
Caribbean Airlines Executive, Carl Stuart, who shared the first lady’s table, said the airline salutes WOMI and the honorees for their commitment to woman’s issues.
Women of Mission International with contributors, Ismay Griffith, Carol Archer, and others — is a non-for-profit organization that enhances the lives of women through social, cultural, economic, and educational programs.