Organizers say Guyanese pride will be on full display when the New York Diaspora unites for one celebration of Guyana’s 52nd Anniversary of Independence from June 3-10 in Brooklyn.
The celebration will be held under the theme, “Celebrate Guyana to the World.”
Nevlon Duguid, director of communications for the organizing group, Guyana Independence Celebration Committee (New York), said the annual event is the second largest West Indian celebration in New York, after the Labor Day Carnival parade.
He said the historic 2016 jubilee celebration attracted over 20,000 Guyanese, while over 10,000 attended in 2017.
“Our website has received over four million hits,” Duguid said. “Interest has peaked astronomically this year. We expect to mobilize a greater number of Guyanese in 2018.”
A delegation from the Guyana Independence Celebration Committee (New York) — including chairman Rickford Burke, vice chairwoman Rhonda Binda, treasurer Sharimn Prince, counsel Edward Meertins-George and Duguid — met with Guyana’s Consul General to New York, Barbara Atherly, on Friday “to synchronize celebration plans,” Duguid said.
Atherly was accompanied by Samantha Hodges, executive officer in the Diaspora Affairs unit, and Loraine Farnell, of the Consulate.
“The Consul General and Committee agreed to work closely together to create synergies that promote unity and to engender national cohesion,” Duguid said.
“Cognizant that the Diaspora must adopt a united approach to celebrate our common culture, the Committee and Consul General further agreed to partner, as well as work jointly with other Diaspora organizations, to ensure a successful Independence celebration,” he added.
The celebration comprises an Independence Thanksgiving Service on May 20; Flag Raising Ceremony on June 3; Independence Parade (Mashramani in New York) on June 3; Unity Concert on June 3; Independence Festival on June 9; and Independence Cup Soccer Tournament on June 10.
Duguid said the committee has invited President David Granger, Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, Minister of Social Protection Amna Ally, Minister of Education Nicolette Henry, Minister in the Ministry of Natural Resources Simona Broomes, Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson, Attorney General Basil Wiliams, Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman, Minister of Telecommunication, Cathy Hughes, Director of Sports Christopher Jones, Georgetown Mayor Patricia Chase-Green, and Linden Mayor Carwyn Holland, among others.
In keeping with the group’s commitment to honor members of the Disciplined Services of Guyana each year, Duguid said the Committee has invited five members of the Guyana Defense Force.
He said “these ranks will partner with Guyanese-American counterparts in the United States Armed Forces to perform the ceremonial honors at the events.
“We have also invited several national soccer players from Guyana, as well as the president of the Guyana Football Federation, Mr. Wayne Forde, to participate in the soccer tournament,” Duguid said.
He said the concert will be headlined by an international reggae superstar, who will be announced in April at the Committee’s 2018 media and public relations campaign roll out.
Other artists slated to perform include Carib Soca Monarch Brandon Harding, chutney star Terry Gajraj, Soca stars Jumo Primo, Adrian Duchin, Blaze Antonio, Travon Vibez and Melissa Vanilla Roberts.
Recording artists Eddie Neblet, Kapa Shanti, Lisa Punch, Jihnny Go Figure and others will also appear.
They will be accompanied by Guyanese-owned Angel’s Caribbean Band, Duguid said.