Six community stalwarts were honored Saturday night at Global Entertainment’s inaugural Grenada Independence Calypso Show and Dance at Tropical Paradise Ballroom on Utica Avenue in Brooklyn. Global Entertainment is owned by Wilbert Morain also known as “Third World.”
The honorees, who received City Council proclamations from Grenadian American Councilman Jumaane Williams, representative for the 45th Council District in Brooklyn, were: Popular radio personality Harold Pysadee; renowned entertainment producer Derek Ventour; Earl Steill; Heron Douglas; Cicely T. Mason; and Hoplin Lambert, owner of the popular band, Lambert and the Matadors.
The ceremony also featured nine-time Grenada Calypso Monarch, King Ajamu, as well as Inspector; Val Adams; Synah, reigning Road March King; Sugar Jay; Buddy; Cheryl V and Mr. Legz. They were backed up by Lambert and the Matadors.
“I accepted the award with great humility,” Ventour told Caribbean Life afterwards. “I take great pride in making my small contribution in the field of culture; and it’s also good that there are persons who recognize others for the difference they are making in the community.
“I do what I have to do, never thinking of getting awarded, but I do feel appreciated when such a contribution is recognized,” he added. “Thanks to all who made it possible.”
Pysadee said he was also humbled by the recognition bestowed on him by Council Member Jumaane Williams.
“I have much respect for Mr. Williams, who works tirelessly for the communities he represents,” he said. “So to be chosen for the award is truly an honor.”
Ventour’s has created an exemplary record, which is manifested in his ability and courage in bringing to the American stage aspiring theater groups and entertainers from Grenada and the other Caribbean islands.
He has established himself as an event strategist par excellence and continues to recognize individuals and organizations for their sterling contribution to their communities and countries.
Ventour has produced many firsts in his lifetime thus far. In 1991, he organized the New York Grenada Independence Calypso Monarch Competition; that same year, he invited the Royal Grenada Police Band to New York on a musical tour, reportedly the first military band from the Caribbean to leave its shores.
In the summer of 1997, he managed the Jamaican Olympic Bob Sled Team, which toured eight major U.S cities.
On Nov. 19, 1999, he introduced Miss Universe 1999 to the Caribbean-American community during his presentation of “Cultural Diversity” in Brooklyn.
In 2004, Ventour was the first Caribbean-American to organize an Independence Calypso / Soca Music Awards in recognition of Grenada’s 30th Independence celebrations, at which cultural artistes from the island were recognized for their outstanding achievement.
Among other things, Ventour negotiated and arranged to have the national flag of Grenada hoisted and flown atop the Empire State Building, from Feb. 4-8, 2004, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Grenada’s independence.
Pysadee has been a broadcaster, banker and philanthropist to Caribbean and American causes for most of his adult life.
A broadcaster for over three decades, Pysadee started as a popular voice on radio in Grenada in the 1980s, championing the cause of airing local artistes’ music.
On migrating to the U.S. in 1987, he was the host of the popular television show “CultureShare,” produced by Gentle Ben TV, from 1991 to 1996, which highlighted the presentation of live calypso performances and carnival celebrations in the Caribbean, North America and London.
From 1996 to present, Pysadee has been hosting the live radio show, “New York Connection” on Saturday mornings on GBN’s Klassic radio in Grenada and on the Internet on “Spice
Pyasdee unselfishly consents to be the Master of Ceremony of many Caribbean-American not-for-profit functions, viewing it as his way of giving back to the community.
Additionally, Pysadee has been a model and a mentor for many minority youths in the Brooklyn’s Caribbean-American and African-American communities, drawing from his experience and accomplishments as an assistant vice president at JPMorgan Chase, where he has been employed for 25 years.
Mason was a school teacher for nearly three decades, mostly in Grenada. She studied at the University of Liverpool, England, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Education.
She also holds an associate degree in business from a Continuing Education Program, “which helped her to be an efficient employee and an asset to her employer, the Bank of New York / Mellon, on Wall Street, where she was employed for over two decades,” according to her biography.
As a community activist, Mason devotes her time and expertise to the development and empowerment of both young and old alike.
She has earned several awards and citations for services rendered to communities in New York and Grenada.
Mason is the founder of the Grenadian-American Ex-Teachers Association, Inc. and the Miss Grenada / USA Pageant — which was established in 1992.
Stiell is the founder and managing director of Earley Travel Service, at 4912 Church Ave., Brooklyn.
Earley Travel Service has been in business since 1985, catering to the general, professional travel needs and services of all customers, most of whom are Grenadian-American and Caribbean-American.
Stiell has been joined in the travel business by his son, Earl Stiell, Jr., who assists with day-to-day management.
Stiell helps to promote Caribbean tourism and the beauty of the region to the US market. He also financially supports various charitable causes and mentors youths in the Caribbean-American community.
Douglas, nicknamed as “Rocking J”, is said to a promoter of the arts.
On migrating to the U.S., he pursued a bachelor’s degree in business management and paralegal studies. He also developed a passion for music and the Caribbean culture.
Douglas is the chief executive officer and founder of Rocking J Enterprises and Bernadine of Grenville Limited.
In the New York Tri-State area, he is a renowned musician, DJ and promoter of Grenadian and Caribbean culture.
Over the years, he has helped many Grenadian, Trinidadian and other Caribbean artistes through exposure and opportunity to migrate and perform in North America and England, among other places.
Grenadian calypsonians, such as Tallpree, Berbice, Skinny Banton, and Sugar J are beneficiaries.
Lambert is considered an accomplished musician, as well as mentor to many youths and adults in New York City community.
He migrated to the United States in 1967 and enlisted in the United States Army a year later, attaining the rank of Drill Sergeant in his six-year career.
Through the GI Bill, Lambert enrolled in the Technical Career Institute (TCI), where he studied air conditioning and refrigeration.
Today, Lambert is a successful, self-employed small business owner.
He is founder and band-leader of one of the most respected, continuously performing Caribbean-American orchestras, Lambert and the Matadors.
Established more than 40 years ago, Lambert and the Matadors comprise musicians from several Caribbean countries.