The Brooklyn-based Vincentian-American Independent National Charities, Inc. (VINCI) on Sunday honored two nationals and an organization at the group’s 35th Annual Gala Awards and 39th Independence Celebration of St. Vincent and the Grenadines at El Caribe Country Club in Brooklyn.
The group bestowed the honors on veteran mas producer Wesley Millington, Democratic political executive Veronica Phillips and rising group VincyCares.
VINCI’s president, Wayne Ragguette, said Millington was honored “for keeping the culture alive and making sure we are represented each year on Eastern Parkway.”
He said Phillips’ “early work with striders club [SVG] to her present work with her church and political club have been consistent throughout the years,” adding: “We appreciate her contributions.”
On VincyCares, Ragguette, also a political consultant in Brooklyn, said: “We find, at this time, no organization more deserving to be honored with this award than VincyCares.
“VincyCares bio will speak for itself,” he added. “No one can argue, in their short existence, they have done exemplary work for SVG (St. Vincent and the Grenadines) and the community at large.”
Ragguette said the annual awards are “not only a reflection of what one does but an encouragement to continue the good work.
“So, we honor all of honorees for continuing their philanthropic work – deeds that will benefit our homeland and the community that we live in,” he said.
Millington – founder and president of the Brooklyn-based, 25-odd-year-old Mas Productions Unlimited, the lone Vincentian mas band in Brooklyn – was gracious for the award, stating that he has been a supporter of the group for many years and was enlisted by his late father, a former mas producer himself.
“I really appreciate this award, and I pledge I’ll continue to be a supporter (of VINCI),” he said.
Ragguette said Phillips – an assistant the Brooklyn-based Progressive Democrats Political Association (PDPA) president and founder Dr. Una S.T. Clarke, a former New York City Councilmember – was unable to personally accept the award because of a surgical procedure. Trinidadian Thelma Moore, PDPA treasurer, accepted on her behalf.
“I feel honored that she asked me to pick up the award,” Moore told Caribbean Life afterwards. “Veronica deserves it.
“She works very hard to promote St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Moore added. “She works very hard in keeping her country in the spotlight, promoting the culture, the food.”
VincyCares’s president, Gillian Arthur, said her group was “indeed humbled to receive this recognition.”
“Nine years ago, we started the VincyCares family to support financially disadvantaged students entering secondary school (in St. Vincent and the Grenadines),” she said. “With the help of Vincentians in the Diaspora and at home, we now facilitate 13 scholarships.
“To quote one of our board members, ‘it takes a village,’” Arthur added. “We are the village.
“To Vinci, congratulations on your 35th anniversary; we wish you success as you continue helping to build our nation.,” Arthur continued. “To our fellow honorees, congratulations! Let us continue supporting our nation! All our board members could not be here today, but we stand together to say thank you for this award.”