In an elaborate ceremony at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College, the Brooklyn-based St. Vincent and the Grenadines Diaspora Committee of New York, Inc. recently launched the Maxwell Haywood Scholarship and Development Fund.
The fund was established after the passing, on Nov. 17, 2017, of the group’s founding chairman, Maxwell Haywood, a Vincentian community activist in Brooklyn and an alumnus of Medgar Evers College.
According to Haywood’s widow, Sherill-Ann Mason-Haywood, who succeeded Haywood as chairperson of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Diaspora Committee of New York, Inc., the fund seeks to advance Haywood’s work and to “preserve his legacy through the provision of scholarships to secondary school and college students in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and New York.”
Mrs. Mason-Haywood also said the fund’s goal is aimed at “the delivery of informational and educational lectures, forums and workshops focused on the issues of Diasporas, migration and development.”
Scholarships from the fund have already been distributed to two young students in St. Vincent and the Grenadines — Trevon Paul, attending the St. Vincent Grammar School, and Alfresco Lampkin, attending the Thomas Saunders Secondary School, for the academic year 2018-2019, Mrs. Mason-Haywood said.
Several dignitaries were on hand at the launching ceremony. They included Justice Adrian Saunders, president of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ); Rene Baptiste, speaker of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and president of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Bar Association; St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ambassador to the United Nations I. Rhonda King; St. Vincent and the Grenadines Consul General to the United States, Howie Prince; Consul General designate of Trinidad and Tobago, Jerome LaVoe; and Associate Provost, Medgar Evers College, Dr. Gladys Schrynemakers.
Before delivering the inaugural Memorial Lecture, at the official launching of the Maxwell Haywood Scholarship and Development Fund, Vincentian-born Justice Saunders, Haywood’s friend, noted that Haywood was “a livewire in the Vincentian community in New York.
“As chair of the SVG (St. Vincent and the Grenadines) Diaspora Community, he worked tirelessly on behalf of SVG,” he said. “He was at the forefront of recognizing those in the Diaspora who had contributed to building up our small country.”
Justice Saunders recalled that, in 2016, when the the Diaspora Committee honored stalwarts in the Vincentian community, during its Heritage Awards, “Maxwell appreciated this and made sure to recognize these men and women.
“This evening, we recognize Maxwell, and we give thanks for his service,” he said.
In bringing greetings from Medgar Evers College President Dr. Rudolph Crew and Provost and Senior Vice President, Dr. Augustine Okereke, Associate Provost, Dr. Gladys Schrynemakers, said the predominantly Black college, with an overwhelming Caribbean and Caribbean American student population, was “delighted to host the SVG Diaspora Committee of New York to start a tradition that will honor one of Medgar Evers College’s sons, Maxwell Fitz-Osbourne Haywood.
“Buddha once said, ‘Thousands of candles can be lit from one single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.’
“Maxwell was that single candle that burned so beautiful and bright,” Cuban-born Schrynemakers said. “His single flame lit thousands of candles, and they will continue to shine because of him.
“Tonight, at this auspicious gathering, I know that I feel his warmth, light and passion,” she added.
Mrs. Mason-Haywood said donations to the Maxwell Haywood Scholarship and Development Fund can be made payable to the SVG Diaspora Committee of New York, Inc.