The Guyana Cultural Association, New York, on Wednesday, Aug. 28, honored 90-year-old, Dharmaaacharya Pandit Ramlall Ji, a priest and scholar, who pioneered the Phagwah and Diwali parades in Queens — among a group of gifted, accomplished Guyanese, at its 2018 Awards Ceremony at Brooklyn Hall, on Joralemon Street.
GCA bestowed its Lifetime Achievement Award on Eugene F. Williams for his outstanding career in Theatre, Cultural Performance Studies. He also received a citation from Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams.
Roger Hinds “Young Bill Rogers,” son of late performer Bill Rogers, who has maintained his father’s legacy singing Calypso, and the memorable, Weed song, received the association’s Exemplary Award, and was presented with a citation from Borough President Eric Adams, during the organization’s 17th Annual Folk Festival event.
Gaitri Pagrach Chandra, Dr. Owen Ifill, and Sherene Noble, are winners of the Godfrey Chin Prize for Heritage Journalism.
Other award recipients included, Bibi Natasha Khan Azeez; dramatic storyteller who portrays Janie Gyal, a folk characterization of folktale, Terrance Blackman; PHD, dean of the School of Science, Health and Technology, Medgar Evers College — a number theorist connecting cutting edge mathematics to art and culture, Winslow Craig; a leading visual artists in Guyana and the contemporary Caribbean, Compton ‘Coody” Hodge, a singer and composer in Guyana, and Windfield James, award-winning designer of king and queen of the band for several years, born to a Trinidadian father and Guyanese mother.
Others honored were Guyana United Artists, known for its definitive work in pursuit of the noble goal of uniting Guyanese through art, Carlo Lachmansingh who is a cultural enabler and cross-genre performing and festival arts performer, and Lady Ira Lewis; cultural ambassador, who has promoted cultural awareness of New Jersey’s Guyanese American community for the past 20 years.
Jubilante Cutting, digitial technologist; Steve Douglas, CEO of Bravo Arts; Anasia Fredricks, young achiever; Marva Langevine, school teacher, Natalia Squires, young achiever, and Naila Rahaman, young achiever were also honored.
Aubrey Mann is celebrating 50 years in show business. He is a successful recording artist of popular songs, “I can’t Make It Alone” and “Here I am Boy.” Bernard Ramsay, a creative artist, inspired by late designer, Godfrey Chin went on to become a renowned Mashramani costume designer. Subraj Singh is a fiction-writer, playwright, director, educator and cultural journalist. His celebrated works include the short story “Rebelle” for which he won the inaugural Walter Rodney Award for Creative Writing; GCA, also honored energy giant Con Edison.
All honorees received citations and certificates from Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, Sen. Roxanne Persaud, and Council members, Mathieu Eugene, Jumaane D. Williams and Alan Maisel, while Guyana Cultural Association received a proclamation from the New Jersey Assemblywoman, Britnee N. Timberlake.
During the ceremony which celebrated excellence in education, the arts, resilience, community service, and innovative technology, Borough President Eric Adams said the powerful theme “Working together — the spirit of solidarity,” was relevant to the contributions Guyanese have made to America.
“No one knows this better than this great organization and this great Guyanese American community. It does not matter, which part of the country, everyone knows Brooklyn is the Georgetown of America,” quipped the politician, who thanked the compatriots for bringing their celebration to Borough Hall.
“This organization personifies what it means to come to America, and participate in the American dream, by showing how you make this country great. The hyphen that connects all countries with America is our secret weapon, said Adams, adding, “when you come here, you are saying this country is a place to raise children spiritually, emotionally, and in a diverse fashion.”
Ambassador Michael Ten-Pow commended Guyana Cultural Association’s exemplary work, which showcases and preserves our “Guyaneseness,” rich and multi-ethnic cultural heritage that encourages inter-generational dialoged about its many manifestations, he said.
Consul General to New York, Barbara Atherly congratulated GCA on hosting its annual awards, noting that this year’s honorees embody the values that have inspired the organization though its 17 years lifespan. The association should be proud of cultivating a greater understanding and appreciation of our culture through the hosting of the annual Folk Festival that unites Guyanese.
George Hulse, VP Health First Health Plan, also congratulated the Guyana Cultural Association on its accomplishments.
Performances by Classique Dance Company, Roger Hinds, Gavin Mendonca, and a drumming ensemble cemented the afternoon’s celebration that concluded with a reception in the Rotunda.