For the second successive year, a Jamaican national has been crowned the “Miss United Vincie Cultural Group of Brooklyn.”
Lillian Lettman, a Canarsie, Brooklyn resident, originally from St. Catherine in Jamaica, was adjudged “Best Dressed” during the United Vincie Cultural Group of Brooklyn’s (UVCGB) 11th Annual Fundraising Tea Party, at Trinity Apostolic Church Banquet Hall, 1807 Pacific St., between Schenectady and Utica avenues, Brooklyn.
Lettman edged out Barbadian Denise Callender (first runner-up) and another Jamaican national, Daisey Frith (second runner-up) to take the top spot.
“This is the very first time attending, and I love it,” Lettman told Caribbean Life briefly after she was crowned by her compatriot, Morna Francis Harris, last year’s winner.
She said she was invited to the event by her Brooklyn friend, Donna Huggins.
Last year was also the first time that Harris, a Queens resident, attended the event; she was invited by her church sister and compatriot, Pamela Tucker, last year’s second runner-up.
Harris and Tucker worship at Miracle Temple Ministries in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Most members of UVCGB also worship at the evangelical church.
Besides “Best Dressed,” there were also several competitions throughout the four-hour-plus-long Tea Party, including “What’s in Your Purse;” “Song;” “Pillow-Fitting Case;” “Hat;” and “What’s Under Your Chair.”
Vincentian Jackie John won the “What’s in Your Purse” contest after producing 10 items in her purse: Five pennies, pack of gum, store receipt, toothbrush, floss, safety pin, hand sanitizer, Advil, nail clip and Zip lock bag.
Jamaican Venice Golding, who worships at Greater Blessing Assembly in Flatbush, Brooklyn, won the “Song Competition.”
The Portmore, St. Catherine native composed and sang to the tune of the Christmas Carol, “Silver Bells.”
Barbadian Joshua Green was declared the winner of the “Pillow-Fitting Case” Competition, edging out Puerto Rican Hector Perez, who is married to a Vincentian.
In the “Biggest Hat” Competition, Jamaican Careen Blackwood, a congregant at Miracle Temple Ministries, was victorious; while another congregant and Jamaican, Pamela Tucker, won the “Small Hat” Competition.
Hemi Perry, an African American, residing in Brooklyn, was adjudged first runner-up in the “Small Hat” Competition.
After revealing “What’s Under Your Chair,” Elorriane Richards, who hails from Manchester, Jamaica sang “Amazing Grace.”
Vincentian Edwin McKenzie, Perez’s father-in law, who recently moved from Florida to reside with his daughter in Brooklyn, received rave reviews with an impromptu version of “This is My Story.”
The Tea Party also featured, among others, models and renditions by the UVCGB Band.
The band, with Perry Allen as main vocalist, played “Bless the Lord My Soul” and “You’re a Good, Good Father,” among others.
In addition, UVCGB presented bouquets of flowers, as tokens of appreciation, to Deidre Ballantyne and Ingrid Bess, for their voluntary service.
“Deidre and Ingrid have been good to us over the years,” UVCGB president Dr. Roxie Irish-Morris, a youth minister at the Miracle Temple Ministries, told patrons afterwards.
Earlier, she said all proceeds go towards the group’s medical missions to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Besides the annual Tea Party, Dr. Irish-Morris, a former national netball star in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, said UVCGB also raises funds for its missions by hosting an annual Cultural Concert. It’s first concert was in 2003.
“Since we started, we already spent over US$50,000.00 in medical supplies,” she said after floor manager, Judith “Baffy” Cuffy-Murray, welcomed patrons.
Dr. Irish-Morris said that, by 2018, all 40 clinics in St. Vincent and the Grenadines received medical supplies from the group.
“What a surprise, we have people who need clothing (as well), she said. “Our motto is, ‘We’re blessed to be a blessing.’”
Randolph Liverpool, UVCGB’s song writer and choreographer, who was on the group’s last two missions to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, said he was “really impressed” with the trips.
“We did not have enough to give to the people,” he said. “Your presence helps us to achieve our goals.”
Howie Prince, St. Vincent and the Grenadines consul general to the United States, who participated in the “Song Competition,” lauded UVCGB for its humanitarian missions.
“What you do is worth doing,” Prince, who is also an actor and musician, among other things, told patrons.
“We commend very highly the work of the United Vincie Cultural Group of Brooklyn, because of what they’re doing,” he added. “There’s always room to help others.”
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