Una Clarke honors community leaders

From left, honorees Claire A. Goring, Paulette Willoughby, Fritz M. Clairvile, Harry Fouche, Haiti, Marcia Kirton accepting for Vinci Cares, Raymond Lawrence, Zalyia Grinett, CASYM Steel Orchestra, special honoree, Mohamed Iqbal, Charlene Gayle, Jamaica, Gregory R. Mitchell, special honoree, Lou Drayton, and Dr. Una Clarke, accepting for Davis Gayle.

Photo by Tangerine Clarke
Photo by Tangerine Clarke

Head of the Progressive Democrats Political Association of Central Brooklyn, (PDPA-CB), Dr. Una Clarke, welcomed an audience of Caribbean Americans at the Tropical Ballroom, in Brooklyn recently and told them that coming together during Caribbean Heritage Month “to put our efforts together as a community and as a people is an important thing for all of us to do.”

Wearing a traditional madras outfit and head-wrap, Clarke reminded the nationals of the important role they play in deciding the political landscape of America.

Joined by Congresswoman, Yvette Clarke, Council Members Matheau Eugene, and Jumaane Williams, and Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio, all whom she said were the products of the (PDPA-CB), Clarke praised the politicians who agreed that in unity there is strength and pledged their continued fight for the rights of the Caribbean people.

Deputy Consulate General of St. Vincent to New York, Edison Augustus and St. Vincent Permanent Mission to the U.N., Denny Wilson also brought greetings to the Caribbean nationals.

The gala, titled “Carifesta” honored a distinct group of Caribbean nationals, including a businessman from Pakistan, who Clarke singled out for his steadfast commitment to providing jobs in the Caribbean community.

Emcee E. Wayne McDonald kept the audience entertained with his Jamaica patois during the performances from such groups as Curacao’s Liberata Dance Group, the Panamanian Square Dance Group of Brooklyn, and the Bernadette Lawrence Group of Dominica, which all showcased the beauty and history of the Caribbean.

For more than one hour, national costumes told the story of the rich cultural heritage of the Caribbean people. The Mikerline Dance Group of Haiti, showcased a tiny dancer, who added to the exciting dance movement that brought the audience to its feet.

The evening was filled with the emotional choreography titled “Imagine Me” by the young St. Gabriel’s Messengers, a Ballet Folklorico de Panama and a drum and solo by the Garifuna Drummers from Belize.

Other presentations included, poems by Dr. Lear Matthews titled: A Prince’s Story to his Princess Bride, written by Ted Matthews, and James Richmond, accompanied by African drummer Akoya Rudder then paid tribute to honoree Clair Goring’s remarkable leadership. A medley by the Vinci Cultural Group of Brooklyn, a dance by the Antilleans, and even “Wassy” passed through with his comedic act.

Members of the Guyana Cultural Association in turn, engaged the audience during an arousing Kwe Kwe ceremony – a jollification that takes place the night before the marriage of an African-Guyanese couple. The performance included singing and dancing for a thrilling end to the performance segment.

But the evening belonged to the honorees that received Glass plaques and citations for their extraordinary contribution in the community. They included former Haitian Council General of Haiti, Harry Fouche, Charlene Gayle, an entrepreneur from Jamaica, Vinci Cares, of St. Vincent, Raymond Lawrence of Dominica, Zalyia Grinett, leader of CASYM Steel Orchestra, Claire A. Goring, Cultural Director of the Guyana Cultural Association, and entrepreneur, Fritz M. Clairvil, of Haiti, and Gregorio R. Mitchell, of Panama.

Honorees Paulette Willoughby of Jamaica, Davis Gaye, Proprietor of Tropical Paradise of Belize, and Lou Drayton of Barbados, were also honored by PDPA-CB.

Representative Ann Marie Adamson from the office of Borough President Marky Markowitz office also presented Dr. Una Clarke with a proclamation.

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