The president of the United Vincie Cultural Group of Brooklyn (UVCG), one of the few Vincentian cultural groups in the United States, has described as “a great success” its recent 9th Annual Concert at the Meyer Levin Intermediate School in Brooklyn.
Roxie Irish, a former national netball star, told Caribbean Life that her group, through its masterpieces, continues to promote unreservedly Vincentian culture in the Diaspora.
“We have watched over the past eight years how our support base keeps growing, and it is our intent to continue to do whatever necessary to keep our loyal supporters,” said the Born-Again Christian.
“Our concert this year was a great success,” she added. “The audience thoroughly enjoyed the show, even though some expressed the desire to see more cultural items this year.”
The four-hour-long event showcased a number of skits, dances, chorale speeches and poetic expressions by the adult and children sections.
Cultural legend Leroy “Chico” Ellis, a former member of the renowned New Artist Movement (NAM), also evoked much nostalgia with poetic and dramatic expressions.
“We love highlighting our children who are learning our Vincentian culture,” Irish said.
“To fully understand where you are going, you must know where you are coming from,” she added. “We use portions of our rehearsals to reinforce what UVCG is all about. The only reason we do what we do is People!
“I am a true Vincie (spelling by choice). I am a proud Vincie,” Irish continued. “I love my Vincentian people; and, for me, wherever the need is, we are trying to reach out and be a blessing.”
In this nexus, at the end of the spell-binding, “belly-busting,” culturally-riveting show, Irish appealed to the sell-out patrons, who comprised a large number of Jamaicans and other Caribbean nationals, to dig deep into their pockets, pocket books and wallets in supporting the construction of the Argyle International Airport “because we know firsthand that it is a necessity.”
Patrons obliged by instantly contributing US$681.00, Irish said, stating that it would have been greater if the appeal was made in the middle of the show instead of at the end.
She revealed that the group’s Mission Trip home in 2010 – which comprised doctors, nurses, dentists and other healthcare professionals – was “such a challenge” because of, among other things, inadequate air transportation.
“We were charged exorbitant prices; there were very long delays in Barbados and Trinidad, and some of our professionals were forced to spend overnight in a hotel in Trinidad,” Irish said.
“There is definitely a need for an International Airport!” she said, adding that UVCG “does not intend to cease” from its activities.
“We are more determined than ever to press forward,” she added.
Irish said the group, formed nine years ago, has a current membership of 35, which includes children “who are being taught their heritage and being trained to reach out to the needs of others.
“Everyone in this group has a heart for their homeland – the beautiful island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Gem of the Antilles,” she said.
Irish said the primary goal is to provide medical assistance to those in dire need at home, “with special emphasis on supplies for the various clinics.”
In this connection, she said UVCG has been raising funds through concerts and tea parties.
To date, Irish said 18 clinics have benefited from medical supplies, disclosing that, in the initial Medical/Dental Mission Trip, in July 2010, residents of rural areas of Sandy Bay, Troumaca, Colonaire and Bequia were beneficiaries.
The group’s second Mission Trip is slated for October through November, during which eight hospital beds and a number of wheelchairs and walkers will be delivered, Irish said. She said six more clinics will also receive “much-needed” medical supplies.”
Besides its own initiatives, Irish said UVCG, over the years, has participated in several humanitarian efforts by other organizations in the U.S.
She said UVCG’s members are “constantly reminded that the mandate is to be a blessing to all.
“The motto is: ‘We’re blessed to be a blessing!”