The Brooklyn-based umbrella Vincentian group in the United States, Council of St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Organizations, U.S.A., Inc. (COSAGO), last Sunday bestowed special honor on calypso/soca maestro Alston “Becket” Cyrus during its 33rd independence anniversary celebrations.
The pre-eminent Vincentian calypso/soca artiste, dubbed the “ABC of Calypso,” was among two other honorees at the gala luncheon, organized in conjunction with the New York Consulate General, at Tropical Paradise Ballroom on Utica Avenue in Brooklyn.
The other honorees were former New York City Councilman Dr. Kendall Stewart, a podiatrist, who hails from Union Island in the Grenadines; and José Francísco Avila, the Honduran-born chairman of the board and co-founder of the Bronx, New York-based Garifuna Coalition, U.S.A. Inc.
“I just want to says ‘thanks’ to the Master (Jesus Christ),” Becket, who resides in the Washington, D.C. area, told the ceremony of about 300 nationals and well-wishers, who braved the impending hurricane, Sandy, to witness the historic milestone, in his brief acceptance speech.
He said he had been honored by a number of groups and the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, adding that “the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines have always honored me.” In 2001, the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines made him a “Goodwill Ambassador.”
The legendary soca artiste/composer singled out several persons who, over the years, have helped to advance his musical career, making special mention of his late mom.
“I’m keeping this trophy (award) for her,” he said.
Later, in the dancing segment, Becket distributed several CDs, from his wide repertoire, to loyal fans, giving a special one to Gwen Soso, who was celebrating her birthday and who he described as “the greatest soca fan.”
Becket also used the honor ceremony in expressing support for the construction of the international airport at Argyle, stating: “I’m not about politics, but the airport is a good thing.
“I think we should give the people of Taiwan a standing ovation. They have been good to us,” he urged, with patrons instantly obliging.
The government of Taiwan has been among countries in the “Coalition of the Willing,” according to Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, in assisting in the construction of the Argyle International Airport. Cuba, Venezuela, and Trinidad and Tobago are among others providing assistance in the airport’s construction.