As Vincentians in the United States continue to celebrate their 38th anniversary of political independence from Great Britain, the Philadelphia-based St. Vincent and the Grenadines Organization of Pennsylvania, Inc. (SVGOP) Saturday night honored a Vincentian and Jamaican at a gala Independence Anniversary Ball at Penns Landing Caterers on the Philadelphia waterfront.
SVGOP bestowed the honors on recently retired judge, Emille Cox, a South New Jersey-based native of Union Island in the St. Vincent Grenadines, and Jamaican radio personality Lloyd Cummings, a signature voice of the Caribbean community on Philadelphia radio.
Both, as well as guest speaker Ferrand “Randy D” Dopwell, a popular Vincentian radio personality, also received proclamations from the Council of the City of Philadelphia, presented by Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell.
“A biblical quote states, a prophet is not without honor save in his own country, meaning it is rare to be recognized among your own,” said Judge Cox in his acceptance speech, at the grand ceremony that was graced by the presence of US Consul General Howie Prince, who is based at the Consulate General in New York. “So, when I stop to think about this night, this recognition will be so much sweeter, that much more special, knowing it is from my own.
“When I reflect on my academic and professional journey from my humble beginnings in SVG (St. Vincent and the Grenadines) to the privilege of serving as a New Jersey Judge of Compensation, I have come to realize how blessed I am, and I must give God thanks for having cleared my pathway every step of the way,” he added.
Judge Cox received his elementary education at the Ashton Government School in Union Island and earned a government scholarship to attend the then St. Vincent Boys Grammar School, where he completed his secondary school education.
After graduation, Cox was first employed as an English, French and Spanish teacher at the Boys Grammar School before moving on to the then Windward Islands Broadcasting Service (WIBS) as St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ announcer and programmer for the country’s news, sports and special events.
After almost four years at the radio station, Cox resigned and migrated to the United States to further his education. He entered Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus, where he attained a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in economics. He was a graduate of the school’s general honors program.
On completing his degree, Cox accepted the position of methods analyst with Prudential Property and Casualty Insurance Company. Within three years, he was promoted to the position of Associate Manager.
Driven by a desire for advancement, Cox decided to pursue a law degree. He resigned and entered Rutgers Law School, Camden.
While attending law school, Cox worked part-time as a legal intern at the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division.
Following graduation, he was counsel to the office of the Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly, an office tasked with addressing issues pertinent to the residents of nursing and boarding homes in New Jersey.
During his years with the New Jersey judiciary, Judge Cox said he was a presenter at numerous appellate practice seminars, workshops and clinics; served on the Appellate Division Self-Evaluation Committee, the Supreme Court Committee on Professional and Outside Activity of Judiciary Personnel, and the Judiciary Equal Employment Opportunity Advisory Committee.
In 2003, then New Jersey Governor McGreevy nominated Judge Cox to the Workers’ Compensation Bench, where he served as a Judge of Compensation, then Supervising Judge of Compensation and an Administrative Supervisory Judge of Compensation, responsible for the supervision of multiple vicinages.
Judge Cox retired in January after over 37 years of state service, with 14 ½ on the Workers’ Compensation Bench. He is on recall, assigned to the Mercer County Vicinage.
He is married to the former Elvia Wilson. They are the parents of two adult children, Byron and Rena, and have one granddaughter Zuri.
Cummings, who hails from St. Thomas in Jamaica, has become a “son of the Caribbean of whom we can be justly proud,” said SVGOP President Yvonne O’Garro.
For almost four decades, Cummings has been “the signature voice of our Caribbean community on Philadelphia radio,” O’Garro said.
His resume includes shows on WIIAI- ANI (1993-2001); “Caribbean Connections,” WDAS-AM (1980-1989); and “Best of Both Worlds,” WDAS-FM (1977-1950).
On WRTI-FM (1990-2000), Cummings’ “Caribbean Rhythms” was broadcast on the l2-station network, “earning the most money on fundraising drives,” Cummings said.
He continues his work on WURD AM900 on Saturday nights, with “Caribbean Rhythms” from 7 pm – 10 pm, “displaying his unparalleled virtuosity as a master of Caribbean music and culture,” according to his biography.
“Lloyd’s listeners can always look forward to a crisp, clear-voiced presentation of the latest in news and culture from our region, along with the latest, most soul-stirring trends in our music,” the biography says. “From the classic to the contemporary, from rap/DJ to rockers to dancehall and calypso, he brings us our favorites in his own inimitably dynamic style.”
ln 2009, “Caribbean Rhythms” was voted the “Best Weekend Show in Philadelphia”’ by the Ford Motor Company March of Dimes Achievement in Radio (AIR) Awards.
In addition to his work on the radio, Cummings has demonstrated the breath of his numerous talents and professional abilities as executive director of Shining Stars Youth Club in his native Jamaica.
In her Independence message, O’Garro said she was “extremely humbled and elated on this my first Dinner Dance celebration as the leader of this wonderful organization.
“The SVGOP Inc. has been working closely with other organizations throughout the Diasporas and looks forward to building on this amicable relationship, as we continue to assist people in need here in our community, the Caribbean and in our beloved homeland SVG,” she said.
O’Garro said Oct. 27, Independence Day was a spectacular and historical day for Vincentians, thanks to the city of Philadelphia for choosing the day of SVG Independence to raise our flag.
“This was a first, and the look of pride and excitement on the faces of Vincentians as the flag slowly rose up the flag pole is one I’ll never forget,” she said. “To the City of Philadelphia, our supporters, Vincentian and the members of the SVGOP, Inc., thank you for your love and support. Let us continue this wonderful partnership.”