Members of the Guyana Cultural Association surround award recipients at Brooklyn Borough Hall after the 19th Season Awards ceremony.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams congratulated the Guyana Cultural Association (GCA) on its 19th season, stating that Brooklyn is the Georgetown of America, and if it were not for the contributions made by the Caribbean diaspora, “we would not be who we are, in Brooklyn, or New York, or America.”
“These contributions have made us great as a nation,” said the politician, who quipped that by the time GCA turns 21 in 2021, he would be representing the community from the Mayor’s office in City Hall.
The politician made these remarks, during a stellar awards presentation in the Rotunda of Brooklyn Borough Hall on Aug. 28.
“Thank you. Congratulations. Let’s have a great year, and a great future. On behalf of the 2.6 million people in Brooklyn, the third largest city in America, continue to do the great things you are doing,” said Adams.
He then saluted three of the honorees and presented them with Proclamations.
One of the Exemplary Award recipients, Stefon Bristol — a filmmaker, and the director of the award-winning movie, “See You Yesterday”— was honored for his exemplary leadership, and for using his creativity as a platform, to showcase Guyanese talent.
Hugh Sam, another GCA Exemplary Award recipient, was honored for his outstanding leadership skills, and for forging unity with fellow Guyanese thorough his creativity, as a composer and brilliant musician.
Dr. Vibert Cambridge accepted the GCA Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of Dave Martins, a musician, composer, and journalist, for more than 50 years.
International Dancer Zaman, Educator Mohamed A. Amin, Media Culturalist Andrea Bryan-Garner, Dancer/Choreographer Paul Anthony Charles, Theatre Artist Simeon Dowding, and Music/Culture Educator Mildred Lowe, were each honored with GCA Plaques.
JAP Marketing LLC (June Persaud) Cultural Enabler, received the Business Partner award.
Opera singer Christian Mark Gibbs, Dancer/Photographer Makayla Harte, Theatre/Music artist Nalani Amara Mason, Steel pan artist Tunisia Solomon, and Informational Technologist Samuel William received GCA Youth Awarda.
Winners of the 2019 Godfrey Chin Prize For Heritage Journalism included Writer Mosa M. Telford (first prize), Filmmaker Alex Arjoon (second prize), and Writer Dr. Pauline Baird (third prize). Gary Chin presented the cash prizes to winners, on behalf of the Chin family.
Award recipients also received citations and Congressional certifications from Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, State Sen. Roxanne Persaud Councilman Mathieu Eugene, Councilman Alan Maisel, Councilwoman Farah Louis, Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte, and Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams.
Consul General Hon. Barbara Atherly lauded the award recipients for showcasing Guyana through their individual talents and expertise, while congratulating GCA for successfully hosting yet another folk festival and awards ceremony.
GCA Presisdent Dr. Vibert Cambridge explained that the annual awards represent the association’s sustained engagement with Global Guyana.
“The people we celebrate tonight are the result of a systematic and transparent process. Tonight’s awardees represent the pulse of that community,” said Dr. Cambridge.
Chair of the Awards Committee Ronald H. Lammy, in turn, congratulated the honorees, noting that the 2019 Awards recognize and honor individuals, representing swath of Guyanese capabilities.
“Their excellence is demonstrated in various fields including education, performing arts, native culture, and computer-based information methodologies, he noted.
The ceremony, which opened with an invigorating rendition of the United States and Guyana anthem by young Opera singer Christian Mark Gibbs, and prayer by Rev. Helen John, celebrated Guyana’s rich cultural heritage.
“Keep Smiling” gave true meaning to the words when Tunisia Solomon sang with joy as she played the steel pan, with her father Ovril Solomon fine tuning the notes beside her on rhythm steel pans, much to the delight of the audience.
This was followed by an exciting dance performance titled “Guyana,” choreographed by Paul Charles of Classique Dance Company NYC and Friends that captured the true an element of Guyana’s diverse folk art.
Talented composer/actor, Courtney Noel, got nationals on their feet and waving flags with a heartfelt rendition of “I love My Golden Arrowhead,” one of Guyana’s most well-known patriotic songs.
The frolic continued with a Kew Kwe drumming that led the audience to a reception filled with patriotic music, food, and camaraderie.