Consul General Hon. Barbara Atherly, front third from left enjoying the Mashramani-style finale. (Photo credit: Tangerine Clarke)
Featured in: Caribbean Life on the 23rd February, 2017
by Tangerine Clarke
The Guyana Consulate in New York City was a scene of comradely, and jollification, on Friday, Feb. 24, when compatriots joined hands to mark their homeland’s 47th Republic Anniversary, and Mashramani celebration.
Embracing, the mandate of “unity” put forward by newly appointed Consul General, Hon. Barbara Atherly, the six races of people, hugged, shook hands, and celebrated shoulder to shoulder during an extraordinary evening of singing of folk songs, and dancing to the rhythm of the African, and Tassa drums.
Blessings on the Republic, rendered by Bishop John Cummings of Restoration Temple, Leila Singh Gossai, Hindu of Bhuvaneshwar Mandir, and Mercedes Pierre – Indigenous of the peoples of Guyana, began the event, after which, CG Atherly, in her message, implored expatriates to join hands and celebrate.
“Let us celebrate in unity so that we carry out our motto of “One People, One Nation, One Destiny – Happy Mashramani, she said.
Planned, by the newly formed Friends of the Guyana Consulate initiative – Republic Day Committee – under the patronage of Consul General, Barbara Atherly, Master Drummer, Menes de Griot, African drummer, Akoya Rudder and the Award-winning Tassa drummers, Terry Naraine, Robin Naraine, and Satyen Naraine, set the tone for the evening’s stellar presentation.
This segment truly evoked the spirit of diversity as audience members flounced to the stirring fusion, and infectious rhythms.
Emcee by committee member Jonathon Locke, the commemoration of tributes to Guyana continued, with talented sisters Chardell Park and Chadeary Park, of Guyanese parentage who sang Oh Beautiful Guyana, with deep feelings for their heritage, and “Yet still I’ll Rise” a heartfelt tribute to Guyana.
Kishore Seu Narine in turn, garnered loud applause for his impassioned interpretation of beloved poem, “old Higue”, a Guyanese classic written by late folklorist, Wordsworth MacAndrew, about Guyanese mythos.
Set against the backdrop of Guyana’s symbolic, Golden Arrowhead, flag, folksinger, Wrickford Dalgetty, engaged the turnout, singing, memorable folksongs, Auntie Bess, Missy Loss, Manin’ Neighba, Uncle Joe and Bamboo Fiah, delighting nationals, who danced along with the popular singer/guitarist.
In addition to David Correira’s impressive history of the Amerindian people, nationals enjoyed a sequence of steps and movement showcased by talented Indian dancers, Neisha Khan, Navedita Bissessar, and Chandini and Maneisha Boodhoo, in Dances of India, choreographed by Babla & Kanchan Chandini.
Impressions Dance Theater’s Makayla Henry and Jade Scott’s Rhythms of Africa, choreographer by Verna Walcott, revved up the crowd. The dancers later returned with a Masquerade Fusion, a dance rooted in Guyana’s multi-cultural heritage.
Latisha Dease followed up with delivered a powerful spoken-word poem titled “Negro Woman” by Langston Hughes, during the historic and electrifying presentation and evening of tributes.
The show climaxed with a Mashramani style revel of a colorful costume dancer and ethnic-dress models of the six races of Guyana, took center stage.
Guyanese-born Sen. Roxanne Persaud congratulated Guyana on its Republic Anniversary and encouraged nationals to continue to support their culture in a unified way. Richard S. David, who hopes to become the first Guyanese in the NY City Council, also expressed his gratitude to fellow Guyanese.
Sampling of Guyana’s diverse cuisine of Roti and Curry, White Pudding, Garlic Pork, Lowmein, pepper pot, cassava pone, sorrel and mauby drink, was the final treat after an outstanding Guyanese celebration.
Deputy Consul General Jacquelyn Hamer summed it up well when she thanked Guyanese for their unwavering support of their culture and contribution in the Diaspora.
The Republic Day Committee thanked Tony Singh and Bakewell Restaurant for their donation, and Kamiyah Parchment and Gerry Elcock for rendering the national anthems of the United States and Guyana, respectively.
A special thank you went to Ambassador Rudolph M. Ten-pow for his full participation in the festivities.
Committee members are: Consul General Barbara Atherly, Deputy Consul General Jacqueline Hamer, Ave Maria Brewester, Tangerine Clarke, Khyume Khan, Penelope Lambert and Paula Walcott Quintin.