In the Diaspora, June is Caribbean Heritage month. It is a time for book readings, writing workshops and poetic presentations.
On Sunday June 30, for example, there will be a six-hour Caribbean Book Fest at St. Francis College that will include a presentation by Bernice McFadden (US/Barbados). Politicians – like the John C Liu, the New York City Comptroller – will celebrate the occasion with an event at the Surrogate’s Courthouse on June 18. The New York arms of the Barbados Labour Party and the Democratic Labour Party aligned themselves to the Heritage celebrations by organising a town hall meeting and memorial lecture in honour or the late Errol Barrow.
On Saturday evening of June 1, the members of A Better Life For Our People – NY met at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational facility. Opposition Leader Mia Mottley, (and a six-member delegation) addressed the gathering for two and a half hours.
Dressed in their red campaign attire, the delegation addressed matters relating to the performance of the economy and responded to audience questions relative to health, tourism and legal issues.
Mottley emphasised that the visit was part of rallying cry called “Rubbing Shoulders”, the purpose of which was to initiate discussion, solicit ideas and build relationships as the party goes forward. She invited persons in the Diaspora to call home and write letters.
“No man or woman has all the ideas. Prime Minister Stuart has fallen asleep again,” she said.
While in the Diaspora, the delegation, which included members of parliament Dwight Sutherland, Cynthia Forde and Trevor Prescod, also attended many social functions as they rubbed shoulders with community groups and organisations. Dominoes, karaoke and other cultural activities filled their schedule.
After the town meeting, the members of the delegation and others headed for the karaoke evening organised by the officers and members of the St. George Secondary Old Scholars Association in Brooklyn, New York. Sutherland, the member of parliament for St. George South, and who had the distinction of turning a 600-vote deficit into a 500-vote gain, perhaps gave a hint of a success secret – work the room; sing, chat, reconnect with others. Rudy Grant also sang a song, while others of the delegation mingled freely until it was time to go.
The next day, the delegation attended a service at St. Gabriel’s Church.
The St. George Old Scholars Association International is a very active one-year-old organisation with about 30 members and is currently mentored by a Grenadian organisation. They have a number of designated fund-raisers for school projects.
On the following Sunday evening, at the St. Alban’s Church, in Brooklyn, the Friends of Barbados, DLP – the New York arm of the DLP – presented their annual Errol Barrow Lecture. The theme of this year’s lecture was in form of a tribute to the late, Sir Brandford Mayhew Taitt.
After prayers, welcome and opening remarks, a four-member panel led a two-and-a-half hour discussion that explored Sir Brandford’s life as a humanitarian, leader, family man, technocrat and a politician. This included his work as consul general in New York, as a campaign manager, as minister of health, and in social settings and activities.
Professor Gill, in his summary remarks concluded that Sir Branford was like the British politician, R A Butler, always in the wings. In that regard he was a bridesmaid.
Professor Taitt, who stated that he is no relative of Sir Branford, cited examples of personal experiences that spoke to Sir Branford’s strength of character and referenced selections from Romans 12 to profile Sir Branford’s gifts and talents. Professor Taitt also brought a message from Sharon, one of Sir Brandford’s daughters, who was unable to attend the lecture and said:
“My dad was an awesome father. I love my dad. He always put family in everything he did.”
There were also several comments from the audience, some of which referred to the life and work of Errol Barrow.
CHRISSY MOVIE NOTE:
By public demand, another showing of the Bajan movie CHRISSY is scheduled for the Linden Cinemas on June 12.
Coming soon: Legendary Mighty Sparrow rocks BB King in Manhattan.