Guyana’s Brooklyn Unity Rally on Sunday, June 14, 2015. (Facebook image/Rickford Burke)
Thousands marched down Church Avenue in Brooklyn at a Unity Rally on Sunday, June 14, 2015. (Facebook image/Rickford Burke)
Menes De Griot aka the Shanto Man and his band of drummers performing at the Unity Rally on June 14, 2015. (Menes De Griot image)
Guyana President David Granger left Guyana for the US Friday but did not attend the event. (GINA image)
News Americas, BROOKLYN, NY, Mon. June 15, 2015: The New York City police Department estimated some 10,000 to 12,000 Guyanese nationals from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Washington, DC and even Canada converged on a popular avenue in Brooklyn, New York Sunday.
The thousands were part of a carnival like unity parade and rally in honor of Guyana’s 49th independence anniversary and election of a unity government in Guyana. It kicked off with three new ministers of government in Guyana leading the parade from Bedford and Church Avenues in Brooklyn at 11 a.m. and culminating at Schenectady Avenue for a rally.
The two part program featured speeches from United States Brooklyn Congressmembers Yvette Clarke and Hakeem Jeffries and Guyana’s Minister of State Joseph Harmon; Minister of Governance and Natural Resources Raphael Trotman and Minister of Tourism, Cathy Hughes.
Absent from the event was Guyana’s new President, David Granger, who left Guyana for the U.S. Friday. However, organizers said they were told the trip was a private one.
However, addressing the Guyanese Diaspora, Minister Harmon yesterday vowed to go after assets stolen by the previous administration and stashed in the US. And addressing the issue of race which has long plagued Guyana, Harmon promised to take the next rally to Queens to take the message of change and gratitude to the mainly Indo-Guyanese who live there. Brooklyn is home to many Afro-Guyanese.
Meanwhile, the entertainment phase includes performances from many Guyanese artists including Lisa Punch, Eddie Neblett, Adrian Dutchin and Menes De Griot and his drummers.
The new Guyana government received a number of citations from established US organizations and high ranking lawmakers, including New York assembly woman Guyanese Roxanne Persaud and Congressmembers Clark and and Jeffries.
“I am here to share with you in the celebration of the fair elections that were held onMay 11 2015 in which a multi-party , multi-racial coalition of the Guyana Action Party,The National Front Alliance;The People’sNational Congress Reform, The Working People’s Alliance and TheAlliance For Change triumphed and made a transition in leadership that was peaceful,” Congresswoman Clake declared.
Congressman Jeffries for his part said Guyana can count on the support of the United States of America to ward off any unwanted Venezuelan overtures, days after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro issued a decree, creating the Atlantic Coast of Venezuela to include sovereignty over Guyana’s territorial waters in the Atlantic Ocean off the Essequibo Region.
Chairperson of the organizing committee, Sharif Fraser, said she assembled the group of organizers after business woman Doris Rodney, proprietor of the Hills Restaurant and Lounge, broached the idea. Rodney was inspired by the genuine unity Guyanese at home displayed while celebrating the A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) coalition victory at the May 11, general elections.
Other organizers included Ovid Morrison, Chairman of the APNU North American Region; Rickford Burke, head of the New York based Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID), Ewart Marshall, Vice Chairman of the AFC North American Region, broadcaster Bobby Vieira and political activist Erving Washington, among others.