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Thousands attend Vincy Day USA

Thousands attend Vincy Day USA


by Taranjah Yaw Fri, Aug 24, 2012

Despite the inclement weather, thousands headed to Long Island last Saturday for the inaugural Vincy Day USA family picnic at Heckscher State Park.{{more}} The event was jointly coordinated by the SVG Consulate, the diaspora committee, along with other entities and individuals, notably promoter and radio personality Junior “Soca” Jones.

The Vincy Day picnic was organized to give Vincentians living in the U.S.A an opportunity to get together, as Vincentians living in Canada have been doing for more than a decade at their annual Thousand Islands picnic, which was held on July 21 this year.

The banner was donated by Don Providence of AI Real Estate.

Providence, who is in New York to promote his business, said that he is proud to be associated with the inaugural event and will continue to support it into the future, as long as it’s possible to do so.

The New York (NY) event got off to a slow start as it was raining in the morning when the first arrivals began, but by 12 noon, the rain had held up and thousands had already gathered, with food and drinks being passed around, with music blasting and people mingling.

The official festivities began with the singing of the United States anthem by Sharon Jones, then the SVG anthem by the gathering. There were addresses by NY State Senator Eric Adams of the 20th Senatorial District in Brooklyn, Selmon Walters Consul General of SVG, Lavern Mc Dowald Thompson of COSAGO and Camillo Gonsalves, SVG’s ambassador to the United Nations (UN). Walters used the occasion to welcome persons to the event and to appeal for donations to fund the Argyle International Airport (AIA); containers were set up where donations could be made.

Senator Adams told SEARCHLIGHT that he was honoured to be attending the first Vincy Day and that he has had a long and productive relationship with the Vincentian community of New York. Adams also said that on his visit to SVG two years ago, he realized the complexities in travel, by SVG not having an international airport and that he will rally Vincentians to support the AIA.

“Four years ago, we elected Barack Obama to be the first black president of the US and then we gonna repeat that feat again when we re-elect him in November and then we gonna give history a new address when we elect the first person of colour to be the borough president of Brooklyn,” Adams said.

“With all the people from the different islands and the many persons of colour living in Brooklyn, so we have to rally our Caribbean people to help end this trend,” he further stated.

The cultural package included steel pan music, mas costumes presentations, folk singing, and performances from Vincentian gospel and soca artists. Soca Jones, who co-hosted the event, told SEARCHLIGHT that he was most impressed by the large numbers of people who showed up. He also said that around 3 p.m. the park officials told them that they had exceeded the capacity for the field; then at around 6 p.m. the officials stated that the crowd had grown way beyond 4,500, but because the crowd was so well-behaved, they would allow the event to continue. Jones said that his expectation for the future is that the event will get bigger and better.

“As a nation we have to be proud of ourselves, of what we achieved and accomplished, we have shown the world that SVG is a loving and passionate nation,” Jones continued.

Many persons attending the event came from within the tri-state area and as far as Boston and Canada, as well as many who live in SVG and were on vacation in the U.S. Deputy Consul General Edson Augustus said that he was overwhelmed and proud of the way that Vincentians conducted themselves and that the work put into planning and executing the event is commendable.

“We must give ourselves a pat on the back; however, I would have liked to see more young people, especially teenagers of school age, turn out so that we can help bridge the generational gap and promote understanding among our young people,” he said.

While the majority of persons drove in private vehicles to the event, many travelled by bus and the Long Island Railway. Vanya Jones, a registered nurse of Chateaubelair and Kingstown, told SEARCHLIGHT that along with family and friends, they paid close to $25 to get to the park, but it was worth every cent and that she is highly anticipating attending next year and getting there early also.

Real estate agent and house party DJ Pervis James, who hails from Chateaubelair, did not attend the picnic, as it clashed with his family’s annual picnic. He, however, told SEARCHLIGHT, that from all the feedback he got, the event was a memorable and successful one, “I will have to speak to the family so that we can avoid a clash next year and we can all attend Vincy Day picnic, cause I am not going to miss it for the world, if life spares,” James said.

The Vincy Day picnic officially ended at 7 p.m., one hour after it was supposed to end; there were no reports of violence or accidents. Anticipation is high for next year’s event, around the same time at the same place. Hecksher State Park is a beautiful 1,600-acre property on the south shore of Long Island; it was bought by the State of New York, using a donation by affluent philanthropist August Heckscher and is located in the wealthy suburban town of Islip, with marinas, county clubs and golf courses close by.