by Gerry Hopkin, JD
The approximately 100,000 Grenadian–Americans in New York City and the surrounding tri-state area, were joined by Grenada’s reigning, most-crowned Calypso Monarch, King Ajamu, along with the reigning Road March King, Synnah and former National and Diaspora crown-holders, Inspector, Val Adams and Zingo, at the 42nd Independence Anniversary Cocktail, Show, Dance and Awards Ceremony, held at Tropical Paradise Ballroom, on Saturday, 6 February 2016.
Other artistes slated to perform, included recording artiste and former Crowd Favorite Winner of the NY–Grenada Independence Calypso Competition, Cheryl V; Buddy; Mr Legz and Sugar Jay, all backed by the iconic orchestra, Lambert and the Matadors.
Also at this event, Grenadian–Americans in the Diaspora — Cicely Mason, Derek Ventour, Hoplin Lambert, Heron J Douglas, Harold Pysadee and Earl Stiell of Earley Travel — were to receive special awards based on their outstanding cultural ambassadorial work and extraordinary community service.
“This event is for all Grenadians in the Diaspora, regardless of complexion, class or political party affiliation,” said event planner, Norbert Morain, aka Third World of Global Entertainment.
“We have gone out of our way to make this event affordable and satisfying, as far as, live entertainment, food and drinks are concerned,” Morain added.
Although the struggle for independence in Grenada was quietly forged by then PM Sir Eric Matthew Gairy, in 1974, without widespread national celebrations, due to cries of human rights violations and opposition from Maurice Bishop’s New Jewel Movement and other opposition parties, all Grenadians generally join in celebrating this milestone in one form or another.
Generally, Grenadians in the Diaspora see this as a time to ‘pridefully’ join together in various activities. Some enjoy extra helpings of Grenada’s national dish, “Oildown” (main ingredients: breadfruit, coconut, saffron, callaloo and meat(s) of choice); others simply listen to patriotic music and wear their national colors of yellow, red and green (the colours of the National Flag of Grenada); while still others see this as a time to reflect on the fact that Independence Day merely marks a moment in a process which started long before 7 February 1974, and continues to this day and beyond.
The efforts of freedom fighters and independence-seekers such as Julien Fedon, William Galway Donovan, Henrietta Millicent Douglas and T A Marryshow, along with that of every slave that rebelled against slavery, are just as important as the contributions of PM Gairy, because of the role they played in paving the way. This summation captures the sentiments shared by Grenadians interviewed about what and who helped to obtain and define independence for Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.
Similarly, the history books show that the efforts of the present and past PMs, Dr Keith Mitchell, Tillman Thomas, Ben Jones, George Brizan, Nicholas Brathwaite, Herbert Blaize and Maurice Bishop, have collectively contributed, despite some deficiencies and setbacks here and there, to the process of nation-building in the Spice Isles (aka Spice Paradise)