By Tangerine Clarke
The Guyana Unity Movement, Inc. (GUM) will honor Ret. Army Major General Errol Schwartz, of Guyanese lineage, who was appointed by George W. Bush, and served in the Obama Administration at its Honor Our Veterans Black Tie Gala, saluting past and present Guyanese members and Guyanese / American Law Enforcement Officers.
The June 15 event at Glen Terrance, 5313 Ave. N. Brooklyn, will also honor Ret. Director General Desmond Roberts, Ret. Assistant Police Commissioner Paul Stowe, NYPD Deputy Inspector, Deodat Urprasad, and Ex-GDF pilot Barbara Adams Wilson, among others, to commemorate Guyana’s 52nd Independence Anniversary. The event will start at 9 pm.
The weekend of events will also include a Unity Father’s Day brunch on Sunday, June 17, at 1436 Remsen Ave., (bet. avenues K&L) Brooklyn from 2 pm. Music will be provided by Ranny Gold Stone.
Sherif Barker Fraser, president of the non-profit 501 (3c), told Caribbean Life during an interview at Power Jam Radio, that plaques and pins will be presented to service personnel from the Guyana National Service, Guyana Defense Force, United States Armed Forces, and other veterans, who have served with distinction.
She said the organization is committed to its mission to fostering growth in Guyana and the United States, and as such, will inspire youth through grant programs within the organization, as part of its vision.
One of the biggest marches that began at Bedford and Church Avenues, and ended at Schenectady Avenue in Brooklyn in 2015 after the Coalition Government’s victory, attracting 20,000 supporters, started the Guyana Unity Movement, that now boost a membership including social media following of over 5000.
Vice President Ervin Washington thanked sister company Power Jam for giving GUM a platform to continue its unity programs that allows the organization to donate to various charities in Guyana and the United States.
Washington said the group’s historic Black Tie Gala is a fitting tribute to law enforcement officers who have gone beyond the call of duty to make sure citizens stay safe, as such, GUM wants to show its gratitude.
He is calling on everyone to show up dressed to the nines to salute the men and women in uniform, adding that attendees who bring along a family member serving in the armed forces or law enforcement, that lawman or woman, will receive a special pin in honor of their service.
Sergeant-of-arms Burgett Williams, ex-Guyana National Service member, applauded GUM for honoring service members, saying there is no other organization that has bestowed such an honor on service personnel, and thanked Linden Forbes Sampson for creating GNS.
“He created opportunities for thousands of young people,” she added.
Under the theme “Uniting Guyanese one at a Time,” Eric Joseph said meeting with ex-military from Guyana was a fruitful way for GUM to continue discussions to engage the community and unite with other organizations in the Tri-state areas, where much more could be attained in the diaspora.
Burchell Marcus said he looks forward to the planned programs, which bridge the gap, and coming together to make Guyana what it is.
Flash Gordon feels strongly, that if Guyanese come out to support the independence weekend of events, it would be a great success and at the same time, pay respect to the military community.
Secretary Natasha Rudder, in turn, said she was most excited that charities such as the Cancer Foundation would benefit from part of the proceeds from the activities.
The group agreed to plan its events on different dates to prevent clashes with other organizations in the diaspora that also planned events around the same time frame to celebrate Guyana’s Independence anniversary.
Fraser is positive that there would be an outpouring of support for the organization, and hopes this would be a great way to salute military and law enforcement personnel, as GUM commemorates Guyana’s 52nd Independence anniversary.
She is calling on all to come out and salute the distinguished honorees.
Tickets for the charitable Black Tie Gala is $100.00 (all inclusive) and could be purchased at the Hills Restaurant on Church Avenue, Brooklyn.
Tickets could also be obtained by in-boxing GUM’s Facebook page, or by calling 917-767-9145, 718-207-4767, 917-200-2856.
Other executive members include second Vice President Doris Rodney, Treasurer Stanley Harmon, communications officers Sean Skeffer and Karen Gray.