Diaspora gathers to honor 50 years of Independence
It was a golden celebration this past Saturday, as the local community gathered to celebrate Guyana’s 50 years of independence at the South Florida Guyanese Association’s Gala, held at Signature Grand in Fort Lauderdale. The event sought to recognize the many accomplishments of Guyana and its people around the world.
Keynote speaker, Guyana’s Minister of State Joseph Harmon, praised Guyana and its Diaspora for the great progress made since independence. Minister Harmon noted that although the nation has gone through some setbacks, the future of Guyana remains bright thanks to its people. He encouraged the Diaspora abroad to also return to Guyana to contribute to the nation’s development, as well as participate in this May’s independence celebrations.
In addition, twelve Guyanese-Americans, including several based in South Florida, were honored for their accomplishments and contributions to the community. Several awardees were lauded for their public service to Guyana, including former UN and OAS diplomat Wesley Kirton, former Chief Pilot of the Guyanese Army Air Corps, Captain Gerry Gouveia, former Head of the Guyana Defense Force, Lieutenant Colonel Larry London, and Guyana’s current Honorary Consul in Miami, Ramzan Roshanali.
Professionals highlighted included certified financial planner and legislative advocate, Frank Cummings, Professor of Law at St. Thomas University, Stephan Plass, and retired internist and health advocate, Dr. Arentha Nelson-Casimir. Artist Florence Kersting and fashion designer Sonia Noel was recognized for their creative accomplishments. Architects of the Guyanese Diaspora in the USA were also lauded for uniting the community, including founder of Guykids Charity, Pansy Browne, Treasurer of the South Florida Guyanese Association, Anthony Giles, and co-founder of the South Florida Guyanese Association, Cyril Noville.
Additional special guests included Guyana’s Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection, Simona Broomes, City of Miramar Mayor, Wayne Messam, as well as MCS for the night Local 10 Anchor Neki Mohan, and Guyanese-born Police Chief of the Miami-Dade Schools Police Department, Chief Ian A. Moffett.