By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, RIVERDALE, GA, Fri. Dec. 27, 2013: Caribbean-American political representation in the United States will expand this January following the election of a Haitian immigrant this month in the state of Georgia.
Haitian immigrant Dabouze Antoine will be sworn into office at the Forest Park City Council meeting on January 6, at 7 p.m. as the new representative of the City of Forest Park Ward 2 in metro Atlanta, Georgia.
He was elected on December 3rd in a run-off election against Luke Gawel. The council seat had been vacant for more than 2 years.
He will join Lisa Cupid, who is of Guyanese heritage, as only the second other Caribbean-American elected official in the Metro Atlanta area.
Cupid was elected as the new Cobb County Commissioner for District 4 this past January and is the first person with Caribbean-American heritage to sit on the Cobb County Board.
They join Barbadian immigrant Adrian Mapp who will take the oath as mayor of Plainfield, New Jersey this January.
In New York City there are five in state and city government. The current New York representatives are Jamaican national Nick Perry, Assemblyman, New York State; Senator John Sampson who has Guyanese roots and Senator Malcolm Smith in the New York State Senate, who traces his roots to Jamaica. Haitian- City Councilmembers Mathieu Eugene and Grenadian American Jumaane Williams are members of the New York City Council. Jamaican American Leroy Comrie is leaving his elected post to become Deputy Borough President in the Borough of Queens, NY from this Janaury.
In Connecticut there are only two elected Caribbean Americans – Veronica Airey Wilson, a city council member and former deputy mayor of Hartford, Connecticut was born in Jamaica and Urania Petit is the St. Lucia-born Registrar of Voters.
In Maryland, there is one. Shirley Nathan Pulliam, is the state Delegate of District 10 in Baltimore County and is of Jamaican roots.
Florida rules the nation in terms of the most Caribbean Americans in elected office. They include Commissioner Winston F. Barnes has Jamaican roots as does Commissioner Alexandra P. Davis as does Commissioner Wayne M. Messam in the City of Miramar; Commissioner Yvette Colbourne was born in Panama of Jamaican parents and also represents the City of Miramar.
Mayor Barrington Russell, Sr. is a Jamaican immigrant who runs the City of Lauder Lakes; while Commissioner Dale V. C. Holness in Broward County is also of Jamaican roots.
Council Member Aster Knight in the Town of Southwest Ranches is also of Jamaican roots while Commissioner Ashira Mohammed in the town of Pembroke Pines is of Trinidad & Tobago heritage.
Councilman Philippe Derose is the first Haitian-American elected in the City of North Miami Beach as is Councilman Frantz Pierre in the City of North Miami Beach.
Mayor Andre Pierre who runs the City of North Miami was born in Haiti as is Councilwoman Marie Steril and Councilman Jean R. Marcellus, also in the City of North Miami.
Commissioner Velma Palmer was born in Jamaica and represents the City of South Miami while Commissioner Jean Monestime in Miami-Dade County was born in Haiti and Rick Singh, the Guyana-born property appraiser of Orange County, Orland, is the Guyana-born.
There are four Caribbean Americans in the Florida House of Representatives. Rep. Yolly Roberson was born in Haiti, Rep. Ronald A. Brisé is a Haitian-American, Rep. Hazelle P. Rogers was born in Jamaica and Rep. Jennifer Carroll was born in Trinidad.
Senator Kwame Raoul of 13th District in the Illinois General Assembly is of Haitian descent and the lone Caribbean American in elected office in that state.
On the federal level, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke remains the lone congressional representative of Caribbean American heritage to sit in the House of Representative.
The question now for many in the Caribbean American Diaspora is whether they can use the same strategies implemented to help singer Tessanne Chin in the NBC reality show, The Voice, to expand their voice and political power in their adopted homeland.