New Guyana President David Granger and Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, witness the hoisting of the Golden Arrowhead at the wreath laying ceremony in observance of Guyana’s 50th Independence Anniversary on May 26, 2016. (GINA IMAGE)
By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. May 25, 2017: Guyanese New Yorkers are gearing up to mark the 51st independence anniversary of the South American CARICOM nation tomorrow, May 26th.
Members of Guyana’s New York’s diplomatic community — led by Rudolph Ten-Pow, permanent representative of Guyana to the United Nations, and Guyana Consul General to New York Barbara Atherly — will mark the day with an invitation-only ceremonies at the UN that will include an honor guard procession and a cultural presentation.
Meanwhile, in lower Manhattan, The Guyana Independence Celebration Committee kicks off its Guyana independence celebration with a flag raising ceremony in the courtyard of the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Customs House, 1 Bowling Green, at 10 a.m. on May 26th. This will be followed by a reception and award ceremony from 11:30 a.m. in the Customs House rotunda.
The Committee’s independence celebration continues into June with a soccer tournament on June 4th at the Aviator Sports Center, Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn; an Independence Festival on June 10th at Brooklyn Rocks Night Club and a big “Mashramani in New York” Guyanese Independence Parade – on June 11th that will be followed by the Unity Concert at Preston Court and Ralph Ave, where the parade ends.
Scheduled concert performers include Kwasi Ase Edmonson; Eddie Neblette; Jumo Primo; Adrian Dutchin; Jamaican reggae artists Kapri, Mr. Easy and Gage and chutney singer Terry Gajraj.
Guyana achieved its independence from Britain on May 26, 1966. The United States has the largest number of Guyanese outside of Guyana. According to the latest U.S. Census’ American Fact Finder, there are an estimated 273,000 people in the U.S. claiming Guyanese as their first ancestry as of 2013. The majority of Guyanese live in New York City – some 140,000 – making them the fifth-largest foreign-born population in the city.
In Queens, NY – which has the largest concentration of Indo-Caribbeans in the five boroughs – Guyanese represent the second largest foreign-born population with some 82,000. A large concentration of them can be found in the neighborhoods of Richmond Hill and Ozone Park, Queens according to the ‘Population Analysis of Guyanese and Trinidadians in NYC’ by the Indo-Caribbean Alliance using New York City Department of City Planning data.
Other Guyanese populated areas in the U.S. include Orlovista, FL; Irvington, New Jersey; Orange, New Jersey; East Orange, New Jersey; Flatbush, Brooklyn; Canarsie, Brooklyn; East Flatbush, Brooklyn, Rockland County, New York, Schenectady, New York; Verona Walk, FL; Oakland, FL; Emerald Lakes, PA; South Plainfield, NJ; Olanta, S.C.; Lincoln Park, GA; Bladensburg, MD and Loganville, FL.
The first Guyanese to arrive in the U.S. came around 1968, either as “private household workers” or as nurses’ aides and were of African descent according to research from Jacqueline A. McLeod in “Guyanese-Americans.” Some 70,523 came post 1964.
According to Monica Gordon in ‘In Search of a Better Life: Perspectives on Migration from the Caribbean,’ more Guyanese women than men settled in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s, making them primarily responsible for securing immigrant status for their families. These women, Gordon concluded, tended to see migration as a means to improve their economic and social status and the educational opportunities of their children.
Some 17 percent of Guyanese in the U.S. are seniors (ages 65 and older) but 74 percent of all immigrants from Guyana had the highest naturalization rates, meaning they are more likely to be U.S. citizens and can vote.