Lew Zorro Drayton was honoured with the Legend Award. Supermodel Lene’s accomplishments were acknowledged for the first time, unbelievably so, with a Pinnacle Award. And amputee and heart disease patient Dolores Grandison was given a standing ovation as she received the Inspiration Award.
These were among the list of awardees acknowledged by the Consulate General of Barbados at New York last Friday at the Barbados Independence Gala, one of the highlights of a standard setting night.
Some 340 Barbadians and friends gathered at the Vanderbilt, Staten Island for what was billed as a truly Barbadian celebration.
Also given a standing ovation were Winslow Seale, 96, a founding member of Combermere Alumni and Richard McCollin, 94, a member of the New Rochelle Cricket Club for more than 50 years.
The gala was orchestrated by Consul General Mackie Holder, and executed by Team Barbados at NY (BTMI/Invest Barbados) in cooperation with Barbadian associations, notably Combermere, and individuals.
It featured culinary delights from three Barbadian chefs – Javon Cummins, Trevon Stoute and Damien Leach – and one mixologist, Phillip Antoine that had attendees swooning; Mylez Gittens and Allan Lewis – the Three Houses Duo – during cocktail hour; plus Kim Derrick and Virtuosity along with the Technic DJs in a six-hour experience.
Holder noted that the event itself was a reflection of the Barbadian character and resolve that led to Independence and has made Barbados respected worldwide.
He said it embraced change; brought together Barbadians from everywhere and from all levels, including young and older; demonstrated hard work and a high standard and, in the end, was about Barbadians putting their country first.
Acknowledging the support of associations, whose heads he asked to stand to be recognized, and those attending, Holder quipped that Staten Island never looked as beautiful.
The consul general urged Barbadians to remain united and focused on helping their country and encouraged all to be part of Vision 2020 We Gatherin’ before reinforcing his call by reading a special message from Prime Minister Mia Mottley.
The black-tie affair saw both ladies and men decked out, with many wearing outfits in blue and gold or bearing touches of the Barbadian colours, from sashes to bow ties.
There were kudos for the venue and lighting, in the Barbados colours, the culinary delights and cocktails. These included canapés such as braised oxtail on Bajan bakes and aromatic smoked pork with a scotch bonnet puree, the marinated pork loin with sweet potato pudding main course, and the Pride of Barbados cocktail – white rum, grapefruit juice, scotch bonnet, pepper syrup and mango juice.
A solo rendition by Mylez Gittens on violin ended in spontaneous applause; Kim Derrick and her band Virtuosity were well received; the audience were thrilled by a countdown to Independence Day with an electronic fireworks display; and the Technic DJs kept attendees dancing past the 2 a.m. close with a fluid mix that included many Barbadian spouge and soca favourites.
There were 21 awardees: Legend Award, Lew Drayton; Pinnacle Award, Earl Phillips – Trade Unionist; Richard and Dinah Best – Educators/Business Family; Lene – International Model; Youth Award, Alicia Connell – Cricket Organizer/Community Volunteer; Negus Adeyemi – Poet/Cultural Entrepreneur; Richard Double R Walton – Promoter, Businessman, Internet Personality; Achievement Award; Archie Miller – Calypsonian; Phil Brathwaite – Vocalist; Andrew Phillips – Musician/Bandleader; Peter Headley – Artiste Manager; Change Award – Andre McDonnell; Inspiration Award, Dolores Grandison; Friend of the Consulate Award – Helen Walker, Ian Watson, Vashti Watson, Victor Lashley, Shirley Holder, Mary Yearwood; Association Award – Maureen Prescod – United Barbadians in Massachusetts (UBIM); Margo Eugene – Friends of Barbados in Connecticut (FOBCT); Institution Awards, Transit Workers NY – Carlos Clarke, Steve St Hill, Sherry Kirton, Harriette Goodridge-Seymore, Richard Padmore; and Community Award, Aiden Inches Gilkes.
Awards were presented by Treva Holder and Team Barbados members, Petra Roach, Director, Global Marketing at BTMI; Leslie Gittens, Business Development Officer at Invest Barbados; Vice Consul Janelle Gibson; and Consul General Holder. (PR)