NEW YORK – The Brooklyn based West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA) has kicked off its 2019 Caribbean Carnival with performances and displays by dance troupes, stilt dancers, a steel pan ensemble, soca artistes and costume bands, among others.
Hundreds of Caribbean nationals attended the opening event last Thursday during which WIADCA also presented to a long list of awards to 2018 Ole Mas Characters/Ole Mas Bands; Adult Male and Female Characters; and Junior Male and Female Characters.
Among the recipients were the Trinidadian mas band, Roy Pierre and Associates, which, as in previous years, placed first for the 2018 Ole Mas Character.
“I thank you for being here this evening,” said Dr Jean Joseph, WIADCA’s Dominican-born, the newly-elected president, in her remarks. “Your support of our West Indian American Day Carnival Association is most appreciated; and it is because of you (why) we are still standing today. Give yourselves a round of applause!
“As we celebrate 52 years of community service, Caribbean cultural stewardship and youth development, we are reminded that shaping our communities to reflect all of us is very important,” added Joseph, a certified public accountant (CPA), who replaced Jamaican Dr Ionie Pierce, who was not re-elected after serving for only one year. The overwhelming number of WIADCA’s board members are Trinidadian-born.
“We are a year-round, non-profit organisation, made up of 90 per cent volunteers, who work very hard with our community and our partners to keep culture alive through pop-up programs, mas, wire bending and pan workshops, immigration forums, etc. – all of which have been supported by many of our city agencies and government entities, and we thank you for that.”
“We strive to be a beacon of change, where we embrace, promote and celebrate all aspects of Caribbean heritage and expect all to do the same,” Joseph said.
“We take pride in demonstrating our commitment by creating opportunities, business and entrepreneurism for many in New York City, New York State and this great Borough of Brooklyn. This is our legacy for the generations to come. I look forward to another 52 years with this great Caribbean institution, with your help.”
Performers at the launching ceremony included: Tropical Fete Stilt Dancers; WIADCA Youth Steel Pan Ensemble; N.O.W. Productions; Roxboro Police Youth Club of Tobago; Diverse legends; Diamond Entertainment for Kids; Kaios Kids; Trinidadian soca artiste Camille King, who carries the sobriquet “Milli-K”; De Royce; Million Dolla Capo; Stronjah International; and Sesame Flyers, the perennial WIADCA band winners.
Joseph said, “much to the delight of paying patrons, WIADCA has put together a cast of headline performers from around the Caribbean” during the five-day spectacle, culminating with the grand carnival parade, on Labor Day Monday, September 2, on one of Brooklyn’s major thoroughfares, Eastern Parkway.
Joseph said New York City Public Advocate Jumaanne Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants; and New York City Councilmember Dr Mathieu Eugene, the Haitian-born representative for the 40th Council District in Brooklyn; among others, will serve as Parade Grand Marshals this year.