GOPIO’s Upper New York Chapter held its Ninth Annual Dinner and Dance on April 29, 2017, to celebrate the arrival of Indian Indentured Laborers to Guyana. This program was held at Starlite Pavilion, Richmond Hill, Queens, New York and was coordinated by Mr. Jhairam Persaud, President of the GOPIO Upper New York Chapter.
Jhairam Persaud’s, welcome address was followed by two speeches and a book launch. Dr. Sharla ShiromieKargi spoke on “Mental Health issues in Guyana and the Caribbean” with emphasis on suicide rates in those areas. Mr. Dennis Ramdin spoke about the “Vihara Poverty Project “.
Dr. BasdeoMangru, a prominent author and historian, launched his book, “Champions of Indo-Guyanese Welfare, 1838-1938”. His book concentrates on the individuals and groups who championed the welfare of Indian workers in the 100 years following their landing in Guyana in May1838.
Later, Dr. Leslie Ramasammy, the son of an immigrant, spoke about “Adversities and Continued Rising of Indian Immigrants”. Dr. Ramasammy is the former Minister of Health and Minister of Agriculture and he referred to indenture-ship as a form of re-engineered slavery and his words resonated very well with the audience.
The GOPIO Service Awards were presented after the book launch and the former Test Cricketer and coach, Mr. Joseph Stanislaus Solomon won the Community Service Award. Mr. Solomon is currently involved in the selection process of the West Indies team and was coaching a local team in his native Guyana until retiring in 2005.