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The Guyana Cultural Association of New York (GCA) announces recipients of fifteen awards in celebration of its 15th Anniversary. The Award event is on August 31st, 2016. The Awards have four designations: Youth Award; GCA Award; Exemplary Award and Lifetime Achievement Award.

The honorees are spread across the Guyanese Diaspora. They reside in the United States of America, Canada, Guyana, United Kingdom, and Barbados where the recipients display their global, regional and national impact in various sectors. They achieved significant accomplishments in visual and performing arts, social media, literature, government administration, information technology education, community service, aviation, and as cultural enablers. Prominently evident in the dedication of each individual effort is a demonstration of noble features of Guyanese heritage.

Nominations for the Awards are provided by members of the public, anywhere, after an extensive multimedia call for submissions. Honorees are selected by a ten-member selection committee that evaluates each nomination. It considers the annual theme and seven criteria: originality, scope, impact / influence, integration, pioneering spirit, challenges and achievements. Votes are cast privately.

The Guyana Cultural Association Awards Results

United States: The 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award goes to Claire Ann Goring who is a co-founder of the Brooklyn based GCA. “Her work as the Cultural Director … since its inception in 2001 can be characterized as tenacious.” Interest and passion for the cultural expression grew from her young adult days. “For almost four decades she has unselfishly advanced Guyana’s graphic and festival arts.” Over that time, “she has demonstrated a consistently high level of commitment to managing creativity and promoting the celebration of Guyanese creativity.”

Guyana: Quincy Lacon is an emerging, young performing artist with notable successes in the Caribbean. He is continuing his commendable secondary academic work as he pursues a pharmacology career. The Youth Award also acknowledges his leadership positions in youth organizations providing impactful community service in Linden, Guyana.

Guyana: The GBTI-Buxton Steel Orchestra is an impressive, rising, “relatively ‘young’ band,” of girls and boys. They are 11 to 15 years old and attend secondary schools in Buxton, Bladen Hall, and Annandale. The ensemble was formed as “an after-school program” and it is “staying the course” in positive social activity by playing pan for the last five years. In May 2016, they visited New York City and received much acclaim at the 50th Independence Anniversary Celebrations.

Canada: The Exemplary Award is presented to Cyril Bryan a writer and cultural enabler. He is leading a focus on enhancing and expanding the presentation of Guyana and Guyanese interests for a good life anywhere. His Guyanese On-Line Blog and Newsletter is the leading native social medium in the presentation of Guyana and Guyanese wellbeing globally. It stands out as the single, large publication that is neither self – opinionated nor intentionally hostile to anyone. Its viewership has increased by one million every year since 2014 to reach 4,000,000 in March 2016. This is a remarkable, verifiable accomplishment for its six years of existence.

Canada: Cyril Dabydeen receives the Exemplary Award for his status as a “world renowned Guyanese-Canadian writer: poet, short-story writer, novelist, anthologist, and essayist–as well as educator and race relations professional.” Mr. Dabydeen was the Poet Laureate of the City of Ottawa, l984-87. “Before age 20, he won Guyana’s Sandbach Parker Gold Medal (1964), national poetry prize. His books reflect the Guyanese imaginative landscape and spirit especially his Imaginary Origins: Selected and New Poems.” His recent books include My Multi-Ethnic Friends/Stories. He has published 20 books of fiction and poetry.

The Guyana Cultural Association Award has been accepted by the following persons with illustrious careers; and a long-standing New York cultural enabler.

Guyana: Egbert Carter is a community service archetype based on his engineering education and career in Guyana. He is highly regarded for his voluntary service and contribution to educational and cultural institutions of his country. The National Library, the David Rose Centre for boys, and the Theatre Guild are some that bear his imprint. He was the Chairman of the Voluntary Service Committee of the Guyana Association of Professional engineers (GAPE) for a number of years.

Guyana: Alfred R. King is an avid supporter of indigenous artforms and a highly effective public administrator. In his Permanent Secretary position, he has managed the three intertwined portfolios of culture, youth and sport to meet the needs of Guyanese nationals. There have been notable improvements in program development across the nation. He is also an astute educator and recognized the immense value of the Pan In Education portfolio presented to the Ministry in 2010. It initiated the transformative period of steelpan musicianship that was acclaimed in the press in 2015 by an iconic Guyanese musician. This year he planned and managed the 50th Independence Anniversary Steel Pan program.

United States: Beverley Drake is one of Guyana’s first female pilots. She has an accomplished career in Aviation as a USA Senior Aviation Accident Investigator/Analyst, Safety Advocate, and Industry Safety Spokesperson. A pioneer, Ms. Drake has surmounted the odds working alongside her male peers and she has been rewarded for her achievements. An employee of the National Transportation Safety Board, Ms. Drake is the first and only black woman to serve in her position. She is also an advocate of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) encouraging students in the US and in Guyana to pursue STEM as a career choice.

United Kingdom: David L. Lammy is a British born politician. First elected at age 28 he has served in ministerial positions and won reelection consecutively since 2000. His attainment of a Master of Laws from Harvard University gave him the distinction of being the first black Briton to reach that standing. Mr. Lammy’s profile depicts a Guyanese immigrant story; a poverty story, overcome through the dedication of his single mother, and the pursuit of his aspirations. His professional work is a bridging story, too. Mr. Lammy has been active as “a conduit for successive Guyanese Prime Ministers with the UK government” for many years.

Barbados: Dr. Ann Wallace has a career of distinction in business and information technology education. The Cave Hill School of Business – (CHSB-UWI) was at a fledgling stage in 1991. Guyana-born Ann Wallace joined the Centre for Management Development, envisioned its redesign, and managed the implementation of the Online and Distance Learning (ODL) program across the institution. She spearheaded the migration of the academic programs from traditional class room teaching to a blended learning format. All programs are now delivered completely in ODL systems. Dr Wallace’s 25 years tenure has been definitive and transformative with pioneering elements for a black woman in IT.

Guyana: Betsy Karim is a self-taught visual artist from childhood. “Since 1986, she has been exhibiting her art at a National level. Her work has highlighted historical portraits and ancient Civilizations.” Ms Karim’s “preoccupation with great historical personages, the diverse religions and cultures of the planet, testifies to her relentless search not only for roots, but a past heritage which gives pride and dignity to ALL in our multiracial/ multicultural society.” She defines her work as also a testimony to our ‘ONE beating heart and universal soul’.” Ms Karim’s unique work “lies not only in the thematic content of her art but in her use of innovative materials …which transform her canvas into a rich, exquisite piece of ‘medieval’ Eastern tapestry.”

Guyana: Stephanie Bowry is “a talented writer, researcher, poet, story-teller and Performance Artist. She has done invaluable work in documenting our heritage: our oral ‘true-true’ stories of the supernatural, folklore, traditional rituals, even oral tales handed down from the days of slavery and Colonialism. She has written in an inimitable, lyrical folkloric style, capturing the idioms, proverbial wisdoms, historical drama, in a vivid, organic imagery. Ms Bowry’s literary work has transcended racial and cultural boundaries. Her themes and characters cut across social classes and ethno-political lines. Her enduring presence, popularity and impact in the town of New Amsterdam also transcend race and culture. She is a rare and trusted, unifying, build- bridging, cultural personality.”

United States: Marlon Forrester is a Guyana-born artist and educator raised in Boston, MA. He received his Bachelor’s degree at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and completed a Master’s in Fine Arts at Yale in 2010. Mr. Forrester presents his social consciousness and cultural sensitivities through his paintings. He is proud of his immigrant heritage and pursues every opportunity to link it with his American socialization. He has expressed his concern with the corporate use of the black male body, or the body as logo. “His paintings, drawings, sculptures, and multimedia works reflect meditations on the exploitation implicit in the simultaneous apotheosis and fear of the muscular black figure in America.”

United States: Dr. Tulsi Singh’s scope of work “is a critical statement of personal dedication. He is a patron of Guyanese art, artists and artefacts. He has collected the carvings and paintings of more than twenty Guyanese artists; assembled probably the most complete collection in the world of the first editions of the works of Edgar Mittelholzer; compiled most of the books written about British Guiana from its “discovery” to Independence; collected multiple complete sets of the coins used in Essequebo and Demerary – Demerara and Essequibo; British Guiana; British Caribbean Territories Eastern Group; and Guyana, dating from 1809 to the present.” He “envisioned and executed a sister-city relationship between New Amsterdam, Guyana and Midland, Texas in 1996.

United States: Brooklyn Printers is a family-owned-and-operated company that has been providing service for over 50 years. It has shown its dedication to the community with its enabling support to GCA


Written by Ronald H. Lammy, Chair, GCA – NY Awards Committee.


Congratulations to the winners of the Godfrey Chin Prize, to view the 2016 winners please click through to our archives.