The XGDF Association NY concluded its 30th Anniversary Celebrations with their Annual Black & White Evening of Elegance held on Saturday October 15, 2016 at Antun’s in Queens.
Saturday 1st April turned out to be quite the community affair when XGDF of NY hosted its annual Breakfast Morning at the Wally Griffith Hall on Rockaway Blvd in Queens.
Firstly, there was the content of the breakfast itself; Pepperpot, Saltfish & Bake, Smoked Herring, Fried Cassava, Fried Yellow Plantain, etc, etc, washed down with Mauby and other familiar drinks.
Then there was Jeggae, providing live calypso music; background at first, but then more and more insistent, intended to ward off the sleepy excesses of the aforementioned meal by inducing the hip shaking body swaying responses to the drum that is as ancient as Africa itself.
Lastly, XGDF used this occasion to once again involve our immediate neighbors in South Ozone Park by inviting the young Guyanese candidate now engaged in campaigning for a seat on the City Council, Mr. Richard David, to attend and address the gathering. This visit was facilitated by XGDF member Patrick Stephens who made the introduction of the special guest. Mr. Richard David in his speech stressed the importance of having a largely immigrant community represented at all levels of government, by persons of its own choosing. To register its concern for and empathy with the victims of a devastating fire on Liberty Ave in March, the President of the XGDF of NY used this occasion to present a cheque for $500 to a young community activist Ms. Faudia Baijnauth, who was part of the candidate’s delegation. Everyone expressed the hope that the victims, especially the young children involved, would soon recover from this tragedy and move on to a secure and comfortable life.
On Sunday 12th March the XGDF of NY played host to former soldiers of the Women’s Army Corp of the Guyana Defence Force in the tri-state area as they celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of their unit.
The day’s events commenced with a church service officiated by the Reverends Calvin Clarke and Linda Juene, both ex-soldiers of the GDF.
Reverend Clarke is now our association’s chaplain, and pastor of the Canarsie Community Reformed Church in Brooklyn where, not for the first time, the XGDF of NY has been privileged to join the congregation in worship.
Reverend Juene, granted leave from her own church, travelled from Maryland to celebrate with us, and fit right in among her former comrades recalling her soldier days in graphic language even as she delivered the sermon on biblical account of fighting women in ancient Israel.
Rev. Linda Juene
Flag bearers: (L to R)June Barrington Seaforth-King, Linda Darrell, Naiomi Greaves and Cheryl Baynes
Every seat in the church was occupied. Besides ex female soldiers and their families we also appreciated the turnout of a variety of notable persons among whom were Guyana Government Ministers Ms. Volda Lawrence and Ms. Amna Ally who took time out from a heavily scheduled official visit to New York to be with us. Also visiting as an official representative of the GDF was Lt. Col. Loraine Foster presently serving as GSO1, resplendent in her No. 2 Dress uniform. From the New York political establishment, we were graced with the presence of Mr. and Mrs. Lyndon D Williams, Legislator of Westchester County, and representatives of State Senator Roxanne Persaud and State Assemblywoman Michele Titus. Notable among ex-soldiers paying their respects to the WAC veterans were Lt. Cols Fabian and Hartley Liverpool, and Capt. Aubrey Featherstone accompanied by his wife Hazeline. Various sister and affiliate organizations were also in attendance including Ingrid Ifill representing the Ex- Soldiers of Canada; Patrick Stephens representing the Queens College Alumni Association of America; as well as delegations from the Guyana Ex-Police Association of America and Guyana Ex-Prison Officers of America.
Member Gwen Fredericks who was one of the original members of the first intake in 1967, who would rise through the ranks to become the first female NCO to be commissioned, travelled from Georgia to celebrate with us (as did Linda Darrell from North Carolina) and set the tone for what would turn out to be a joyous day of remembrance and thanksgiving. Gwen addressed the gathering on a brief history of the WAC, choosing to relay events from her perspective, and as only a soldier could do delivered a most hilarious account of the trials, tribulations a triumphs of herself and her squad-mates and later her charges and subordinates.
W/Ex-Captain Gwen Fredericks
After the Church Service, the congregation was invited to the Wally Griffith Hall of the XGDF Association for a reception. The GDF representative took this opportunity to present some of the ex-female soldiers with 50th anniversary medals kindly issued by the Chief of Staff Brig. Patrick West. In return the XGDF of NY expressed appreciation for her visit and expressed the hope that sooner rather than later a female soldier would achieve the honor of being appointed as Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force.
Lt. Col. Lorraine Foster presenting Women’s Army Corps Military Commemoration Medal to W/Ex-Captain Gwen Fredericks
At the reception different generations of WAC members mingled, caught up with old comrades, all in an atmosphere of light banter and reminiscence especially for those that have departed.
The large contingent of male ex-soldiers present also had a wonderful time, but this day was given over to celebration of the achievements of the members of the Women’s Army Corps.
Some of the male members showing their support
As part of their 49th Anniversary Celebrations, The Guyana Ex-Police Association of America held its anniversary church service on Sunday May 1, 2016 at the at St Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Brooklyn.
Five members of the XGDF Association of NY attended the church service and later joined the Ex-Police members for a reception at their hall.
The five members were L to R: Simon Thomas, Joseph Glasgow, Sandra Fraser-Thomas, Naomi Greaves and President Lennox Pyle.
Submitted by Sandra Fraser-Thomas
REUNION DANCE 2016
The XGDF Association NY hosted its
Annual Reunion dance on Saturday April 23rd at the popular Tropical Reflection Ballroom on Glenwood Road Brooklyn where members, friends, family and ardent supporters gathered to party and share old memories.
This year as we celebrate our 30th Anniversary, the association added special ambience to the hall by utilizing a color scheme of black, white and red. The beautifully decorated venue, well stocked bar and mouth-watering cuisine by Ivan’s Catering created an atmosphere not only for partying but it allowed for catching up on old times and renewing acquaintances.
Among our many distinguished guests were: Colonel (ret.) Claude Fraser formally of the Guyana Defence Force, Ms. Bernice Fraser (President) and members of the Winthrop Lions Club, and Mr. Errol Lewis (Honorary member of the XGDF Association) Ministerial Advisor to the Diaspora Affairs.
Music by popular DJ Perry and Buster One Man Band was jamming as the men and women decked out in their finest outfits danced the night away until the wee hours of the morning.
Newly elected President and resident MC Lennox Pyle took time out to thank the patrons for supporting our organization and asked that they to support our future events.
On Saturday 9th April 2016, the Wally Griffith Hall of the XGDF Assoc. of New York was home to the annual gathering of members, family and friends to enjoy old-fashioned Guyanese breakfast fare in a cold New York environment. Among items in the lavish spread was pepperpot, saltfish and bake, fried fish, fried cassava and plantain, cornmeal and sago porridge, and a variety of breads; all washed down with mauby, fruit juice, coffee and tea. Member Michael Jeffrey expertly managed a musical selection of Guyanese and West Indian songs that saw guests singing along to the familiar and nostalgic tunes. As usual, the ladies of the XGDF and their spouses went beyond the call of duty to ensure that the venue and service were up to the highest standards.
This year XGDF was honored by the presence of the visiting first lady of Guyana Mrs. Sandra Granger, and the spouse of the Prime Minister Mrs. Sita Nagamootoo, who were in New York as special guests and presenters at an awards gala in support of the work of Women Of Mission International. Upon obtaining the contact information from Honorary Member Errol Lewis, Past President Cheryl Tappin was able to secure and arrange the presence of the visitors to our event.
Both ladies spoke warmly and frankly about the bonds that tied Guyanese in the Diaspora to events and conditions back home. They also interacted graciously with other guests including the very young, who appeared somewhat awestruck to be chatting so informally with the dignitaries.
Special thanks to the organizers and new executive for planning and managing this event.
The XGDF Association NY held its Biennial Elections on Sunday March 20, 2016 at their headquarters on Rockaway Blvd, in Queens NY.
Several members turned out to cast their votes in selecting the new administration.
The team of Lennox Pyle and Loraine Glasgow edged out the team of Leonard McLean and Winston Smith by a mere one (1) vote to win the elections.
In her final address as President of the organization, outgoing President Cheryl Tappin thanked the members for their support during the two terms of her presidency and pledged her full support to the newly elected officials in the future. “I implore you to use your powers of persuasion to sell the organization. So go out there and bring new and young blood to carry on our legacy”.
Installation of new of new office bearers will be held at the next monthly meeting to be held on Sunday April 17, 2016.
The following is the results of the elected officials for the period 2016 to 2018:
President – Lennox Pyle
Vice President – Loraine Glasgow
Secretary – Sandra Fraser-Thomas
Recording secretary – Carol Barker
Treasurer – Simon Thomas
Assistant Treasurer – Bayard Zephyr
Financial Secretary – Colin Abdool
Committee Members are:
TRIP TO GUYANA CELEBRATING THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE GUYANA DEFENCE FORCE NOVEMBER 14, THRU NOVEMBER 29, 2015
On Saturday November 14, 2015 thirty-five members of the XGDF Association of NY including family members headed by the organization’s President Cheryl Tappin arrived in Guyana to join in the celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of the Guyana Defence Force.
The members were welcomed by the President of the Guyana Veterans Legion Mr. George Gomes as they arrived at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport at Timerhi.
They travelled to Georgetown where they were welcomed and joined other members who had travelled earlier and prior to their group.
The New York contingent was headquartered at the Palace De Leon Hotel on Croal Street where they converged daily to strategize on the various activities they were scheduled to attend.
Sunday November 15, 2015 – Members Meeting – Palace DeLeon, Croal Street
A general meeting was held at the Palace DeLeon Hotel for all members who travelled for the celebrations. Members were brought up to date with the entire itinerary and each activity was discussed. Members attending functions as a group were asked to meet at the hotel at least fifteen minutes prior to departure time and to adhere to all dress codes.
Monday November 16, 2015 – Chief of Staff – Brigadier General Mark Phillips – Base Camp Ayanganna
On Monday November 16, 2015 some members of the New York group accompanied by President of the Guyana Veterans Legion and his Vice President Mr. Arno Solomon made a courtesy call on Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force Brigadier General Mark Phillips. The visiting team was met by and introduced to members of the Chief’s supporting staff including Lt. Col Hussein who has been a great help to the NY Chapter’s President during the planning phase of the trip to Guyana. The Chief explained his role in the security aspect of Guyana and advised that the government will be continuing to build a stronger Militia to defend the county if and when the time arises.
Chief of Staff Phillips was presented with a plaque by the President of the XGDF Association NY on behalf of all of its members.
Monday November 16, 2015 – Karaoke Night – Coghlan House
Getting together for a night of karaoke where members attending showed off their singing skills. Mr. Gomes showed his singing skills but the New York team also showed theirs. This event was well attended by the visiting and local members of both associations.
Tuesday November 17, 2015 – Visit to Shut-ins
This day started out with the New York group (Cheryl Tappin, Johnny Glasgow, John Nichols, Rickford Edwards, and Steve Clarke) spearheaded by Welfare Officer of the Guyana Veterans Legion Ms. Beverly Somerset paid visits to shut-ins. The group travelled to the east coast, east bank and the veterans’ home where they made monetary tokens to fourteen individuals. Some of the shut-ins visited were W/Lcpl. Hermina Simon, Pte. Stanley Leacock, W/Cpl. Allison Newark
Tuesday November 17, 2015 – Executives Meeting – Coghlan House
This meeting was chaired by President of the Guyana Veterans Legion Mr. George Gomes and in attendance were executive members of XGDF Association and Guyana Veterans Legion. Mr. Gomes thanked the members of the XGDF NY for all assistance received over the past years and asked that we go an extra mile in sending medical supplies which can be bought over the counter. He specifically made mention on testing strips and meters for diabetics and blood pressure monitors. He also asked that we consider sending vitamins which also could be bought over the counter. President Tappin promised to look into his request and to ask assistance from the NY members. He also mentioned the yearly contribution he receives from the XGDF NY and was advised that all proceeds from Shades of Green and White Post Thanksgiving Party on November 27 will be given to the Veterans Legion.
Wednesday November 18, 2015 – Courtesy Call on His Excellency President David A. Granger (a) – Office of the President
Some members visited with His Excellence President Granger. Members visiting were: (President of the XGDF Association NY) Cheryl Tappin, (Vice President) Lennox Pyle, (Financial Secretary) Joseph Glasgow, Steve Clarke, John Nichols, (Committee Members) Lorraine Glasgow and Arthur King, David Grimmond, and (Assistant Treasurer) Simon Thomas, (President Guyana Veterans Legion) George Gomes and his Vice President Mr. Arno Solomon. President Granger was introduced to members of the visiting party by Cheryl Tappin (President XGDF NY). President Tappin congratulated the President on his election to office and pledged the support of the New Yorkers in helping him reach his goals. After swapping memories of the past, the President advised members of the state of affairs of the government upon taking office after elections and confirmed he has a five year plan for the development of Guyana and its people. He also reiterated that the donation made to the Veterans Legion should be used by that organization to make them self-sufficient.
President Granger was presented with his #1 Dress Jacket of the XGDF NY, a portrait of himself (painted by Ex-Sgt. Oswald Mussenden) and a plaque recognizing/congratulating him on his election.
Wednesday November 19, 2015 – Funeral Service (b)
Members came together and attended a funeral service in support of Member Franklin Lewis whose ex-wife passed away earlier that week.
Wednesday November 19, 2015 – Trooping of the Colors (c) – Base Camp Ayanganna
Members attended the historic consecration of Trooping of The Colors which was held on the grounds of Base Camp Ayanganna. This consecration and trooping of the Colors focused on of five Units of the GDF— the Number One Infantry Battalion, Second Infantry Battalion, Base Camp Ayanganna, Base Camp Stephenson and Four Engineers Battalion. Ranks on parade marched in both slow and quick timing at and at times one can hear loud applause as their precision was witnessed by all present. Commander in Chief- Brigadier (Ret’d) David A Granger, and Chief of Staff -Brigadier General Mark Anthony Phillips, took the salute from the ceremonially attired ranks. The five flags were blessed by army Chaplain Rev. Nicholas Corbin, with Pastor George Jeffers, assistant force Chaplain in support. And also Pundit Dhanesh Prashad and Brother Asheel Khan.
Thursday November 20, 2015 – Excursion to Seweyo
This activity was cancelled. Instead, members of both the Guyana Veterans Legion and XGDF Association NY visited with the members of Guyana Veterans Legion at Rose Hall Corentyne. The day was spent with members interacting, renewing acquaintances and catching up on news.
Friday November 21, 2015 – Veterans Day – Base Camp Ayanganna
Fallen and retired soldiers were remembered by the Guyana Defence Force at the Veterans Day wreath laying ceremony. Wreaths were laid at the Veterans’ Monument, Base Camp Ayanganna. The wreath laying ceremony was headed by Commander-In-Chief President David A. Granger. Others who laid wreaths were Brigadier General Mark Phillips, President of the Guyana Veterans Legion George Gomes, President of the XGDF Association of NY Cheryl Tappin and our own Hartley Liverpool. Day 1 soldiers (veterans) were recognised and we are pleased and proud to say that John Nichols, Hartley Liverpool and Arthur King (XGDF NY) were among those honoured. Among those in attendance were former Chiefs-of-Staff and former officers, serving officers and ranks and veterans. The Chief-of-Staff made a monetary donation to the President of the Guyana Veterans’ Legion, Retired Colonel George Gomes.
Saturday November 22, 2015 – Military Tattoo – Base Camp Ayanganna
Members attending joined the crowd converged on the playfield at Camp Ayanganna to witness parachute jumps, a mock battle, and splendid fireworks all making for an unforgettable show. Paratroopers of the Special Forces Squadron of the GDF showed off their skills as they jumped down in colourful parachutes at 12000 feet. In addition to the sky dive display, the Band Corp presented their precision marching skills while rendering beautiful music. There was also a martial arts display, precision or `Silent’ drills, a simulated battle and fireworks which brought an end to the afternoon’s program.
Sunday November 22, 2015 – Wild Meat Extravaganza – Coghlan House
This event was well attended with members, friends and supporters converging on the lawns and hall of Coghlan. Succulent wild meat was on sale for patrons to purchase and partake. There were turtle, iguana to name a few.
Thursday November 26, 2015 – Military Command Competition – Base Camp Stephenson
No reps from NY attended.
Friday November 27, 2015 – Military Command Competition Finals – Base Camp Stephenson (a)
Member Joseph Glasgow attended.
Friday November 27, 2015 – Green and White Post Thanksgiving & Farewell Party (b)
This event was hosted by XGDF NY and was well attended. All proceeds were presented to the President of the Guyana Veterans Legion Mr George Gomes. Again this was another night for members to make their promises to keep in contact with each other and to visit more often. In her closing remarks, New York’s President Ms. Cheryl Tappin introduced members of the NY group who gave their time, energies and support of her during the preparation and execution of this visit. She also thanked the Guyanese group for the hospitality shown and a wonderful and enjoyable two weeks of activities. She urged members to continue to support Mr. Gomes as his fight is not only for himself, but for all ex-soldiers/veterans.
Saturday November 28, 2015 – Members who travelled on November 14 prepared for their return trip to USA
Former GDF officer, Colonel Cecil “Pluto” Martindale celebrated his 90th birthday in Toronto, Canada. The Guyana Ex-Soldiers Association of Canada fraternity held a 90th birth anniversary celebration in his honor at the fabulous Banquet Hall in Toronto, Canada on Friday February 5th 2016. Colonel Martindale, served in both the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) and the Guyana People’s Militia (GPM) for decades – Happy birthday Colonel.