NY Guyanese urged to bid for Richmond Hill Casino contracts

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I will greatly appreciate space in your paper for this important issue. I am urging New York-based Guyanese to put in bids for contracts for the construction of the new Richmond Hill Aqueduct Casino which will get under way in the spring. I am also encouraging them to apply for jobs overseeing construction as well as to work at the casino when the casino starts operations.
From the outset, Chuck Mohan, Albert Baldeo, Mahadeo Persaud, Vishnu Mahadeo, Vishnu Bisram and other Guyanese joined others in the Richmond Hill area to oppose the introduction of casino gambling in our community. We were and still are worried about the attendant problems that come with casino gambling especially when several schools and senior citizen centres are located just blocks away from the proposed casino site.
The politicians (Senator, Assemblyman, Councilman, Local Community Boards, etc.) supported our rallies and presented our politicians in their legislatures opposing gambling in our communities. They gave a commitment that gambling will not be brought into the Richmond Hill community when they met with us repeatedly. Governors George Pataki, Elliott Spitzer, and David Patterson also affirmed their commitment to our opposition to casino gambling in our neighbourhood including when they were candidates. But Patterson reneged on his promise and signed a deal earlier this year to introduce gambling in Richmond Hill breaking our hearts. We were heart broken — goes to show you can never trust some politicians.
Aqueduct hosts a flee market where hundreds of Guyanese go shopping every Saturday and Sunday for good deals and with this closure in two weeks, Guyanese would lose out on bargains. It has been around for almost 60 years. Dozens of Guyanese vendors who market their goods there and or are employed by sellers would be without jobs when the market closes. They protested last month calling for space to sell their goods. The city is ignoring them.
Since we could not stop the project and many will lose their jobs, Guyanese are urged to take advantage of opportunities that come from the casino project.
Ground- break ceremony was recently held for the start of construction of the casino. The company that will own the casino, Resort World NY and Tutor Perini, hosted their contract outreach and job application event at the Aqueduct Racetrack last week. Unfortunately, only a handful of Guyanese showed up. The casino management discussed job contract projects as well as accepted job applications. Construction will commence in February. The company promises to give first preference to contractors and employees from the community especially those who will be affected by the closure of the famous Aqueduct racetrack.
The (Guyanese) Richmond Hill Economic Development Council (RHEDC), founded by Vishnu Mahadeo, one of the hardest working activists, invited community contractors to attend the Outreach Event. Mahadeo has been going around goading local community contractors and workers to apply for positions with the casino. People like Mahdeo Persaud and myself feel an alternative location should be found for the flea market (although I don’t patronise it) to keep people employed.
During the last month, RHEDC held two outreach sessions with more than 40 local contractors to further develop the Richmond Hill/Ozone Park community where tens of thousands of Guyanese are settled.
Currently, RHEDC is holding workshops to assist the local contractors and builders to establish themselves as Minority Businesses via MBE and WBE certifications so they can also bid for government contracts.
For more information, please email RichmondHillEDC@gmail.com or visit the casino company website.