CANDIDATES, including the mayor-elect, endorsed by, funded, and supported by Guyanese, won their seats in elections held last Tuesday in New York City. Several of these candidates were endorsed by the New York-based Guyana Democracy Project (NYGDP), led by President Dr. Tara Singh. The group lobbied and campaigned for and defended democratic elections held for mayor, borough presidents, judgeships, the City Council (51 seats), and a slew of other city-wide offices.
NYGDP specifically endorsed Eric Adams for mayor, Donovan Richards for Queens borough president, and Karen Gopee for judge, among other candidates. The NYGDP says it is enthused that the candidates it had endorsed, won. In its message, the NYGDP stated: “We are so proud of your victory. It is a strong affirmation of the peoples’ faith in you. The Guyanese community worked very closely with your campaign. There were many volunteers and so many donated to the campaign to help ensure a victory. Each one [sic] of you is well deserving of the position. We appreciate your hard work and commitment to public service, your commitment and dedication and the voters richly rewarded you. Each one [sic] of you campaigned in the Guyanese and Indo-Caribbean community in Queens, Brooklyn, and elsewhere and they came out and voted for you to help ensure a victory.”
The elections were historic with so many minorities, including several Guyanese, Indians and Africans, and people of colour seeking elective office. Several were elected. For the position of mayor, Eric Adams is only the second African American to win the office. The Guyanese community was strongly behind Adams who campaigned in Little Guyana, Richmond Hill and Queens among Guyanese, winning their support. Adams raised a significant amount of money in Queens for his campaign. Mayor-elect Adams is a yoga enthusiast and vegetarian, that he credits for turning around his health issues. He is a former police officer.
In the Greater Richmond Hill area, in District 32 for a City Council seat, a Republican candidate, Joann Ariola, endorsed by Guyanese, handily defeated Democrat Felicia Singh. Ariola defeated Singh by a margin of more than two to one – 67 per cent to 31 per cent with an independent candidate receiving the rest of the votes.
A fundraiser was organised for Ariola by Guyanese Romeo Hitlall, who also served as Ariola’s campaign co-chair. Hitlall said he is extremely pleased with the outcome, promising that Ariola would represent all of her constituents of District 32. A happy and excited Hitlall, one of the leading figures in the Guyanese community in business and cultural promotion, said he has pledged his support to make Ariola a very effective representative and to provide the best service to constituents. Hitlall is very active on Guyanese-American issues and matters pertaining to Guyana.
The Guyanese New York community looks forward to working with each of them as they set to carry out the promises they made during the campaign, especially as it relates to Diwali as a public holiday and including Guyanese among their staff.
Several Guyanese organisations have committed to working with the winners to achieve their goals and eagerly look forward to see Guyanese appointees among their staff.
Dr. Vishnu Bisram