Barbados: Small Island makes big news on Eastern Parkway

Brooklyn, NY- – The small island of Barbados was ably represented on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn this week, dominating the 38th West Indian American Day Carnival Parade with a spread of yellow and blue, the Bajan national colours, and reflecting the sentiments of national pride which Soca queens Natahlee and Shontelle reinforced in their winning tune “Colours” during the 2005 Crop Over season in Barbados.

The Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA), the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) and the Exodus Mas Camp coordinated Barbados’ presence on the Parkway this year by attracting hundreds of revellers, some in costume, others wearing the radiant Barbados colours on their T-Shirts and bandanas.

“We need to have a presence on occasions like these,” said Diana Clarke, one of the BTA’s New York-based business development managers. “Maintaining a relationship with the community and ensuring the culture is well received are of critical importance,” she added, noting that many of the revellers visit Barbados throughout the year, some once, others twice and three times.

Bajans from all walks of life, from top musicians Red Plastic Bag, Kid Site, Alison Hinds, Timmy, Rupee to Ernest Reeves, a Bajan serving in the US Army in Iraq, and Barbados’ Consul General in New York Jessica Odle, kept the Barbadian flag flying high on the Labour Day Monday.

Al Gilkes, Chairman of the National Cultural Foundation, said, “If you are living outside of Barbados, you like to feel that there is some piece of the rock which is here with you, and I think this gives Bajans across the United States, Canada, wherever they are from, that opportunity to come together and feel as one family at least for a few hours on a particular day.”

Popular Caribbean radio personality, Bobby Vieira, who was providing radio commentary on the Parkway, said that the Barbados contingent was one of the stronger and larger bands on Monday. “Barbados’ flag clearly dominated among the revellers on the entire Parkway and this was an impressive feat considering the island’s small size and the millions of others who came out to participate, in one way or another.”

Millions of West Indians gathered peacefully – but with high visibility and audibility – on Eastern Parkway on Monday’s Labour Day in an exuberant celebration of culture during the Parade in Brooklyn.

Parade Grand Marshals included New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Congress member Barbara Lee of California, who led legislative efforts for a Caribbean American Heritage Month, veteran calypsonian Calypso Rose, New York State Attorney General Elliot Spitzer, and Colonel Irving F. Donaldson.

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