The Indo-Caribbean Federation hosted Indian Arrival Day in New York with an open air cultural variety concert at a park in Richmond Hill. Hundreds clad in traditional attire turned out for the annual East Indian Arrival Day celebration in the heart of the Indo-Caribbean community in Queens.
The celebration involved a male and female singing competition as well as a female dancing contest. Other accomplished singers from the Indo Caribbean Community also entertained the crowd. There was a pageant involving modeling and talent (dancing and singing) and a Miss Indo-Caribbean Federation Queen chosen. Lolita Singh and Colleen Chattergoon coordinated the pageant. Live band music accompanying the singers was supplied by Anoop Dhanpat and the Sansaar Sangeet Orchestra. There was also karaoke signing. There were fabulous performances by all of the artiste’s top-class entertainment.
The New York Police Department also came out in force to provide security and to facilitate the flow of traffic along with their Recruiting Dept. The Punjabi community of Richmond Hill held its open cultural program on the same afternoon in the park attracting thousands and putting strain on parking spaces.
The idea of observing "Indian Arrival Day" in New York was initiated by a group of Indo-Caribbeans in a discussion in 1983. The first Indian Arrival celebration was held in 1984 and since then the concept has taken off becoming an annual observance. This year's celebration commemorated the 181st anniversary since the migration of the first batch of Indians set foot (May 5, 1838) in the Caribbean (Guyana).
The Indo-Caribbean Federation is led by Ralph Tamesh whose team of Executive’s Board of Directors and Committee members planned, organized, and executed the commemoration of the historic celebration. The Federation was founded as a loose alliance of dozens of organizations – an idea that conceived by Bhanu Dwarika, Baytoram Ramharack, Vishnu Bisram, Ramesh Kalicharran, Gora Singh, Iserdath Ramdehol, among others. Artistes from Surinam, Guyana, Trinidad, Jamaica, and India usually performed at the event performing for free. This year is no exception.
Hundreds, with many dressed in traditional attire (Punjabi suits, Shalwar Kameez, lahenga, kurtha sets, Nehru suits) turned out for the program on this bright sunny afternoon cheering the artistes and beauty contestants and enjoying the entertainment. Rain showers interrupted the program around 5:30 PM. But a break in the weather and return of sun saw its conclusion at 7:00 PM.
Several businesses sponsored prizes, provided food and underwrote the costs associated with staging the concert.
Among the speakers and presenters were Parmanand Sukhu, Roger Singh of HealthFirst, Frank Singh, Lisa Edoo, and Ralph Tamesh. The emcees were Imran Ahmed, Patricia Raghunandan, and Latchmee Singh, all of whom did a fantastic job. The new ICF Queen 2019 Miss Heema Singh was crowned, Miss Ambika Persaud was the 1st Runner up and Priyaa Singh was the second Runner up, prizes were doled out also to the other winners, Farouk Muntazali for winning the male singing, Britina Toolsie for winning the dancing and Balika Seenarine for the singing competition.
It was an entertainment packed and fun-filled cultural variety concert. The audience dance and clapped to the beat of Bollywood and local Indo-Caribbean songs and music. Several Punjabis and non-Indians were among the crowd drawn to the six hours of glamorous entertainment.
The organizers of the concert also put out a special publication, Indo-Caribbean Magazine, highlighting aspects of life of the community.The President of the Federation, Ralph Tamesh a thirty-year veteran spoke briefly about the work of the ICF – propagating culture and sports in New York and assisting less fortunate emigres. Tamesh praised the hard work of members in making the celebration a magnificent success. He applauded the artistes for their participation and the Indian pioneers. "Their hard work and steadfastness have made what we are today. They have made us a proud people". He thanked the audience for coming out to offer encouragement to the performers and to celebrate the Indian heritage. He also praised those who assisted in the commemorative activities and expressed gratitude to the various sponsors and donors.
The organization also honored Guyana’s nightingale singer Seeta Panday who have distinguished herself in service to the community, the ICF once again in its humanitarian efforts donated a thousand dollars to Omesh Khemraj a former participant at the Smokey Park event who is suffering with kidney failure; he made a stage presence.