Councilwoman for District #28 Adrienne Adams and Queens Boro President Richard Donovan shared the same NW corner of Little Guyana Square with OGGN (Oil & Gas Network) activists for some NY-style leafletting campaign Friday Afternoon, June 18th.
Candidates Adrienne Adams and Richard Donovan are both running for reelection in Tuesday’s (tomorrow) primary election. OGGN activists were there holding up placards calling attention to the lopsided Oil Contract against the people of Guyana and collecting signatures for a petition calling on president Irfaan Ali to take the first steps to have the Oil Contract renegotiated.
The elevated subway line terminates at Liberty & Lefferts Blvd – and that’s the heart of what has come to be known as Little Guyana. Seventy-five percent of the passengers getting off at this stop are Guyanese. As they descended to street level, they were greeted by candidates and campaign aides handing out colored brochures and leaflets reminding voters to vote in Tuesday’s primary election – as well as by placard-holding activists from OGGN.
It was four o’ clock in the afternoon at the busy intersection – a huge billboard (bearing the picture of real estate magnate Mohamed Osman) towering above the Square, stores and eating places side by side, major bus stops, on the NE corner scores of people were doing political leafletting for Tuesday’s primary election – and with the Bollywood pop music blaring over the intersection, it feels like a festival of sorts.
I asked Councilwoman Adams if she would share a picture with the OGGN guys. She said, “Sure, but not with your signs”. I later popped the same question to Boro president Donovan; he too declined, saying, “I have heard of the controversial Oil Contract – but don’t know enough of the details and I don’t want to be seen as endorsing your campaign for renegotiation”.
So, we folded up our signs – and the candidates and their aides together with OGGN members cheerfully posed for the picture under the Little Guyana street sign.
Councilwoman Adams asked whom I voted for four years ago. I said, “Of course I voted for Richard David”, and quickly added, “Don’t worry, I am voting for you on Tuesday”. (Richard David had lost that contest by 750 votes). Over the last four years, I have observed Ms. Adams several times leading/participating in Guyanese community events. She also voted on several Bills in the City Council that catered to Guyanese Community Causes. She has earned and deserves the Guyanese Community vote. I would urge all Guyanese voters to go to the polls on Tuesday – and do the right thing.
About Richard Donovan, now in his first real campaign. He had filled out the term of Melinda Katz who had moved on to the District Attorney’s office mid-term. We had developed a nice camaraderie with both Mr. Donovan and Ms. Adams. Mr. Donovan was very pleasant. I shall vote for him on Tuesday – and urge all Guyanese to do likewise. In city politics, you must have connections to elected office holders, if you want them to pay attention to your community.
I had been active in the campaign for Free and Fair Elections in 1990 -1992. In those days it was hard to get an appointment with an elected representative at the Federal or local level. And, when you do, they would invariably ask: How many Guyanese live here, how many are citizens, do they vote? Today the Guyanese presence is small but significant. The rule of campaign politics here is to corral votes by communities. And, because of the Guyanese presence and participation in elective politics, it is much easier to get the attention of elected officials. But Guyanese must vote in larger numbers.