Vincies mask Labour Day Carnival
September 14, 2007

Vincies mask Labour Day Carnival

by Nelson King in New York14.SEP.07

Vincentian masqueraders last week Monday, Labour Day, made their country proud with their captivating artistic display and revelry during the West Indian American Day Carnival parade on Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway.{{more}}

The two Vincentian mas bands here – Mas Productions Unlimited and Carnival Players International (CPI) – gave 3 million spectators and thousands of other masqueraders and revelers a glimpse of the country’s artistry during the extravaganza.

But it was enough to dazzle even some of the ubiquitous, 5,000-strong New York police officers, who sought to maintain the peace on a picture-perfect carnival day.

“This is the best band I’ve seen so far,” a curious police officer told Searchlight, clearly dazed by the CPI’s “Kaiso, Kaiso” production, designed by veteran Vincentian mas man Ozzie Constance and co-produced by Adonis “Goat” Hector and Bernard “Yank” Browne, ex-Nelson Bloc producers.

“This is beautiful. This is nice,” he exclaimed about the nine-section tribute to veteran calypsonians.

They comprised: Teaser; Mama this is Mas; Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot; My Pussin; Vincy Mas; Ole Woman Alone; Pirates; Flag Woman; and Justice.

“I’m feeling great,” said Calypsonian Jakie, who hails from Vermont, portraying “Pussin,” flanked by his twin sons, Hasani and Osai Laborde, 13.

“I love doing this every year,” he added.

Celloy Williams, CPI’s vice president, originally from Rose Place, said she was proud that St. Vincent and the Grenadines was well represented on the Parkway.

“The mas looks good,” she said, ensuring that masqueraders were in their respective sections.

“All the hard work paid off,” she said. “We’re proud of what we did.”

Mas Productions Unlimited, founded by veteran mas producer Wesley Millington, was also proud in highlighting its native land in “Bacchanal Time.”

“I’m excited!” shouted Keneisha Robinson, formerly from Upper Glen, portraying “Mardi Gras.”

Other experienced producers – Junior “Melbourne” Constance, Ricardo “Puzzle” Grant and Paddy Corea – were on hand, keeping close vigilance.

“It’s fun,” said African American Patonia Guerrac, portraying “Insomnia.”

“It was heavy at first,” said the Junior Queen, in her fourth year with Mas Productions Unlimited, about her costume.

“But when I’m having fun, the weight comes off,” she added.

“No sleep, but nuff party,” chimed in Simmone Jackson, portraying Constance-designed “Bacchus: Lord of Wine and Revelry.”

Except for an unidentified 26-year-old spectator who was shot in the leg about two hours before the event’s 6:00 p.m. close, police reported that the spectacle was relatively peaceful.

The 40th anniversary showcase was dedicated to Carlos Lezama, the founder and former president of the organizing group, West Indian American Day Carnival Association, who died in January, after a period of sustained illness.

His daughter, Trinidad-born Yolanda Lezama-Clark, succeeded him six years ago, when failing health forced him to relinquish the presidency.