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Guyana Cultural Association Folk Festival Awards 2005
Brooklyn Borough Hall, New York August 31, 2005


The Guyana Cultural Association Folk Festival Awards recognize all contributions to Guyanese culture. All honorees are selected through an open process and public ‘call for nominations’. A selection committee evaluates each nomination considering seven attributes in our selection criteria: originality, scope, impact / influence, integration efforts, pioneering spirit, challenges overcome and achievements. Each honoree is expected to exemplify characteristics of a model for others to follow.

The total number of awards is guided by the anniversary date of Guyana’s Independence. In 2005, two additional awards are presented two extraordinary models in Guyanese dance. A special Exemplary Award goes to a non-Guyanese, Lavinia Williams in recognition of her role in the formation and development of the National Dance Company of Guyana.

The first Guyana Cultural Association and Wordsworth McAndrew Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to Doris Harper Wills for pioneering work in the dance art form.

We are particularly grateful for the contribution of Ms. Wills and the thirty–nine Guyanese to the Guyana’s cultural heritage. We thank them sincerely as fellow Guyanese.

Ronald H. Lammy Co-Chair,
Folk Festival Awards Selection Committee

August 7, 2005

The Guyana Folk Festival announces its 2005 annual Guyana Cultural Association Folk Festival Awards. Thirty-nine awards, one for every year of Guyana's independence, will be presented at an Award Ceremony on August 31, 2005 at the Brooklyn Borough Hall, New York. The honorees will be featured in both the Guyana Folk print magazine and on the website: http://guyfolkfest.org.

The 2005 list of honorees recognizes many stalwarts of Guyanese Dance expression in acknowledgment of this year's Festival theme: Celebrating Guyanese Dance. Among the awardees are two outstanding contributors. This year for the first time, The Guyana Folk Festival will award a special Exemplary Award and the Guyana Cultural Association Wordsworth McAndrew Lifetime Achievement Award.

Madame Lavinia Williams receives the special Exemplary Award for her role in the formation and development of the National Dance Company of Guyana.

Doris Harper Wills is accorded the Guyana Cultural Association, Wordsworth McAndrew Lifetime Achievement Award for pioneering work in the dance art form.

In addition to dance, every major art form has been recognized in the broad-based selection of nominees in Guyanese culture. All Honorees are selected through an open process of call for nominations from the global Guyanese Diaspora. A selection committee evaluates each nomination considering seven attributes in our selection criteria: originality, scope, impact / influence, integration, pioneering spirit, challenges and achievements. The honorees represent exemplary models in their discipline.

Attendance at the Award Ceremony at the Rotunda of the Brooklyn Borough Hall, New York is by invitation. If you have any questions and prefer to call, kindly contact our Cultural Director, Claire Goring at 718.209.5207 for more information regarding this Award Ceremony or other Guyana Folk Festival events. You can also visit www.guyfolkfest.org or send an email to RHLammy@guyfolkfest.org.


Ronald H. Lammy      Tangerine Clarke,
Co-Chairs, Guyana Cultural Association Folk Festival Awards Selection Committee


Williams, Lavinia

Wills, Doris Harper

  • Alves, Bonny
  • Andries, Lloyd
  • Britton, Lio Queh Queh Group
  • Cambridge, Vibert
  • Chan, Neil
  • Charles, Dudley
  • Chin, Godfrey
  • Douglas, Andrea
  • Douglas Daniel, Vivienne
  • DrePaul, John
  • Emanuel, Juliet
  • Fredericks, John
  • Griffith, Linda
  • Hoppie, Winston
  • Lanyi, David
  • Lawrence, Margaret
  • Mack, Trenton
  • McClintock, Philip
  • Moore, Colin
  • National Dance Company of Guyana
  • October Edun, Rose
  • Pereira, Beryl
  • Pilgrim, Frank
  • Primus, Sandra
  • Richmond, James
  • Rudder, Akoyah
  • Sage, Boysie
  • Sargeant, Elsie
  • Seales, Ray
  • Shah, Malini
  • Singh, Gora
  • Singh, Pritha
  • Sister Rose Magdeline
  • Stewart-Shaw, Sandra
  • Taitt, Helen
  • Valz, Sonia
  • Walcott, Verna
  • Williams, Ras Como
  • Woodside Choir


  1. Originality: This attribute refers to nature of the idea, expression, or product/innovation. The term "expression" is used here to refer to more than verbal expressions and can include any manifestation of Guyanese creativity from plait bread, butter flaps, peddle pushers, music, paintings, our cuisine, etc.
  2. Scope: Did the idea, expression, product/innovation have ramifications/consequences beyond the village, county, region, etc? Has it been long lasting? Here we also consider factors that could have constrained/restricted the scope of the idea, expression, product/innovation.
  3. Impact/Influence: Did the idea, expression, or product/innovation have economic, political, cultural, and social consequences?
  4. Integration: Did the idea, expression, or product/innovation contribute to social, cultural, and political harmony? Also, did it lead to the improvement of cultural understanding?
  5. Pioneering Spirit: Pioneering spirit refers to an idea, expression, and product/innovation that was introduced even in the face of derision.
  6. Challenges: This refers to Guyanese who have overcome physical, psychological, economic, social, residential, cultural, and political barriers to make a contribution that satisfies some of the criteria/attributes listed at 1 through 5.
  7. Achievements: This refers to the nominee's body of work. It is not a mere quantitative measure---"Nuff is not always the best."

June 2004

Photos by Linden Drakes
September 4, 2005

Rose October-Edun, Malini Shah and Verna Walcott-White do a dance item.

IT WAS an evening of nostalgia Wednesday as tributes, praise and a great feeling of being Guyanese filled the courtroom of Brooklyn’s Borough Hall in New York where hundreds of expatriates gathered for the annual Folk Festival awards ceremony. The event, which saw 39 Guyanese being awarded for their sterling contribution to dance, kick-started the fifth such event to be held to date which happens to coincide with the much-anticipated Labor Day weekend festivities.

Winston ‘Jeggae’
Hoppie in action.

One of the pioneers of interpretive dance, Doris Harper Wills, was emotional as she accepted the Wordsworth McAndrew Lifetime Achievement Award, and a proclamation from Deputy Borough President, Yvonne Graham, for her work that continues to be an inspiration to audiences around the world. In addition, an Exemplary Award was named for the late founder of the National Dance School, Lavinia Williams.

Ambassador Bayney Karran addresses the Awards Ceremony.

Community activist, Colin Moore, in turn, was presented with a proclamation from Senator John Sampson, as well as an award from the folk festival committee.

The awardees looked on in awe as their life’s work was beamed onto a screen during a computer-generated presentation, and Co-Chair of the awards committee, Ronald H Lammy, narrated their stellar work.

Verna Walcott-White receives her award from Guyana’s Consul General, Mr Brentnol Evans

Awardees included Bonny Alves of the famed Yoruba Singers; Sonja Valz-Abbott; Dr W Lloyd Andries; Dr. Vibert Cambridge; Godfrey Chin; Andrea Douglas; Vivienne Douglas Daniels; John ‘Slingshot’ Drepaul; Dr Juliet Emanuel; John Fredricks; Neil Chan; Dudley Charles; Trenton Mack; the late Phillip McClintock; Rose October-Edun; Margaret Lawrence; The Woodside Choir; Beryl Perreira; Sandra Primus; James Richmond; Akoyah Rudder; Ray Seals; Malini Bose-Shaw; the late Helen Taitt; the late Gora Singh; Pritha Singh; Sandra Stuart-Shaw; Verna Walcott White; and Ras Camo Williams. In his keynote address, Ambassador Bayney Karran of the Guyana Mission in Washington, congratulated the Guyana Cultural Association (GCA) for its outstanding tribute on the award recipients, and commended the team for hosting an event, for the first time, in the Indo-Guyanese community of Richmond Hill, in Queens. He said the initiative is a great move, and one which is evidently aimed at promoting greater unity within the Guyanese community in New York.

Noting that the festival has developed in scope and impact, and that it has grown to become one of the biggest annual Guyanese cultural events outside of Guyana, Karran said it serves to accord due recognition to those whose labors have made a contribution to “our wonderful cultural heritage, [and that] it is only by standing firmly and united together, that we will be able to maintain our traditional ways and values in communities overseas.”.

Mr. Colin Moore receives his proclamation from Senator John Sampson. Looking on are Councilwoman Evette Clark and Una Clark.

Doris Harper-Wills receives her ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ from Woodsworth Mc Andrew.

And, in the spirit of dance, GCA President, Malcolm Hall, said: “We are here to teach and to educate each other on the aspects of Guyanese heritage that will let us put into perspective our national treasures, [these being] our human resources, our beautiful music, our bold canvases, our flirtatious dances and complex rhythms and beats, and our unique dialogue and sense of humour.”

Part of the audience at the Awards Ceremony.

Emceed by popular radio personality, Franklin ‘Bobby’ Vieira, the evening resonated with rhythms and outpourings of cultural expression. Winston ‘Jeggae’ Hoppie, one of the award recipients, brought the audience alive with drumbeats that were carried through to an inspiring collage of Indian, modern and African dance movements by Malini Bose-Shaw, Rose October-Edun and Verna Walcott-White.

Presenting Wordsworth McAndrew with a substantial monetary contribution on behalf of the committee, GCA Financial Director, Claire Patterson-Mohan thanked the folklorist for his sterling contribution to ‘Folk’ that continues to inspire a new generation of Guyanese.

The evening culminated with a cocktail reception in the Rotunda, where the audience sang folk songs and danced to the spirited drumming of ‘Queh-Queh’ music.


This article was first published in the Guyana Chronicle


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