News Americas, BROOKLYN, NY, Tues. Sept. 8, 2015: It’s become the place to be for politicians in New York each Labor Day and Monday was no exception as several politicians flocked to the West Indian American Day Carnival Association breakfast for the kick-off of the 48th carnival.
Non-West Indian pols. mingled with Caribbean-born politicians and were happy to claim the culture for at least a day.
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo arrived early at the event ahead of his flight to Puerto Rico with New York City Council chairwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito.
Even though Cuomo was not speaking to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the governor did not miss the breakfast but managed to avoid running into de Blasio who arrived after with his wife, Chirlane McCray, who insisted: “Today is a day for celebration.”
De Blasio for his part said at a pre-parade breakfast that the city is better because of its “Caribbean-American flavor.”
Also there was New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who deftly swept aside any real response to the Haiti/DR deportation issue when asked by Haitian radio host Ricot Dupry while walking down the parkway with a small delegation to show his support.
State Assemb. Michaëlle C. Solages (D-Elmont), a native of Haiti, also attended as did Grenada roots City Councilman Jumanee Williams; Jamaican Assemblyman Nick Perry and Kenneth Mapp, the governor of the Virgin Islands, who served as a grand marshal.
Even the NYPD, whose officers have hassled many West Indians year round, were in fine form as the NYPD steel drum played a version of Bob Marley’s “One Love” as floats inched down Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights for the annual West Indian American Carnival parade.
By 6 p.m. when the skin baring costumed revelers had pranced down the parkway and the last sounds of soca music was silenced, the politicians were long gone – until next year of course when West Indians will again become important for a day.
To date, there is no accurate count of the West Indian population in the US because there is no Census category. Yet estimates put the total at less than 3 million. The parade alone pulls about 2 million fans to the parkway.