Last Updated on Saturday, 5 September 2015, 14:21 by GxMediaBy Orin Davidson
On Independence Day, the Hotdog Eating contest is a staple on the entertainment menu for Americans.
For Guyanese New Yorkers their version of an eating contest will hit Folk Festival when the Ex Guyana Police Association introduces a black pudding eating competition which is expected to highlight the gamut of events for Labor Day weekend, on Sunday.
The Brooklyn-based association is hoping to generate unprecedented attention with its world first black pudding eating contest at the Boys and Girls High school complex where Folk Festival will continue an extended run, in the borough.
Six competitors from organizations connected to the military in Guyana and two others from the Caribbean will race to eat 102 inches of the culinary delight, complete with spicy pepper sauce in one minute. The first to eat the most in the stipulated time will be crowned the world’s first ever Black Pudding champion.
The top three competitors of representatives comprising former members of the Guyana Police Force, Guyana Defence Force, Guyana National Service, Guyana Fire Service and ex cops from Barbados and Belize, will be awarded special trophies. Current president of the Ex Guyana Police Association Leroy Charles explained that only water will be used to aid the competitors who will be closely monitored by four judges. “ They can’t spit out anything or take shortcuts,” he added.
The contest is part of the association’s contribution to Folk Festival, as it continues plans to raise its profile and increase charitable contributions to society. The association’s booth will also have portraits of every GPF Commissioner on display and special association T-Shirts will be sold. Charles said they will be celebrating 50 years of existence in 2017, which he rates as the oldest overseas based Guyanese association.
Comprising ex members of the Guyana Police Force, the organization is proud of its Scholarship and Bursary Funds for current members of the force in Guyana which provides wide ranging assistance, financial and otherwise. This year it established an online library for use exclusively by members who can tap in to improve their policing skills among other benefits.
In Brooklyn the group has a longstanding welfare fund which helps members in a variety of ways including monetary assistance in cases of death, marriage and births of newborns. It also stages a twice yearly Computer Program which trains Brooklynites in basic computer knowledge.
Interestingly, the association provides vital assistance to the renowned New York Police Department (NYPD). “Whenever they (NYPD) need information in understanding behavioral patterns of West Indian nationals in the course of their work, we have stepped forward to provide such information”, Charles stated.
More importantly though, the association intends to intensify its fund raising activities which started way back in 1967 through the instrumentality of the popular Guyana Police Force Male Voice choir.
“ Some of our early members were those from the famous Male Voice Choir who formed a Brooklyn version and staged shows for us to packed audiences,” the president explained.
As the organization grew, a slew of similar fund raising events followed including bus rides, picnics and dances which led to the creation of the welfare fund from the beginning of his existence and the bursary fund in 1994.
These days the association stages a weekly “Friday Night Affair” dance where donations are collected once per month at its Clarendon Street headquarters, a building it paid fully for after only 10 years. Annual Christmas parties are also among regularly staged events to boost its coffers and every December Brooklyn children benefit from a special dinner where gifts are provided.
Guyana’s 50th Independence celebrations next year are eagerly awaited by the Diaspora and the Ex GPF association will be in the middle of things as the occasion will coincide with its biennially visits. On top of its agenda is a Black and White outfit dance while interaction with GPF command to strengthen is relationship, is a also priority.
According to Charles,“ It’s been a disappointment to us that not many officers who migrate to New York these days are seemingly not keen on joining the ex officers association”. We aim to fix that among other things during our visit”, he promised.