• 23 Sep, 2023

Indo-Caribbean Appointed Queens Boro VP

Indo-Caribbean Appointed Queens Boro VP

Indo-Caribbean Appointed Queens Boro VP

Indo-Caribbean Rhonda Binda was earlier this month appointed Deputy Borough President of Queens, New York, by the elected President Donovan Richards. Mr. Richards won the Presidency in a special election in November. He is filling out the term of Melinda Katz who resigned as Boro President to become Queens District Attorney. Richards was sworn in as President in December.

The Indian Diaspora Council International (IDC) issued a press releasing congratulating Richards on his election victory becoming the first Black male to hold the post. The IDC also congratulated Rhonda Binda on the appointment as Dep. Boro President. She is the fiorst South Asian, Indo-Caribbean, Indo-Guyanese to hold such an office. Binda lives in Jamaica Estates, Queens.

Binda, an attorney and community leader, is one of the two Deputy Borough Presidents of Queens. Food justice expert Michael Hurwitz is the other Deputy Borough President.The appointments were announced Queens Borough President (QBP) Donovan Richards in the New Year. Rhonda Binda and Michael Hurwitz will focus on land use, technology, food insecurity, criminal justice reform, parks and transportation, Richards said.

In an invited comment on her appointment, Binda said: “As a woman of color, it is important to me that QBP Richards is committed to ensuring that women continue to have a strong voice in our government and community. I’m honored and humbled to have this opportunity to serve as Dep. QBP of Queens, and I am excited to help QBP Richards implement his inspirational vision for our Borough. I am deeply inspired by QBP Richards, and his story, an immigrant fulfilling the American dream and holding the doors to opportunity open for those behind him. I am also honored to follow in the footsteps of the late QBP Helen Marshall, who like myself was of Guyanese descent, and like QBP Richards, helped so many young people in our Borough achieve what was possible. I am also honored to follow in the footsteps of the late QBP Helen Marshall, who like myself was of Guyanese descent, and like QBP Richards, helped so many young people in our Borough achieve what was possible”.

Binda is an internationally recognized People’s Choice leader in building smart and connected communities. She is an Adjunct Professor at City University of New York (CUNY) and served on both the 21 Century Government and Foreign Policy teams for the Biden-Harris 2020 Presidential campaign. Binda attended public schools in Queens. Because of her academic potential, she was recruited for the prestigious Prep for Prep program, which provided her a path to scholarships to The Lawrenceville School, Duke University, Georgetown University Law Center and Oxford University.

Binda said she traveled to 6 continents, 40+ countries, and hundreds of cities working with state and local leaders.

In its press release lauding the appointment of Binda, the IDC states that “it takes pride in Rhonda Binda’s elevation to high office, being a person of Indian Origin becoming Deputy QBP”. The organization conveys its best wishes for her continued progress. The organization adds: “It looks forward to a very progressive agenda in New York, in particular in Queens, on urgent social issues, education, healthcare, senior care, and economic development. IDC is encouraged that that Deputy QBP Rhonda Binda intends to seek valuable input, suggestions and advice from community advocates and others to address these pressing issues and fulfill her tenure with timely responsiveness to the needs of the diverse communities of Queens, New York”.

Indian Diaspora Council International (IDC), established in 1997, is an international non-profit organization with global affiliates and membership in 21 countries with the objective to embrace, engage and enhance the shared heritage, aspirations and interests of persons of Indian origin with optimum inclusivity.

Separately, the New York based Guyana Democracy Project also sent a letter congratulating Mr. Donovan Richards on his election and applauding him for the appointment of Rhonda Binda as Dep. BP. NYGDP also congratulated Binda on her appointment and wished her well on in her endeavors. In a release, the NYGDP stated: “We look forward to working closely with the Queens Boro President Office to further the interests of our community and as well as others in Queens; thereby strengthening cooperation and partnership”.

Dr Vishnu Bisram

Dr Vishnu Bisram is Guyanese born who received his primary and secondary education in Guyana and tertiary education in the US and India. He is a fourth generation Indian. His great grandparents from both his mother and father’s sides were born in India -- Gurbatore from Ghaizpur, Amru from Azamgarh, Sau from Chapra, Mangri from Mau, Bhuri and Bhura Singh from Bharatpur, among others. They all came at different times to then British Guiana (1880s and 1890s) to work on sugar plantations as indentured laborers. After serving ten years, they were freed laborers. They remained on the colony rather than returned to India, married and had children. They used the savings from indentureship to purchase landholdings to cement their ties to their adopted land. They were not given free land. Vishnu Bisram is ninth of twelve children of Gladys and Baldat, rural farmers, she also was a seamstress and he a taylor and they attended to a kitchen garden as well. Vishnu attended the St Joseph Anglican (called English) primary school from 1966 to 1972. In 1972, he passed the annual nationwide Common Entrance exam winning a scholarship place to attend the government Berbice High School in New Amsterdam, some 17 miles from his home village of Ankerville, Port Mourant. He declined the placement scholarship and opted instead for the private Chandisingh High School to which his family pad to pay a tuition. He entered for eight subjects at the Cambridge University Exam in 1977. Vishnu migrated to the USA in 1977 to further his studies. He enrolled at the City College of City University of New York September that year at age 17, studying Bio-Chemistry and also completing a major in Political Science. After his BSc in Bio-Chem, he pursued graduate studies in International Relations earning a MA. He went on to complete multiple post graduate degrees including doctorates in Economics, Sociology, History, Political Science and Educational Administration. Dr Bisram taught for over forty years in various subjects in the US. He also served as a newspaper reporter and columnist for over four decades and is a well-known pollster in the Caribbean region. He is a specialist on the Indian diaspora traveling extensively around the globe to research and write about Indian communities. He published countless articles on various subjects in the mass media, journals, and books. He also organized international conferences on the Indian diaspora and presented papers at many conferences. He was a guest lecturer at universities in Mauritius, India, Fiji, South Africa, Guyana, Trinidad, Suriname, USA, and other countries. He is a well regarded political analyst on American and Caribbean politics. He makes him home in Guyana, Trinidad, and America and travels frequently to India.