Politicians Laud Caribbean Pride – Even If Only For A Day

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn waved a Trinidad flag next to Jamaican singer Maxi Priest.
News Americas, BROOKLYN, NY, Mon. Sept. 2, 2013: New York City mayoral hopefuls flocked to the West Indian American Day Carnival Monday becoming Caribbean American in sprit – at least for a day – while trying hard to win votes as the countdown begins to September 10, 2013.

At Monday’s show, politicians who are raising millions in the run for the city’s top post, paid a small fee of just $200 to march in the parade down Eastern Parkway and shake hands with potential voters and carnival goers.

And for the first time in its 46th year, a $200 contribution for a seat was asked of those wanting to attend the popular VIP breakfast, or $2,000 for a table of 10 from any candidate seeking office.

As Thomas Bailey, President of the West Indian American Day Carnival Organization, which puts together the annual event said: “This is chicken feed compared to the thousands per head that some fundraisers charge.”

Former NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson found his roots in the Caribbean suddenly, using the podium to talk about his grandparents who emigrated from Saint Kitts and to wave around the St. Kitts flag as he marched with labor leader Michael Mulgrew and the United Federation of Teachers.

Bill de Blasio, the city’s public advocate, who is leading the race, is married to Chirlane McCray, who has Bajan heritage. They took to the streets of Brooklyn to perform a dance with their son Dante, on Monday.

But perhaps the most ridiculous attempt to be “Caribbean” for a day came from famed sexting congressman turned mayoral hopeful, Anthony Weiner, who entered a giant float in the carnival, and used an imitation accent to call out to parade goers.

“Anybody here from Jamaica? Anybody here from Barbados? Anybody here from Guyana?” Anthony Weiner called out from atop a float complete with a dancehall deejay and dancers as Beenie Man played in the background: “I’m ok.”

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At least City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the first openly gay candidate for the post, did not try to dance or imitate an accent. However, she actually donned a pair of colorful, loud print pants for the carnival among the sea of thousands of half-naked costumed revelers. But she did ride a float with Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz waving a Trinidad flag alongside reggae star, Maxi Priest.

“I’m a fighter,” Quinn said, when asked about recent polls that put her as far back as third place. “I’m going to fight over the next eight days and I’m going to get into the runoff and I’m going to win that runoff,” she said.

And it was not just for Democrats. Even Joe Lhota, one of two Republicans in the September 10th mayoral primary election, participated in the parade and paid tribute to the entrepreneurship of Caribbean Americans in the city.

But outside of the political side show, it was all about the party down Eastern Parkway, the food and the sights and sounds of all things Caribbean as the Labor Day weekend came to a close.