West Island Blues Fest hands out $16,000 at WIBCA Banquet

Egbert Gaye

In keeping with the theme of the evening, the 33rd Anniversary Banquet of the West Island Black Community Association was a celebration of those who extend their hands in building and rebuilding the lives of others.
Guest speaker Kevin Kwateng offered a moving testimony of those who went beyond the call of duty to ensure that he measured up to his fullest potential.
As a graduate of McGill University (Civil Engineering), and now a junior transport engineer at Transport Bellemare, the young Montrealer identified his parents, Ghanaian-born immigrants, who instilled in him, by example and a free flow of parables, the value of hard work and sacrifice.
He also credited a Montreal attorney who made it her duty to extricate him from a wrongful arrest situation, while he was still a student that threatened to derail his aspirations to finish his studies and embark on a professional career.
Another highlight of the event, which was held at the Marcel Morin Community Center on Gouin Blvd., was the presentation of  $16,000 in donations to three area organizations by the organizers of the West Island Blues Festival.
This year, the Blues Fest donated $4,000 to the Alzheimer’s Groupe Inc., another  $4,000 to Action Jeunesse De l’Ouest-de-l’Isle and a hefty $8,000 to WIBCA.
Festival organizers Errol Johnson, Dollard des Ormeaux city councilor, and Jim Beis, mayor of Pierrefonds, used the occasion to thank all who helped to make the event a massive success.
This year’s handouts pushed the total donations made by the festival to various groups over the past 12 years to close $100,000, the bulk of which went to WIBCA.
The association marked the celebration of its 33rd banquet by presenting Awards of Merit to two long-serving members, Mr. Lee White, who owned an air-conditioning company in Montreal for well over three decades and Mr. Douglas Lloyd, a computer specialist.
West island vocalist Wendy Sparks offered two songs and Elysia Bryan-Baynes of Global Television served as MC for the evening.