January 29, 2010
Vincentians come out to support Haiti

Some gave. Some had already given. Some will give. All agreed it could have been us.

The thousands of persons who squeezed into Unity Square on Bay Street last Friday evening for the benefit concert dubbed ‘Artistes in Solidarity for Haiti’ are all well aware that this country could suffer a similar fate or worse than Haiti.{{more}}

The French speaking Caribbean country was rocked by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake on January 12.

The point was driven home time and time again by the masters of ceremony of the event.

“Put it like this,” quipped Shevrell ‘Candy Man’ McMillan: “If it had happened here, the whole 116 or so thousand of us would be dead.”

The official death toll in Haiti has been put at more than 110,000.

Positioned at strategic locations around the square under the watchful eyes of members of the Special Services Unit (SSU) were several barrels in which cash and food donations were to be placed.

One individual who made a monetary donation on Friday said that it was the obvious thing to do, given the tragic circumstances.

Another donor said that he had an affinity with Haiti.

“I have been to Haiti five times, and if I can go back I will. My ex wife is from there so I feel closely connected to the country.”

“Haiti is rich in history and culture. There is so much that we could have learned from them,” said one lady after placing a contribution in a barrel.

She believes that the donations made would help to relieve some of the suffering and devastation experienced in Haiti.

Other persons on the square pointed out that they had already made donations, either through their workplaces, churches or individually.

They indicated that their presence there was to show their support for the fund-raising efforts organized by the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) and a number of other local organizations which came together to organize the event.

Some persons who indicated that they had not made any donations said that they would do so at another time.

Also making contributions, but not of a monetary kind, were the dozens of performers who turned up to give of their talent free of charge.

Calvin Glasgow, performing with music greats Lio Smith and Syl McIntosh as part of Lio Smith and the Jazz tets, indicated that it was a privilege for them to do anything they could for the Haitian people.

Young, but seasoned performer, Shernelle ‘Skarpyon’ Williams said it was a dream come true for him to be able to give something back to Haiti.

“Haiti has given us in the region great history as the first black Caribbean country to gain independence. Now that they have gone through this tragedy, we need to give back.”

“It is a great pleasure for me to do something for Haiti, and more important than that, we never know when something like this can happen to us.”

The moment was described as a bittersweet one by soca artiste Raeon ‘Maddzart’ Primus, band leader of the Madd Symphony.

“Although I am sorry for the loss in Haiti, I am happy to be able to do something for them.”

Maddzart informed SEACHLIGHT that the band was available to any group or organization that would be hosting any charitable event in aid of Haiti.

Others performers on the night included Avenue Dancers, Kyron Baptiste, Vincy Soca Dans, Shanell Nanton, Yaphatu and the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force Band.