Branch of United Nations encourages youngsters in the Caribbean to take Disaster Preparedness seriously via Musical Contest
The Auditorium at St Leonard’s Boys School was the venue for a special concert, this region-wide initiative is called “Spice It Up,” it focused on encouraging youth to not only volunteer for Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) but to assist in preparing for any natural or man-made catastrophes across the Caribbean.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) marshaled forces from the Barbadian private and public sectors to make the event a success – appealing to and getting support from the Barbados Red Cross Society, the Department of Emergency Management, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, the Royal Shop along with Corporate Responsibility shown by the Barbados Light and Power Company Ltd.
Another component adding to the success of the Barbados branch of the “Spice It Up” concert was Youth-IN, which is a UNDP cost-shared project funded by the Government of Italy, Youth-IN: A Caribbean Network for Youth Development project is part of a larger UNDP Barbados and OECS programme, advancing youth participation in governance. The initiative seeks to strengthen capacities in youth, entrepreneurship, creative industries, gender, culture and sports through involving Twitter and Facebook as a means of increasing younger generation contribution via these popular social media networking engines.
The victorious tune will be filmed for video distribution, while the five best songs from each country, including Barbados and Grenada, will be recorded in a professional studio to be placed on one disk, this in turn will be distributed to schools, National Disaster Agencies, Media and donor agencies throughout the Caribbean.
The contest held many incentives for even the young at heart to wish they could compete, at stake was an iPad, $1,000 Barbados dollars and a G-Shock watch.
The three finalists each had their support elements in the packed venue – third place went to J. D. Bourne of Combermere Secondary whose song was called “Be Prepared;” second spot fell to Jody Massiah who just graduated from St Michael’s Secondary and plans on attending the Barbados Community College’s Mass-Comm programme – her tune was “Wake Up;” while the overall winner of the night was Danielle Gibson’s co-penned “Spice It Up” which heralds a return to singing, something which Ms Gibson missed while in her day job as a Marketing Assistant as mentioned in her bio-notes.
Danielle indicated Nisha Reid (who was part of the horn section for Danielle’s performance) and Richard Welch helped write the song, Danielle pledged the prize would be divided fairly even if the iPad is to be sold and the funds shared, remaining humble in victory – she asked the other contestants if they wish to appear in the winning music video.
The winner says the tune is not empty words, she actually gets her family to store suitcases with bottled water, canned goods and other necessities in case they need to move in a hurry from their home which is always a possibility where she lives in the flood-prone Kingsland/Wotton district of Christ Church which is one of Barbados’ southern parishes.
The judges for the event each had their niche which helped in separating the wheat from the chaff that night – Damien Mascoll is a well-known member of Barbados’ youth community activities in addition to being an Executive Member of the Barbados Youth Council; K.B. Sharp is the pre-eminent hip-hop Producer of Barbados’ music scene – he works with white Bajan rapper “Vision,” discovered Barbados’ original hip-hop sensation “Billy Kincaid;” while Anies Jordan started in France as a radio announcer and landed in the USA as a deejay and events promoter, finally reaching Barbadian shores and spending ten years here in a management capacity in the local music scene.
While the judges made their tabulations, the crowd was treated to sounds from Grenada and Barbados… The group known as ESA (an acronym based on their first names) from the Grenadian secondary school of GPSS were part of the finalists in the Spice Isle’s leg of the contest – they unleashed their own version of “Be Prepared” for a delighted audience on the most part, while others felt the Barbadian contingent were better examples even in the non-winning performers.
Rico “Snakey” St Paul is only 18 yet the Soca Monarch of Grenada, he flew in straight to Barbados after competing to deliver his winning tune – for many however, the waiting for winning results was sweetest when Alison Hinds, Barbados’ own Queen of Soca, came out and kept the crowd company. With backing vocalists of Indra Rudder and Rena Pilgrim, Ms Hinds gave the audience a rendition of her anthem of female empowerment “Roll,” as well as “Independent Woman” plus the infectious “Basodie” which had most enthralled especially when she sang among the participants at St Leonard’s auditorium that night.
During intermission, the UNDP’s Barbados edition of Youth-IN, as well as the City of Bridgetown Credit Union, the Barbados Fire Service and the Barbados Red Cross operated booths with significant data for drawing young people to the importance of safeguarding their futures.
Edmond Bradshaw, executive director of the Barbados Red Cross, sees the need for more training of children to prepare for any disaster in their area. With this is mind, Tamara Lovell, Project Coordinator of the Red Cross says Springer Memorial, Lester Vaughan Secondary, St Philip Primary and Ellerslie Secondaryhave been earmarked for teaching children how to know where their schools are in relation to their respective homes by drawing maps.
Most operators reported a heavy response, citing when Barbados experienced the close brush with Hurricane Tomas in October 2010 as the reason why many Barbadians now take Disaster Preparation very seriously and are no longer assuming the old aphorism of “God Is A Bajan” continues to remain an unofficial bylaw of Barbados.