Artistes ready to give back at hurricane-relief concert

(From left) Olatunji, Patrice Roberts and Orlando Octave during the press briefing last evening. (Photo by Keno George)

After touching down in Guyana yesterday afternoon, soca artistes Patrice Roberts, Olatunji and Orlando Octave signaled that they were ready to lend their support to the government’s hurricane relief efforts at the mega-concert scheduled for D’Urban aPark tonight.

The concert is organised by the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) in collaboration with BK Group of companies, and is being held under the patronage of the Minister of State Joseph Harmon.

“What you’re going to get is a variation of a show of different personalities and different energies…,” Olatunji promised during a press conference at the CDC headquarters soon after their arrival in the country yesterday.

The artistes noted how privileged they were to be able to give back to their fans in their time of need, in return for all the support they have received over the years. “I took the responsibility to be here to show support because these are countries that I’ve performed in. So I’m here to support for all the victims,” Roberts said. This sentiment was echoed by Octave.

“…You know, a lot of artistes have been doing this business for years and I think that it is on us as artistes to give back to these places that have been helping our careers for so long. Whether musically, financially… It’s heartbreaking to be in the situation that they are, but for us as artistes to give back now, to say well thank you for all these years that you have been supporting us, and we finally got the opportunity—unfortunately—to give back, so we’re grateful for that,” Octave added.

Octave is best known for his hit song “Single,” which was released last year, while Olatunji’s “Ola” has also been a hit locally. Roberts’ hits include “Big Girl Now,” “Tempa Wine,” and “Wukking Up”.

The three will share the stage with local musicians Natural Black, Dave Martins, Kwasi Ace, Jomo, Big Red and Vanilla. The rebranded BK Mingles band will also make its debut tonight.

Donations 

Meanwhile, earlier in the day, the CDC received millions more in cash and cheque donations from members of the private sector toward the relief concert. Last month, BK and Agri Parts each handed over cheques for $2 million.

The donations were made during a brief ceremony in the Conference Room of the CDC, in the presence of Junior Minister of Social Protection Keith Scott, who was filling in for Minister Harmon.

According to Major Sean Welcome, CDC’s Preparedness and Response Manager, once the concert has concluded, monies made will go toward offsetting expenditure and all remaining proceeds will go toward the islands, which were ravaged by affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The CDC yesterday received donations of $200,000 from Kaltech Inc; $300,000 from China Trading; $500,000 from the Guyana Water Inc; $1 million from Sol Guyana; $1 million from Jumbo Jet; $1 million from Kia; $2 million from Chung’s Global; US$20,000 (over $4 million) from China Harbour; and $5 million from an undisclosed donor.

CDC Director General Colonel (rtd) Chabilall Ramsarup remarked that the contributions from the concert will go a long way toward providing assistance to the hurricane-ravaged islands.

So far, Guyana has sent 12 containers of relief items to Dominica and 10 to Antigua and Barbuda, but it is anticipated that the CDC will be able to cover a “broader base” with the proceeds from the concert, and assist all the countries that have been impacted, Ramsarup said.

“The ground can accommodate 18,000 people and I hope that there would not be a square inch left back. We must all be there to enjoy ourselves, at the same time thinking about our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean and we’re trying to make their lives a better place…,” said Ramsarup.

Tickets to the relief concert are available at Andrew’s Supermarket, Nexcell Electronics in the Western Union building in Kitty, and all Gizmos and Gadgets and Shoe Heaven locations.

Donations by patrons for general entry are $1,000.

It was related that stage front tickets (VIP) are still available for purchase and can be bought for $5,000. Those with VIP passes will be allowed parking on the eastern side of the park.

Paid parking will also be available at a cost of $1,000, on the western side of D’Urban Park.

Gates to the show open at 6 pm, and the first artiste is expected to take the stage as early as 7.30 pm.

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