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“Jack” says search on for the next TCI Voice; weekly show aims to unearth talent

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By Shanieka Smith

Features Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, April 26, 2022 – “Music is one of the most powerful tools that we have, not just for marketing… but also to kind of tackle some of the social issues that we may have.”

These are the words from a fervid and well known Turks and Caicos musician, who shared that music has changed his life. Recording Artiste and producer, Jack Lightbourne is the inspiration behind TCI Voice, the newest talent show in the island in search of new music talents.

TCI Voice, however, is more than a talent show, the idea behind the talent show and the intention going forward stem from a level of care and consideration for the development of Turks and Caicos Islands.

“It is really a community project that is designed to really go throughout the community and discover talent – hidden talent… for some of those [talents], it may be one of the only opportunities that they have at making a major move in their lives to really boost their confidence and interpersonal skills as well,” expressed Lightbourne.

It goes deeper than an individual based project, Lightbourne intends for TCI Voice to be one of the music projects in TCI to tackle some social issues.

“And we are trying to get the government to recognize that music is a very powerful tool for a destination like the Turks and Caicos,” he added.

Lightbourne said the TCI has not yet tipped the iceberg when it comes on to investing in the music industry. The government, he said, overlooks music and puts little emphasis on music and culture.

“The government needs to understand how powerful music is, not just for an individual, but for an entire nation, to really see the benefits of it,  and start to invest not just thousands but millions of dollars into developing music because of the tourism implications,” he reiterated.

The official search for talent began on Wednesday April 6 and has been going on every Wednesday evening at 7:30 at the Karaoke Bar and Grill.

Each week, the talents go through a process of elimination. The winner in the end will be given the opportunity to meet with professional recording personnel: engineers, writers, producers, some are grammy winners. Some of these professionals are from the United States, there is one from Trinidad and Tobago.

All the professionals will give the winner of TCI Voice an insight into what it is like to make a song. The winner will also get a single deal, where they are able to record their own song.

Lightbourne profoundly expressed that it is not about perfection, it’s about potential. This view is one of the major reason why anyone with music talent can be a part of TCI Voice; no audition is required.

“We already know our industry is small and undeveloped so we are not trying to put too much pressure on people to be perfect… if you discover their ability, you can still work with them,” he said.

He further expressed, “everywhere has talent, black people are talented and what we are trying to do is give that talent an opportunity. Most of the time we see talent being used in churches [and] talent shows.  But we really don’t have a well-established music industry where we can take that talent and have it organised in a professional way.”

TCI Voice is a rare opportunity for people who can sing to become professionals. Hence, the idea behind the name TCI Voice itself – the voices are already in the TCI and it’s just for them to be heard and nurtured.

“We need our own voice; it’s about time that the focus becomes Turks and Caicos, Turks and Caicos music. We have been neglecting that aspect of music. We haven’t been focused on us, we’ve been focusing on promoting every other culture except ours,” said Lightbourne as he highlighted that the music industry in the TCI has been centred around cover bands.

As such, the production side of music has been ignored. He explained that production is really what should be exploited.

“We need to dig out songs from these artists, from these musicians and have them move towards the professional side of this industry, where the money is, where the marketing is, and where the business is strong,” he said.

This will in turn establish a strong brand of  music in and from the TCI and will also bring a worldwide awareness of the island.

Along with Lightbourne, the 43 year old recording artist and producer from Grand Turk, a few other people made the show come to life.

TCI Voice is being done through Paradise Beachfront Productions, one of the only professional recording studios on island. It is owned by Lightbourne and caters to international recording artists who visit the island.

Lightbourne shared that for the talent show, they are working with the Dept of Culture, the Tourist Board, Flow TCI, Provo Travel, and David’s Karaoke Bar and Grill, who hosts the event weekly.

Prior to the first TCI Voice on April 6,  the team held a music workshop. Everyone on the island was able to attend and see firsthand what it is like in the music industry.

Lightbourne speaks fervidly about TCI Voice, and so far, the talent show seems to be running successfully. It will go on every Wednesday until the finale on Saturday, May 7. The show is live for viewing but is also aired on facebook at Jack Music TCI and on Instagram at Paradise Beachfront Productions.

Caribbean News

Barbados to Host 41st Caribbean Travel Marketplace this Spring

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

 

#Barbados, February 2, 2023 – Barbados has been selected to host the 41st edition of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA) Caribbean Travel Marketplace. The event will be held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Bridgetown from May 9 -11, and it is expected to build on the success of the 40th staging held in Puerto Rico last fall.

CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig, who made the announcement recently, said it’s the first time in the organization’s history that the association’s largest annual event, which brings together buyers and sellers of the region’s tourism products and services, will be staged in Barbados.

“CHTA has a very strong relationship with both public and private sector stakeholders in Barbados, and as we position the region’s top earner for robust growth this year, we are delighted to lock arms with our Bajan partners to drive business to the Caribbean,” she stated.

Noting that: “This year’s Marketplace will also provide unique access to the Eastern Caribbean for buyers and tour operators as the region places a strong focus on the revival of multi-destination travel.”

Minister of Tourism and International Transport of Barbados Ian Gooding-Edghill, said the Barbados tourism industry was undergoing a major renaissance in the post-COVID environment, and the timing could not be better to welcome Caribbean Travel Marketplace to local soil.

“We are honoured to host such a preeminent gathering of tourism stakeholders from around the world,”  Minister Gooding-Edghill said, noting that the meeting aligns with Barbados’ value offerings, which appeal, among others, to the very important MICE [Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions] market.

The launch of the first Caribbean Travel Forum & Awards, a highlight of the Puerto Rico meeting, will return for a second edition and will be held in Barbados on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, ahead of the official opening ceremony of Caribbean Travel Marketplace.

The Forum will also focus on the business of tourism, and business appointments will be conducted on Wednesday, May 10 and Thursday, May 11.

Over 150 delegates, including Ministers of Tourism and key private sector leaders, engaged in the Caribbean Travel Forum last year.

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Bahamas News

National Food Policy to be created in the Bahamas

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

 

#TheBahamas, February 2, 2023 – A new initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs in the Bahamas will see the creation of a National Food Policy geared towards ensuring food security on the island.

“This agricultural policy would encompass a holistic approach and incorporate regulations, legislation, and other aspects to assist the farmers who have not really gotten the attention they deserve for a long time,” said the Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, Hon. Clay Sweeting.

Other initiatives within the agriculture sector will also be implemented, such as the digitalization of applications and forms, which will make farming more efficient.

Clay said, “we have already digitalized for the most part the Department of Marine Resources and soon we will unveil new services such as dog licences, import permits, and other services needed for a successful agricultural sector.”

The construction of the Cultivation Centres (TCC) in Eleuthera and New Providence with produce exchange, food processing kitchens and farm stores will continue.

Sweeting said he hopes these initiatives will help to decrease the country’s yearly $1 billion food import bill.

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Africa

The Incredible Story of David Avido of Kenya, 24 Year old designing for the Grass Roots to the Stars

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

 

#Africa, February 2, 2023 – One Kenyan designer began a sewing business out of the slums where he was born; now he dresses some of the Caribbean and Africa’s most famous faces.

Born the oldest son of a single mother and from Kibera Nairobi, David Avido Ochieng did not have an easy start. In Kibera, the largest urban slum in East Africa opportunities for international success are hard to come by and yet Avido can now say he has dressed the likes of former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Beyoncé, Chronixx, Romain Virgo, Tarrus Riley, Chris Martin, Ty Dolla Sign, Koffee and many more.

As explained on his website, David dropped out of school to work and support his family quite young. In just first form he was working on a construction site but he knew he wanted more from life. After quitting his job he danced and saved what he could and tried his best to complete his education.

He told Vogue magazine: “When I started dancing I used to save money in order to go back to high school, with the little that I could get from dancing and my mom’s money from doing work as a house help, we were able to raise 15,000 shillings and with that, I joined an adult school and skipped forms two, three and four.”

David picked up a sewing machine to make costumes and realized his talent.  By 2015, his brand LookslikeAvido was born. He completed a fashion & design diploma at Buruburu Institute of Fine Arts and began to sew incredible pieces right at home in Kibera.  Even as his brand is globally recognized, Kibera is where his workshop remains; David says, his homeland is his great inspiration.

“There is no barrier if you believe in your talent and take the next step. I want to encourage and create beauty, where people don’t expect.”

Talented and thoughtful Avido is well aware of the stereotypes surrounding him, his home and the black community globally.

“We know about injustice and violence, prejudice, racial and social discrimination – we experience it within Kenya and we experience it globally, as people look at us as the poor, the uneducated, the needy,” he said.

Featured in Vogue, CNN and other international publications, Avido remains connected to his origins in a tangible way and as his success grows his roots just go deeper. Twenty per cent of all sales of his jackets and other clothing items go directly back to Kibera; his website explains ​that all the tailoring, product photoshoots and collaborations ‘is all done here in Kibra.’

There is no fabric waste from his garments, instead, scraps are repurposed into masks and shopping bags for residents, all his tailors are local residents, a portion of profits are used to pay school fees and Avido and his team put in extra time to make school uniforms as well.

On his website, is a photo of him sitting around a sewing machine, his worktable resting on hard-packed earth with presumably a group of family and friends surrounding him, a source of pride. The introspective photograph could have been taken in Nairobi, Trinidad or Barbados, so nostalgic is the picture, the bench and the story of community success that it represents.

In a video posted to his YouTube, David sits at his new work desk, and beside him hangs a rack of clothes in the cramped space that serves as his kitchen as well.

“I’m the firstborn of Kibera,” He explains, “Every kid in Kibera is looking up to me— my main dream is to open up a place where I can inspire people to work.”

David has a dozen employees and is listed in Beyonce’s directory of black businesses; with an uncommon wisdom, the designer knows that his successes so far are not parking spaces but rather stepping stones as he faces his future announcing that the journey, for him, continues.

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