Monday, April 15, 2024

Whole Caribbean behind Tessanne


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The dream of a united Caribbean has been a nightmare for successive political administrations ever since Jamaica backed out and Trinidad’s Eric Williams pulled the plug on the infant West Indies Federation with that never-to-be-forgotten piece of picong to the effect that one from ten leaves nuffing.
Since then the persistent attempts for a single Caribbean voice, space, people and community have been continually mired in mud, dancing heavy-footed to Serenader’s One Step Forward, Two Steps Backwards.
Yet, amid all the failed and failing political attempts, Caribbean peoples of all colours, nationalities and origins find no difficulty singing with one voice and marching to one drum in response to their non-political leaders.
Whether it’s a Trinidad team in an Indian Premier League final in India; a Jamaican bolting down an Olympics track in China for a new 100 metres record; an unknown Grenadian dominating the 400 metres in the same setting; a teenaged Bajan surfing victoriously on waves around the world; no matter what the achievement it generates a united Caribbean response.
Over the past weeks this unity has been playing itself out yet again as a previously unknown to the rest of the world Jamaican voice was raised where no other Caribbean voice has been heard before as an odds-on favourite to achieve what no other regional performer has ever achieved before.
That voice belongs to Tessanne Chin who has risen to be among the three finalists in this week’s highly anticipated finals of NBC’s The Voice competition, which now overshadows American Idol and X Factor.
Can she do it? Will she walk away with the US$100 000 cash prize and a recording contract to possibly become, for the Caribbean, the next Rihanna.
Whether she succeeds or not, one thing is for certain. Come Tuesday night when she unleashes her powerful voice to the world, we in the Caribbean and the diaspora will virtually hold hands and take a single breath as a united people in her support. The following night, nothing will divide us when the millions of votes are in and the moment comes for the world to know her fate.
I have been a fan of Tessanne ever since we booked her for the 2007 Reggae Party at the Drill Hall beach. So come tomorrow I am heading for the Pine in order to pay my TV bill, even though it’s not due or overdue. I am making sure nothing stops me from witnessing the possibility of yet another Caribbean person setting another Caribbean record on the world stage.
I have checked the weather and no out-of-season hurricanes are forming in the Atlantic that could potentially pose a threat to our communications network this week. I am also appealing to both Barbados Light & Power and CBC to perform thorough checks on their respective generating and transmitting equipment to ensure that nothing breaks down this week.
And like the encouraging words a Barbadian leader reportedly gave Winston Churchill when Britain donned her armour against Hitler’s Germany during World War II, I say: “Go ahead Tessanne, the Caribbean is behind you.”
 Al Gilkes heads a public relations firm. Email


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