Editorial: Show some Caribbean unity

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We are not keen to promote events, especially events such as concerts, but we are going to make an exception because we believe that the upcoming Caribbean Strong concert is an exceptional event.  
The concert is to benefit the Caribbean islands affected (we use that term lightly) by the recent passing of hurricanes Irma and Maria. From our perspective, there are two things that glue the Caribbean together: music and cricket. Regardless of our differences, we rally around West Indies cricket, and we have a universal love of Caribbean music. Those two things transcend our borders, and the unity they invoke becomes most apparent when we travel or live abroad.
Leave the Caribbean and all of a sudden you represent everyone in the region. You come from Trinidad and Tobago, and dancehall plays in a fete, and you are as Jamaican as anyone else in the room – even if only for that song. Likewise, throw on a soca hit and every Caribbean person is on the dance floor. Zouk … parang … anything from the Caribbean and we own it and defend it.
Cricket may be losing its lustre but music maintains. It is why we are fully behind the Caribbean Strong concert, and we encourage everyone to attend. For only a $75 contribution, you get to be part of something special. You will get to see a star-studded line-up that is rare. Best of all, the entire proceeds of the event go to helping those unfortunate islands that were devastated by the hurricanes – including our very own Barbuda.
The concert is the brainchild of Machel Montano, his road manager, Tony Chow, and event promoter and marketer, Lisa Makhoul. They got together and decided to stage this massive event in a very short period of time, and they should be commended. It is not easy to pull off an event of this magnitude when it is for profit, so we can well imagine the dedication and hard work it took to do it for charity.
We should also commend the artists for their willing participation. They do so without any remuneration but out of love and unity with our fellow Caribbean brothers and sisters. Compliments, as well, to all the sponsors of the show who contributed to make it happen, whether through monetary contributions or in kind.  
The timing of this event should not be lost on anyone. Dominica was set to stage the 20th anniversary of the World Creole Music Festival from October 26 to 28. Those plans were dashed when Hurricane Maria trampled a devastating path across the island on September 18. Earlier this month, the Discover Dominica Authority was forced to inform the world that the much-loved festival was cancelled due to the need to attend to national priorities. “National priorities” in this instance means rebuilding from less than scratch.
We know that Caribbean people are a cynical bunch, and questions are floating around about how the money is being accounted for and who is getting what, et cetera. Valid questions, but we have confirmed that the entire event is being audited by accounting professional Cleavland Seaforth, managing partner at KPMG, and the money will be administered by the Dominica Antigua Relief Fund.  
So if you have nothing to do on Sunday evening, there is a great event happening at Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium. It will be an evening of great music and fun. It will feature some of the best musical artists that the Caribbean has to offer and your contribution, for entry at the gate, goes to a great cause. We encourage you to attend.
And, if you already have plans, you may want to consider breaking them. It will be a long time, if ever, that you will see a line-up like the one planned.  One final thing, please make this a safe event that goes down in history as a special night in our bit of paradise. No fussing and no fighting, please.  
And remember, things get going early so be there for the kick-off at 5 p.m. We will see you there at Caribbean Strong. Enjoy!

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