By Latrishka Thomas
Local animal shelter Protect Antiguan Animals With a Smile (PAAWS) will be hosting the first ever, Antigua’s Got Talent in aid of the rescued dogs and cats presently under its care, and in order to execute this, the shelter is therefore searching for talented individuals across the twin island who are willing to perform for the cause.
According to Gemma Handy, Public Relations Officer of PAAWS, proceeds from this event will offset some of the costs needed to run the non-profit shelter.
“Our bingos normally raise about $3,000 so we just want to raise as much as we possibly can. We have fairly high running costs at the shelter. As you can imagine lots of the rescued dogs and cats that come [to] us have terrible kinds of medical conditions. Lots of them need very intensive care. Heartworm alone costs about $1,000 to treat one dog over the course of several months, so we have very high costs. We also have to pay our team of hard-working local staff as well. Those are our two biggest expenses so anything we can get that helps with those running costs is a huge help to us,” Handy said.
As stated in a release, PAAWS has been a safe haven for neglected, abused, injured and abandoned animals since 1996 and has successfully rehomed more than 2,000 of them over the years. Not only will the talent show assist Antigua’s main animal shelter but, as revealed by Handy, this idea sprung from the desire to remedy the post-Carnival blues.
“We do regular fund-raisers throughout the year. We do bingo every three months at Al Porto [Restaurant] but this time we thought we’ll do something a little bit different. It’s coming just after Carnival, there’s not really that much happening in August and you know, it can feel a bit quiet and a bit slow after Carnival and all the hype so we thought ‘let’s do something a bit more fun, we’ll raise some funds for the shelter’; but at the same time it’s also a nice opportunity to give some of those lesser known talents a platform,” she added.
She is therefore appealing to residents who possess a variety of talents. She said: “We have lots of singers that have signed up, we have a few dancers, some poets. So, anybody who likes Spoken Word, poetry, dancing, singing, anything at all.
“We did initially stipulate a 15-plus age group but I have since extended that down so we actually have an 11-year-old taking part as well. So, if you are a little bit younger, don’t be deterred, come along, join in. It’s going to be fun, upbeat, informal with some really good prizes up for grabs for the winners,” Handy said.
The show will be taking place at 7pm on August 24th at Castaways Restaurant and Bar in Jolly Harbour.
General entry fee for non-performers on the night is $10 and all proceeds go directly to PAAWS to assist with the running of its Parham-based shelter for rescued dogs and cats.
The winner will walk away with a Samsung Galaxy A8 and a 12-month prepaid contract courtesy of the event’s headline sponsor, FLOW. There are also prizes for the first and second runners-up.
Anyone wishing to register can call or WhatsApp +1-268-784-5151 in advance.