Though the spotlight was primarily on the late Vincentian community activist Maxwell Haywood, the other honorees were highlighted Sunday at the gala 8th Annual Luncheon of the Brooklyn-based Vincentian group, VincyCares.
Haywood, a United Nations Development Officer, died last Wednesday after ailing for most of this year. He was 54. His wife, Sherrill-Ann, received the award posthumously during the grand ceremony at El Caribe Country Club in Brooklyn.
The other honorees included veteran Vincentian broadcaster Ferrand Courtney “Randy D” Lawrence Dopwell (Lifetime Achievement); disc jockeys Joseph Caiphas “SupaEyes” Joseph Cuffy and Jonell “Yung Hova” Goodluck (Vision Award); Curtis M. King, head master of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Grammar School; and the Brooklyn-based Garifuna Indigenous People of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Inc. (GIPSVG, Inc).
Dopwell’s primary school education started at the Wesleyan Methodist School in capital Kingstown and completed at the Kingstown Preparatory School; his secondary school education was at the St. Vincent Grammar School, of which was completed in 1969.
Soon after his secondary school education he gained employment with the St. Vincent and the Grenadines government at the Division of Customs and Excise before migrating to the USA in 1971 to attend the New York Business School.
He spent two years at the New York Business School before realizing that his choice of career was no longer business but to become a radio announcer.
Dopwell then migrated to Canada and attended Humber College of Applied Arts, where he completed his certification as a radio announcer in 1976.
“Randy D,” as he is affectionately known, is a very popular radio personality globally. He currently freelances on NICE Radio in St. Vincent and the Grenadines with his Vibes Caribbean radio program, aired on Saturday mornings.
He is not only an on-air announcer but has produced and hosted other programs such as “Snap Soul,” a Saturday afternoon–evening cultural show on the grounds of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Grammar School.
Randy D said this program showcased many young talents in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and also provided quality clean entertainment for many onlookers.
He said “Vibes Caribbean” television program highlighted the Caribbean market place, “where many small businesses in a Caribbean market be it locally, regionally or internationally got a chance to promote their business on television.”
This program was aired on such stations as SVG Television; Carib Vision in Barbados; Cable Vision and Direct Television in the US and Rogers Cable, Belle Television and Asian Television Network in Canada.
Cuffy has had a long and illustrious career as the peoples’ DJ, which began not in New York but in his early years in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
In his homeland, he was originally known as “Living Eyes.” But, as time passed and the demands got greater, he said “it became necessary to put a team of workers together to help with the movement of equipment, etc.,” thus forming “Eyes Connection”.
On migrating to the US, Cuffy said he continued to hone his craft. As a result of not having his original team with him, he said he chose to change his name once again, assuming the sobriquet “Supa Eyes.”
He pledges once again his “unwavering support and commitment to the people and nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in whatever way and at whatever time” his services are requested.
Cuffy thanked his wife and three daughters, who have been “a very supportive force” in all of his endeavors.
Goodluck embarked on his journey to New York from St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 2007 to further his studies in accounting and finance. Prior to his departure, he studied accounting and economics for a short time via The University of The West Indies and the British Accounting program called “A.C.C.A.”
Before moving to New York, Jonell founded an entertainment business in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, called “Powa Lynx Entertainment.”
He said Powa Lynx Entertainment highlighted the works of major local and regional artists, and promoted high profile events.
Goodluck said his natural ability to adapt to change and his determination to succeed prompted him to use his school laptop to download music and post ads on Craigslist as a DJ.
Through these ads, he said he acquired a weekly position as a DJ at a well-known Manhattan bar. A few years later, Goodluck said he went back to work in his field, working for an auditing company, but later decided to quit and concentrate on his brand and businesses.
With his knowledge of business, marketing, networking and hard work ethics, Goodluck said he has managed to expand his brand “Yung Hova,” “which is currently well known within the entertainment industry and a household name among party goers in NYC.”
King received his early education at the Belair Government School, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Grammar School, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers Training College and the Commonwealth Caribbean Youth Center in Georgetown, Guyana.
He taught for 13 years (1983-1996) at the Gomea Methodist and CW Prescod Primary Schools in St. Vincent and the Grenadines before attending the University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine Campus in Trinidad and Tobago in the 1990s. He graduated from UWI with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History, with honors.
King also holds a post graduate diploma in educational management and leadership from the University of Technology of Jamaica.
On his return to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, King was assigned to the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Grammar School as Graduate History Teacher.
He has since served as Deputy Principal (Ag.) of the JP Eustace Memorial Secondary School and the West St. George Secondary School; and deputy head master of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Grammar School. He currently holds the post of head master of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Grammar School.
GIPSVG, Inc. said its primary mission is geared towards assisting the development of the communities located north of the Rabacca River on mainland St. Vincent.
The Brooklyn-based group said these communities play a major role in “the history and culture of our forefathers, who first settled in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”
They include: Orange Hill, Overland, Sandy Bay, Point, Owia and Fancy.
GIPSVG Inc. was legally incorporated on Feb. 28, 2015, as a non-profit company. Its membership includes individuals born of Garifuna lineage and also individuals who are married into a Garifuna family.
“With our mission in mind, we aim to assess the fundamental needs of the indigenous people and actively engage in fund-raising activities to aid in achieving those needs,” the group said. “We also aim to propose, design and successfully implement projects and or programs, geared towards the development of the indigenous communities, as well as the revitalization, maintenance and preservation of the indigenous culture.”