Red Cross Sint Maarten

Red Cross launches song contest to promote disaster awareness

SIMPSON BAY—Aspiring singers, rappers and other musicians can jumpstart their careers and help St. Maarten’s become more disaster aware. Red Cross launched its Be Ready Be Safe song contest this week to promote awareness and help minimize risk.

Registration is now open for performers of any skill level to register for the chance to create an original song, have it produced and mixed and possibly, have a video made for the song. The Be Ready Be Safe song contest is the latest offering from Red Cross’s Disaster Risk Reduction project, which plans to also host cleanups and other community-focused events.

The song contest is a fun new approach to help communities on the island become safer and more resilient in the event of hazards such as earthquakes and hurricanes, said Shanyra Richardson, event coordinator.

“People should register because St. Maarten/St. Martin Is filled with lots of talented people,” Richardson said. “This contest will be a great exposure and another push for our island to raise awareness and getting the message out about hazards and disasters.”   

Performers can register online at Red Cross St. Maarten’s website, www.redcross.sx/beready, by completing the form on that page and submitting a one-minute video of their performing any song of any genre. Applicants can submit their video either by uploading it using registration form or posting it to social media with the hashtag: #bereadybesafe. Selected contestants will be invited to audition in front of at least three musical experts and those who get passed this round can select one of those expert judges to help train them for the preliminary performances and for the final contest on June 13 at Port de Plaisance, featuring the top contests and at least one major international act. Apart from the finale of the song contest there will be a whole day of activities and demonstrations organized around disaster preparedness. The entire event, including the concerts, will be free to attend.

Tamas Marki, project manager for Red Cross’s risk reduction efforts, said that a song contest was a great way to help people on St. Maarten stay aware and prepared for natural events that could affect lives and livelihoods.

“Our aim is to raise the awareness of the communities of St Maarten on the importance of preparing for hazards,” Marki said recently. “Don’t wait until the hurricane is on your doorstep. Know without thinking what to do after an earthquake. Besides, music is just a very appropriate approach for this context.”

Philipsburg Broadcasting’s Laser 101 station has signed on to help Red Cross promote the contest and offer other assistance. On-air talent and station manager Gary “Gee Money” Euton said he was looking forward to hearing local performers and their songs and messages, adding, the island has “some very talented voices that need to be heard.”

“This contest is a great idea to get our local artists some shine, and it’s also a great idea to get across a very important message to the public,” he said. “We want to see what the artists come up with in terms of songs.”

The event is also sponsored by the Princess Group of Companies which was also one of the heavily effected victims of Hurricane Irma. “We are pleased to get the opportunity to sponsor the event of the Red Cross. The Princess Group of Companies, as an employer of nearly 400 people understands how negatively the disaster had affected our community. We aim to keep on assisting the development and the growth of our country and its people,” said Herman J. Benckhuisen, deputy general manager of the Princess Group of Companies.

Red Cross has been undertaking various recovery projects since Hurricane Irma including roof repair, food vouchers and job support. As the efforts wind down, this DRR project hopes to advance the conversation among residents about resilience and preparedness.