The people have made their choices
The people have spoken, and the winners in 115 categories in the Best of SVG 2020, voted on by 14,815 persons, have finally been announced.
The halls of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College(SVGCC) Auditorium, filled with nominees and their supporter on the night of Sunday, February 16, and many more looked on through a Facebook live stream as the anticipated moment drew nearer.
Over the period December 1, 2019, to January 31, 2020, thousands of individuals chose who they believed to be the “Best Massages”, “Best Nail Technician”, “Best Bartender”, “Best Farmer”, “Best Videographer”, “Best Karaoke Singer”, and many, many more.
Clare Keizer, the Chief Executive Officer of Interactive Media Ltd, who hosts the awards, in her remarks, noted that since the last edition of Best of SVG, in
2018, the awards has seen some changes, the biggest being the move to digital voting.
“The decision resulted in not only a more efficient process, but opened up the poll to people who may not have been inclined or in a position to submit a paper ballot, and notably a younger demographic.”
She said this year, a total of 175,978, were cast which indicates, on average, that each person voted in about 12 categories.
Keizer said this means that “voting therefore seems to have been very targeted, people knew who they wanted to vote for, and did that.”
She said that only 2117 voted in more than 25 categories, making them eligible for a draw conducted that night, which saw one lucky person winning $1000.
Continuing to analyse the statistics, the CEO stated this shows “that the informal business sector is vibrant, strong and plays a significant part in overall economic activity.”
The statistics also show that a significant percentage of this informal sector is embraced by young persons, who are targeting their peers.
However, the host of the ‘people’s choice awards’ which started in 2017, also commented on a specific area where there is still room for improvement, particularly in the use of technology to simplify processes in which citizens engage.
Therefore, the CEO urged “Let us all advocate for the necessary ecosystem to be put in place to make digital transactions not only possible, but the norm.”
Interactive Media Ltd also reaffirmed its commitment to continuing the “Best of SVG” People’s Choice Awards for as long as there is a demand and capacity, as the company recognise they are “on to something very important”.
Certainly, from the responses of a few awardees that SEARCHLIGHT interviewed on Sunday, the award is positive for them.
The winner in the category “Best Passenger Van Service” was claimed by “Busta”, which operates in Mesopotamia/Richland Park, Belair, and Sion Hill/Roseau. Azar Williams, the son of the owner, who collected the award on behalf of his father, noted that they were anticipating the award.
“We know what we produce, we know how we treat our customers and we try to maximise our customer service, we try to give the customers the best service possible,” he explained.
He added, “this is the beginning to us doing better, this is like a motivation.”
Speaking on behalf of Rainbow Unique Nursery and Pre-school who for the second time copped the award in the “Best pre-school” category, the Principal and Owner, Dorris Hope said it was a good feeling.
“We try our best every day, when they [the children] come into our care we are responsible for them until the parents take them back, so we always try to ensure that when they come to us that the parents are happy when they leave, so that they don’t have to worry during the day and, at the same time, when they come back to them at the end of the day, they are still happy,” Hope explained about the school, which opened in 2010.
Another second time winner in the “Best Creative Landscaper/Gardener” category, Edroy “Ras John” John, who is a 20 year veteran in this business said “I just feel I’m doing a good service, I’m excited. I intend do better for 2020. So very happy.”
Performing at the show on Sunday were the band Resonance Band, who was the people’s choice for “Best Musical Band”; La Gracia Dance Group that won in two categories, “Best Community Group” and “Best Dance Group”; Ronnie Richardson ,who was voted as “Best Gospel Artiste”; and Samuel Toka.
The sponsors that made the Best of SVG 2020 possible were: Grant Thornton, Courts, FLOW, Diamond Girl, CIBC First Caribbean International Bank, Singer, Quick Cash, Right Stuff, Guardsman, BOOM 106.9, Finishing and Furnishing, Sport Locka plus, WE FM 99.9, Xtreme FM 104.3, GECCU Ltd, Invest SVG, St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College(SVGCC), Hairoun, Coreas Hazells Inc, and St Vincent and the Grenadines Chocolate Company.