Soca star Fay-Ann Lyons-Alvarez is assuring citizens that all the necessary steps were taken to ensure all the financial donations made by international celebrities towards flood relief for those affected by last weekend’s devastating floods got to the right hands.
In a telephone interview with the T&T Guardian yesterday, Lyons-Alvarez said neither she nor her husband Ian “Bunji Garlin” Alvarez collected any of the donations. Rather, they simply served as a liaison between local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as Is There Not A Cause Trinidad and Tobago (ITNACTT), Habitat TT, Orange House and representatives of the celebrities who are authorised to make the donations on their behalf.
“I am very keen to make sure that at no point in time any of the funds do not reach the charity it is intended to,” Lyons-Alvarez assured.
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“That is why the safest thing for me to do is have them send it straight to the charity…we don’t touch anything… I posted the account numbers on my Instagram and we sent them via email to their (the celebrities) people cause you know they would have their business people who handle whatever financial transactions for them.”
Beyonce’s hairstylist Neal Farina has designated his hair salon in New York as a drop off point for the collection of physical donations from those who wish to send items to the relief here in T&T. However, Lyons-Alvarez is currently looking into the logistics of getting the items here. The responsibility for this, she said, would rest with the local NGOs she is working with.
“We have spoken to Orange House and a number of charities and we’re doing the collection and then we would hand it over to them…they are accustomed to shipping aid into the country and what not so they would do all the necessary things and receiving in Trinidad…the people who are doing the shipping is charity-oriented and the people who are receiving are charity-oriented.”
Most of the international celebrities who have contributed to the flood relief were either born in T&T before leaving or have familial ties residing in the country and include names such as Nicki Minaj, Busta Rhymes and Rob Riley.
These celebrities, Lyons-Alvarez said, reached out to her after seeing their social media pleas for help following the devastation.
“When they saw what happened, they messaged us and said ‘hey how can we help? What can we do?’” she said.
The soca star commended those who are lending a hand during this time.
“I’d like to commend everybody, all the citizens who had a moral responsibility to do it and who had a service responsibility to do it…for coming out and helping,” she said.