Click here to print page

Smith, friends rally to The Bahamas' rescue

BY BRIAN BONITTO
Associate Editor
Auto & Entertainment
bonittob@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Florida-based Jamaican poet Malachi Smith was one of several acts on the recent International Festival of Contemporary Poetry in Mexico. He said while his performance was “well-received”, he was somewhat distracted.

“I was watching the threat of Hurricane Dorian to the Americas on TV and was very concerned...On my return to Florida last week Monday, I saw [the] devastation) to the Bahamas. I then sprung into action,” he told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

Smith is conceptualiser of Malachi Smith and Friends' 'Bahamas Hurricane Relief Benefit Show' slated for Krave Lounge in Sunrise, Florida on Friday. The event is free to the public.

“I'm hoping that we get a huge turnout. We're trying to generate as much cash donations as we can. We also want people to bring [bottled] water, batteries, flashlights, canned foods, toiletries, hand sanitisers, bath soaps, female products, and first-aid supplies,” he said.

The line-up includes poet Judith Fallon-Reid, singer Hal Anthony, Taurus Alphanso, Sharon Forrester, Empress Uneek, Marcia Ball, Novel-T, guitarist Eugene Grey and his band, Sons of Mystro, saxophonist Yishka, Bahamian singer Endel I and Jay Shephard.

On September 2-3, Hurricane Dorian ravaged sections of The Bahamas, killing 45 people and leaving thousands homeless. There is no power or running water, and aid is arriving slowly on the island of Grand Bahama, where Dorian 'stopped' for nearly two days.

“These are my people that are affected. Anything that affects humanity affects me. I care about people,” said Smith.

This is not the first time Smith has given assistance.

As president of the 27-year-old Jamaica Ex-Police Association of South Florida, he has refurbished police stations in Four Paths, Clarendon; Castle in Portland; Ocho Rios and St Ann's Bay precincts in St Ann; Area One headquarters in Montego Bay; and the Falmouth Police Post in Trelawny.

He has also provided medical supplies and equipment for the Police Convalescence Home in St Elizabeth.

Born in Westmoreland, Smith grew up in Central Village, Spanish Town, St Catherine. He says he has been writing poems since elementary school, and in 1977, attended Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, where he rubbed shoulders with firebrand poets Oku Onuora and Mikey Smith.

He joined the Jamaica Constabulary Force after college, and migrated to Florida in 1983.

Host of the weekly radio programme, Strictly Roots Dub Poetry and More which airs on WZOP and WZPP in Florida, Smith's poems include One Population, How Yuh Mek Har Massa God, One Way and Wha Dis.