By Michron Robinson
It was a time of high fashion and wine toasting under the night’s sky, but for Razzle Dazzle, the gala charity event, the purpose of it all was raising funds for the vulnerable pets of Ocean Acres Animal Sanctuary.
The patrons who turned out to the British High Commissioner’s residence, Erdiston Road, St Michael looked beyond having a front-row seat to the evening of auctioneering and models ripping the runway and listened to the pleas of featured speakers on the part they can play in helping abandoned cats and dogs in Barbados.
British High Commissioner to Barbados Scott Furssedon called on Barbadians to rally behind the cause to help the at-risk and abandoned animals on the island.
“We are all in this fight together. There is such a great need for help for these animals who have no one else to help them in Barbados, as in other places. A great need to do more on spaying and neutering, which would help to address some of these problems,” he said before the supportive crowd gathered on the spacious lawn.
“There is so much that can be done in terms of education to try to change attitudes in the way that some people see animals and Ocean Acres does such wonderful work on all of those fronts. It’s so important that we can try to support them,” he said while adding that his family are the adoptive parents of two dogs which were once rescued.
Lady of the evening and founder of Ocean Acres Karen Whittaker said that she was very grateful for the assistance and the strong backing shown by those who gave what they could in the auction. “It’s amazing for me to see everyone here. It’s quite moving… I am hands on with this day in and day out. I take the calls, I see the people and I see the dogs. I look them in the eyes and I see their pain and their happiness too. It is important that we are here,” she said humbly.
She said the hard work must continue, but it’s a continuous fight to help those abandoned pets. “This issue is going on and it’s a mess out there. There are so many dogs and cats that need our help, but we are working and we have plans. There is a lot of progress being made and we are very optimistic. But we do need help. Please help us while you can,” she added.
Whittaker added that exporting the dogs and cats is important as there is just not enough space to house them.
Prominent businessman Mark Maloney, during his brief address, thanked Whittaker for the great work she’s done since taking up the mantle.
“Karen and her team at Ocean Acres have changed the lives of thousands of dogs and cats over just two years and works hard to educate Barbadians on the care of their pets verses animal cruelty which, sadly, is still so prominent on the island and in society,” he said, also making a plea for everyone play their part.
Maloney also thanked the government for enforcing recent animal cruelty laws. “Without legislation, none of what Karen is doing is sustainable. It needs legislation and further to legislation it needs enforcement because you can have laws, but enforcing the laws against animal cruelty is essential. I ask that you join in supporting the work of Ocean Acres… This is a country effort which can change the feeling towards animals in our society through education,” he said.
The evening saw a silent and live auction of staycations, golf club day passes amongst other prizes and designs from Butterfly Boutique with models such as Shaheida Lynch, and popular couple Kari and Brooke Miller and their young daughter River onto the runway. They all represented well in supporting the cause.
Mistress of Ceremony Astra Babb kept the evening flowing with much liveliness along with well known radio personality and DJ, Kirk Browne. (MR)