(Caribbean Life News) – The Brooklyn-based Vincentian-American Independent National Charities, Inc. (VINCI) on Sunday honoured international soca superstar Kevin Lyttle and retired national broadcaster Nina Maloney at the group’s 36th Annual Gala and Awards Ceremony at El Caribe Country Club on Strickland Avenue in Brooklyn.
VINCI also used the occasion to commemorate the 40th anniversary of St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ political independence from Great Britain.
“Today, we honor two outstanding citizens of our nation — Ms. Nina Maloney, who has had an outstanding career in media and has helped to shape the acculturation of many through her radio programs or through her civic works,” said Wayne Raguette, VINCI president and political consultant in Brooklyn.
“We also honor Mr. Kevin Lyttle, who needs very little introduction,” he added. “He is a world-renowned recording artiste and cultural ambassador.”
Raguette also described the honorees as “two great persons, who enrich our society, influence many in a positive way, contribute significantly to our nation, the Caribbean civilization, and will surely leave a legacy behind.
“We salute them!” he said.
Additionally, Brooklyn Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, representative for the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, presented the honorees with a congressional proclamation.
“We know Kevin Lyttle and what he has done to lift up the nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” said Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, in her remarks. “Let’s give Kevin Lyttle a round of applause (patrons enthusiastically obliged).
“And Nina Maloney, she was extraordinary around the world,” she added. “And so, we celebrate here, and I say ‘woman power!’”
Before giving patrons an acapella version of two of his, “Home for Carnival” and “Drive Me Crazy,” Lyttle said he was “very honored” to receive the award.
“Not every day you get honored and appreciated,” said Lyttle, who flew from his home in Miami for the honor. “When it comes from my country and my people, it’s like a 1,000 times.”
“I’m so honored to be chosen,” she said in her acceptance speech. “Today, it’s mixed feelings that I accept this award, because (of) the late Sylvia Wilson (former VINCI president and co-founder). I’m happy that this organization is still going and still going strong.
“To me, I’m very, very humbled to accept this recognition,” Maloney added. “I always have the feeling to help.
“I must also say thanks to the MC (Master of Ceremonies, Don Bobb),” she continued. “I learned from him, and I hope I have not disappointed him.
“I got paid for 27 years (as a broadcaster), and you (patrons) can’t shut me up,” she mused after speaking relatively long. “I don’t have any bad feelings for anyone. Once again, I want to say thanks, thanks, thanks again.”
Lyttle is said to have broken the common mold and altered the course of traditional soca music, infusing a more international flavor and taking a strong foot hold in the music industry in 2003 with his hit single “Turn Me On.”
“Turn Me On” topped charts around the world — the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Austria, Australia and the US.