You would think that when Bravo takes the Real Housewives on trips, that they foot the bill. But they don’t. They contact the tourism department and ask to be accommodated in exchange for the publicity. While I knew that this occurred, I did not realize the extent that the small countries go to in order to accommodate the housewives. Remember when Marlo asked for hair and make-up in South Africa? Not only she got it but the person they called in was not paid.
In Anguilla, the country could not afford the cost of accommodating the ladies and the crew so everyone came together to donate their businesses and time in hopes of improving tourism to Anguilla. After the break you will see the entire speech the Parliamentary Secretary of Tourism gave after the housewives departed Anguilla thanking everyone responsible for the production. You can see that Nene Leakes required special accommodations and a “glam squad,” so a local company volunteered to try to meet her diva requests.
The text from the speech is long so I bolded the important parts for the lazy and I made a couples of remarks in purple to explain a few things. Let me know what you think!
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. I am here today to thank all of those who worked so hard with me to make the production of the Real Housewives of Atlanta filming in Anguilla a reality. I must especially thank them because when this opportunity was presented to me while at the June CTO New York by the Britto agency; I had to wrestle with the fact that Anguilla did not have the budget or the financial wherewithal to undertake such as production.
I therefore reached out to home to get some advice on the fiscal situation and was advised that neither the Anguilla Tourist Board nor the Ministry of Finance and Tourism had the financial resources to take this important project on. I reverted to the Britto agency and they indicated that this production could still be a possibility if we could get the industry partners to do some sponsoring in kind. After some initial feelers, I was pleased with the response.
Grasping the vision and idea, and first on board, were Mr. Sherwin Richardson of the spectacular Modena Villa in the Cove, and Ms. Bonnie Bloom of world renowned ANI Villas in Limestone Bay. I must place on record my gratitude especially to Ms. Bloom who not only understood the vision, but also offered up both ANI Villas to house the entire cast of the Real Housewives. Not only did she house them but did everything necessary for them to have a most enjoyable stay, so much so that the producers exclaimed, there was no drama in the house.
There are many others to be thanked, and they include Mr. Jeff David and his extraordinary team at Viceroy Anguilla. They offered no fewer than ninety (90) room nights, an offer which, as anyone could expect, was at a tremendous cost to the resort; Mr. Bernard Sarmes, Mr. Malcolm Webster, Ms. Patricia Bryan and the great staff at the legendary Cap Juluca Resort, for going above and beyond, by creating the atmosphere, and constructing an ocean platform where lunch for the cast was served and filmed.
In doing so, these individuals exceeded the expectations of all; Mr. & Ms. Ian Edwards of Sunset Homes, Mr. & Ms. Eudoxie Wallace of Gorgeous Scilly Cay, Mr. Bankie Banx and the Dune Cat, Miss Tahirah Banks, Mr. David Lloyd and Ms. Vida Lloyd-Richardson of Davidas for the scrumptious dinner they provided for the cast. That night captured the essence of the show. I would also like to thank Mr. Timi Webster of On da Rocks, (this is the place with the Fuck me drinks where Kandi and Todd filmed) Mr. Tyrone ‘Latest’ Brooks and the Exodus Band for providing a memorial experience, Lanvol ‘Pantha’ Hughes, Pantha Vibes Intl and the PVI fan club, (I doubt this makes it to air, my sources say the housewives stayed for five minutes and left) Ms. Valencia Prentice, Mr. Girdon Connor and the Klassique Dance academy for creating what will undoubtedly leave a lasting memory with both the cast and the crew. Ms. Karla Hughes, the Management and Staff of Dolce Vita Restaurant, Ms. Simone Connor and Mr. Sil Connor of Sandy Island who hosted the renewal vows of Peter Thomas and Cynthia Bailey, and Rev Erica Carty for officiating at the ceremony. I would also like to thank Miss Roxanne ‘Roxxy’ Webster and Ms. Rachel Haskins of ‘Hello Gorgeous’ for making the special effort to accommodate Ms. Leakes and going above and beyond to make her happy. (I can’t believe, Nene demanded a hair and makeup team. Oh, wait, yes I can)
So many local partners came on board to make this a reality and I cannot thank them enough. Mr. Dennis Mussington and his crew that did the transportation, Mr. Rosmund Davis and crew of Calypso Charters for doing all the sea shuttles complimentary, the Customs and Immigration Department, Permanent Secretary, Mr Foster Rogers, for his advice and support in this venture, the Ministers of Government – in particular the Hon. Chief Minister and the Hon. Jerome Roberts for their unwavering support, Mr. Alejandro Raygoza and Dolphin Discovery, Ms. Gilda Gumbs Samuel of the AHTA and Ms. Sherille Hughes, past President of the AHTA, Mr. Keithly Lake of the Anguilla Chamber of Commerce for his support, and lastly but most importantly, Ms. Marvet Britto and the BRAVO network. It is especially rewarding when such a major production as this can be done without the tax payers having to pay for it. Undoubtedly, the entire country will benefit from the exposure and my gratitude goes out to all of the above for making this a reality. It goes to show that the age old quote is alive and well: Where there is a will, there is a way!
Our mandate is in keeping with the Sustainable Tourism Master Plan and that is, to ensure that Anguilla becomes more visible and by so doing, increase the number of visitors to our shores. We believe that through continued web marketing and major television productions such as these, we are achieving the same. Already, Anguilla is reaping the rewards of this production with all of the outtakes and US websites and blogs that are mentioning the filming and the destination, and we can all look forward to the upcoming RHOA season and the 2013 Tourist season with great expectations.
Thank you and may God Bless Anguilla.