It is with as deep sense of loss that I learned this morning of the death of Mr. Holly Betaudier, a giant in the world of media, who devoted his lifetime to the exposure and uplifting of our culture.
Holly B, as he was affectionately called by all, was a national icon who began his career in media in August 1946 as an announcer with the US Armed Forces radio service network, WVDI.
National audiences put a face to the beloved “Arima Kid” when Television came to our country on the birth of our nation. He was one of the pioneers of national television making his mark on Trinidad and Tobago Television (TTT), which began regular broadcasts in November 1962.
Although he is best remembered for his work on Scouting for Talent, Best Village, Steel band and Parang, Holly B began working in sales and marketing for ttt before the station formally began its broadcasts.
This is Holly B’s own account on how he got on air:
“I broke my on air presentation on the 31st of August 1962 – from 4:00 to 10:00 p. m. with several 5-minute promos congratulating the country on achieving its independence. Subsequently, these five-minute segments were converted into five-second “Spotlight” commercials.”
Spotlight led to a show called Variety and Scouting For Talent followed. Holly B exposed the best of our talent and many of the biggest names in Showbiz made their first TV appearances on the show. Names such as Poser, Sugar Aloes, Protector, Chalkdust, Singing Francine, Denise Plummer, and Crusoe Kid are among those who were “discovered” on the show.
Holly’s cultural work was delivered with sincerity and a passion to use media to build bridges in our multi-cultural nation.
We all owe a debt of gratitude to this humble man whose love of our culture made us richer.
Few people in our country have come close to Holly B in his contribution to creating understanding among our people and for his efforts at nation building. Generations to come will benefit from his work and he will remain immortal as a true patriot who always put country first.
On my own behalf and on behalf of my family and extended United National Congress family I extend condolences to Holly B’s family. May his soul find eternal rest with almighty God.
Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, MP – Siparia
Leader of the Opposition | Political Leader United National Congress