Antiguan-raised DEI professional Dr. Collin Devon Williams of Collin Devon Events, is known for curating and producing one of the dopest experiences in Antigua. CDE Antigua draws travelers from all over to the island to not only have the time of their life, but also give back and pour into the local economy.
Williams was raised by his uncle “Sting” Ray who served over 35 years on the Antigua Taxi Association, so he knows firsthand that travel puts money in pockets and food on tables.
After being postponed because of the ongoing global pandemic, Williams is ready to safely welcome attendees back to his homeland Oct. 28- Nov. 2. But, this year will truly be historic.
“Looking back at 2019, I saw that sharing a hotel with non-CDE guests who didn’t align with or approve of our event posed a problem,” Williams shared with Travel Noire. “From uncomfortable stares to possible racism, I decided to make a historic move for the benefit of CDE attendees.”
Being the businessman that he is, and despite some pushback from the resort’s owners, Williams made the strategic move to completely buyout one of the island’s most luxurious resorts, The Royalton Antigua, for the CDE festivities. It is something that has never been done before.
“This buyout allows full freedom for CDE guests staying at the resort. It also gives us more flexibility to provide an even better experience for the group.”
With prior events, Williams had to turn away hundreds of interested travelers because there simply weren’t enough rooms in the host hotel. But now, that will change. He will have access to all 300-rooms, including overwater bungalows. All guests who register to attend the 6-day/5-night experience, will have the option for single or double occupancy.
“If I find that the demand is greater than the number of rooms we have, I will look into adding a second CDE date for 2021,” he said.
The buyout is not only a move for Williams, but he hopes it will also be inspiration for others like him.
“This is such an important move, because even on a Black island, ownership is perceived as white. When people discover the guy bringing the Americans and celebrities down is a young Black man from the Antigua countryside, they’re shocked. From school-aged youth to established business people, I’ve been told how I move is inspiring. I hope to keep inspiring and opening others eyes to entrepreneurship and ownership in Antigua and across the Caribbean.”
What to expect at CDE Antigua ’21
While the goal is for everyone to have a great time, Williams also wants to ensure that people are safe and not putting fellow Antiguans in danger.
Prior to arrival, and per Antigua’s current regulations, attendees will need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 5-days before departure. Testing will also be provided for American travelers needing proof to re-enter the United States. There will also be measures in place, including photo proof, to ensure test results aren’t being fabricated.
Masks will be required in public areas, and additional sanitizing stations will be set up.
“Local vendors participating will be fully vaccinated. I care about my island, and want us to be as safe as possible. We must remind ourselves that our vacation is day to day life for local businesses. They are incurring considerable risk to provide us with services, and we should remain cognizant of that. “
As for the actual CDE experience, Williams wouldn’t give away too much, but he did note that there will be added Caribbean-inspired programming, at the request of Caribbean-based attendees. You can also expect the pool parties, site seeing, and brunches that CDE is known for.
A large part of CDE Antigua is its giveback initiatives. In past years, the group would go into local communities to volunteer. Rather than take the large group around more localized parts of the island, Williams and a few friends will put together a donation drive before the event, and then later distribute items.
CDE also utilizes small, local, and Black-owned businesses for every aspect of the trip (food, drivers, vendors, excursions, entertainers, etc.).
Registration for CDE 2021 is currently open. The average price to attend is $2,000 per person which includes: room, meals, alcoholic drinks, and events entry (flight not included).
To learn more or to secure your spot, visit cdeantigua.com.