Burris: Chief Sec has reached out to Winston Duke

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Tobagonian actor Winston Duke –

THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine has reportedly reached out to popular Tobago-born actor Winston Duke, at the recently concluded World Travel Market (WTM) in London, says Secretary of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities and Transportation Tashia Burris.

Burris was responding to questions from Newsday about whether the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) was pursuing talks with Duke to help market the island.

Duke’s star has been shining brightly as he reprised his role as M’Baku in the blockbuster Marvel movie Wakanda Forever, released worldwide on November 11. Duke earned rave reviews for his performance, which was a bigger role than in the original Black Panther movie.

Last week, Guyana President Irfaan Ali wrote to Guyana-born Wakanda Forever lead actress, Letitia Michelle Wright, who migrated to England when she was seven, inviting her “to your beloved motherland.”

The 36-year-old Duke has spoken candidly and proudly about his homeland in several interviews and on social media.

At the Scarborough Port on Monday, where thousands of tourists were disembarking the Rhapsody of the Seas cruise ship, Burris said she was unaware how the discussions between Augustine and Duke went.

“I would ask the chief how far those discussions have progressed.”

Efforts to contact Augustine proved futile as all calls and messages went unanswered.

Burris added: “What I understand is that in the past they’ve (THA) had arrangements with (Manchester United legend) Dwight Yorke for example, to provide some ambassadorial services. It’s something that we haven’t really discussed just yet.”

She said the Progressive Democratic Patriots-led assembly is willing to work with people in the diaspora “who identify with the island and still have their roots here and their navel string buried here, to come and see how they could now assist Tobago in selling itself. It’s an open call to whoever is out there doing what they do, whatever they’re doing what they’re doing.”

She said it is not only about the famous Hollywood stars or artistes.

“Tobago has produced a number of persons who we should be very proud of – persons who are leading in different spheres all over the world and these people are also ambassadors. So it’s not just for the famous names but for those who are doing great things, wherever they are at, and they want to contribute to helping market the island.

“We are happy and open to have those conversations.”

Duke, originally from Argyle, migrated to the United States when he was nine years old.

He began acting in productions at the Portland Stage Company and at his alma mater, Yale University.

Since then, he has acted in several TV series including Person of Interest, The Messenger, Major Crimes and Modern Family.

Apart from his acting talents, Duke has won himself many admirers for his looks.

Duke was chosen as the cover for the current winter edition of the Esquire magazine. He was also one of the models in Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty show earlier this month.