As a kid on quiet North Caicos, Garnet Jolly’s portal to the outside world was a black-and-white television. Every Fourth of July, Garnet would watch the U.S. fireworks displays on TV. But he wasn’t impressed.
It wasn’t until the late 1980s – Garnet was a young adult by then – that he saw fireworks in person for the first time on Pine Cay. More impressive than on TV, he thought, but he still didn’t think much of them.
“I never thought I’d be involved in fireworks in Turks and Caicos. I just dismissed it after that,” say Garnet, 45, owner of fireworks company Bangers and Crash and the only licensed fireworks technician in the Turks and Caicos.
After a period working as a fisherman in North Caicos, Garnet went on to study mechanical engineering through an online program and became the chief engineer at the Sands Resort for the following 10 years. Part of his job was handling the resort’s fireworks shows. And that’s when his interest grew.
Garnet decided to become a certified fireworks technician and make a career out of the bright, booming explosives. For six weeks, he worked under the guidance of Gary Avins, principal of Firepower Displays Unlimited in Miami.
“There’s a lot of preparation and design that goes into the show,” Gary says. “Some people can just throw a bunch of fireworks in the air. That’s not what you’re looking for.”
Garnet had to work as an apprentice to learn the technical aspects of fireworks shows. And while design is important, safety overrides all else.
“I always treat every fireworks show like the first one,” Garnet says. “You can’t afford to make any mistakes.”