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60th VI Festival in early limbo as ‘Alliance’ threatens boycott!

- VIF&FC disrespecting local bands & performers by not paying after two months - Eustace ‘Boss’ Freeman
President of the Grate VI Music Alliance Eustace 'Boss' Freeman said that they are fed up of being treated like dirt by the VI Festival and Fairs Committee (VIF&FC). Photo: VINO/File
The VI Festival and Fairs Committee falls under the Ministry of Education and Culture and 'Boss' said they may be forced to approach the Minister in charge, Honourable Myron V. Walwyn, to have issues of their payment sorted out. Photo: VINO/file
The VI Festival and Fairs Committee falls under the Ministry of Education and Culture and 'Boss' said they may be forced to approach the Minister in charge, Honourable Myron V. Walwyn, to have issues of their payment sorted out. Photo: VINO/file
Chairman of the VIF&FC, Mr Marvin 'MB' Blyden, several weeks ago, had given his word that all artistes would have been paid in short order. He could not be reached by this news site for comments. Photo: VINO/File
Chairman of the VIF&FC, Mr Marvin 'MB' Blyden, several weeks ago, had given his word that all artistes would have been paid in short order. He could not be reached by this news site for comments. Photo: VINO/File
At the time of speaking with Virgin Islands News Online, Mr Freeman had recalled that of the group of alliance members who had participated in this year's calypso competition, only Luther B and Sistah Joyce were paid. Photo: VINO/File
At the time of speaking with Virgin Islands News Online, Mr Freeman had recalled that of the group of alliance members who had participated in this year's calypso competition, only Luther B and Sistah Joyce were paid. Photo: VINO/File
International performers are given an advance payment and their full balance immediately following their performance while locals get paid the next year, alleged Mr Freeman. Photo: VINO/file
International performers are given an advance payment and their full balance immediately following their performance while locals get paid the next year, alleged Mr Freeman. Photo: VINO/file
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – President of the Grate VI Music Alliance group Mr Eustace ‘Boss’ Freeman said local artists and bands may be forced to boycott the 60th anniversary celebration of the Virgin Islands Emancipation festivities next year if their members have not been paid for services rendered this year.

“Right now we tired waiting and tired of the disrespect. We rendered services and cannot be paid at the end of the day,” said the President of the ‘Alliance’ Mr Freeman. “We spoke to them (Chairman of the VIF&F Committee Mr Marvin Blyden) and he said nothing new,” he further added in an exclusive interview with Virgin Islands News online.

Efforts to reach Mr Blyden proved futile yesterday September 19, 2013.

Local artists performing at the recent VI Emancipation Festival activities reportedly had to sign a contract with the VIF&FC this year and, according to Mr Freeman, they were asked to and had agreed that they would not take any advance deposits on the agreed grounds that they would be paid in full no later than a period of two weeks. “They are in breach of their contract, they did not honour their contract,” said Mr Freeman.

Obviously disappointed and fed-up of the shabby treatment allegedly meted out to local artistes, Mr Freeman said they are now tired of being tossed around by the Virgin Islands Festival and Fairs Committee who kept giving “dead promises” to make payments to the local bands and artistes who participated in the 2013 Festival activities.

“All the international artists were paid in full. They were given an advance upon signing their contract and after their performance they got their balance and we here, the locals, can’t even get a small fraction of our monies and that is total discrimination,” he said.

Dealing with the way forward, ‘Boss’ said that in the future if they are still to be a part of Festival celebrations in the Virgin Islands they would not be signing any contracts prepared by the VI Festival and Fairs Committee but rather that committee would have to sign contracts prepared by the Alliance for its members. “Part of our contract would be that we must get an advance payment and the balance in full the moment we walk off the stage,” he stated emphatically.

He said in the past many times locals had performed one year and never got paid until the following year. “This got to stop, this would not be happening anymore.”

It was said that of the many performers, only a few got their monies. Of the Alliance group, only two members who participated in the calypso competition this year were reportedly paid, “Only Sistah Joyce and Luther got paid,” said Mr Freeman.

“Our spirits are broken. The whole reason for celebrating Festival is because of freedom but this whole thing just reminds us of slavery is as if we are being enslaved as opposed to being emancipated. We now wonder if it is worth giving our all,” Mr Freeman argued.

According to the Alliance President, it takes a lot of time and effort to prepare for the celebration of Festivals, something they all enjoy doing, “But we cannot be continued to be taken advantage of in this manner,” he said.

Asked about their next course of action, Mr Eustace ‘Boss’ Freeman said, “We cannot say right now what our next course of action will be at this very moment but I would think that we would move to have a meeting with the Minister for Education and Culture Honourable Myron V. Walwyn to discuss this thing that has been happening over the years.”

The ‘Alliance’ group has approximately 18-20 members. The group was formed some two years ago to ensure that their members are treated fairly and equally in the entertainment industry. The Vice-President of the Group is Jason ‘Ritical’ Frett.

Back in May of 2012, the group had raised similar and other issues with Mr Marvin ‘MB’ Blyden.

According to an article published on this new site on May 15, 2012, President of the group and lead singer of Showtime Band, Eustace ‘Boss’ Freeman had brought several issues to the committee’s attention. Issues ranged from local artists performing too early and many times in front of a handful of persons, local artists being paid too cheaply and being forced to accept it and local artists at times feeling as though they are being pitted against each other.

50 Responses to “60th VI Festival in early limbo as ‘Alliance’ threatens boycott!”

  • jokes (20/09/2013, 09:31) Like (4) Dislike (10) Reply
    So my tax money paid a drug pusher but not anyone else. something wrong with this society
  • pay up (20/09/2013, 09:34) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
    Mayson MB ayo pay the people them..A man should eat bread by the sweat of his brow.
  • TRUCK DRIVER (20/09/2013, 09:37) Like (16) Dislike (0) Reply
    The truck drivers will also boycott this year. Drivers are being paid $250.00 for the parade and the trucks are on the raod from 12pm to after 7pm. Most of the drivers have not been paid and its only $250.00 per truck they were paying. SHAME ON THE FESTIVAL COMMITTEE....................................
    • LBM (20/09/2013, 15:57) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      thats really messed up 250 for so much hours and dont talk about how expensive gas is now...wow so cheap and still cant pay ayo ..thas ruff yow
  • the lord's prayer (20/09/2013, 09:46) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    @MB and Myron please"give us this day our daily bread"
  • bamsee (20/09/2013, 09:53) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    Luther B and sistah J were paid first because they are locals who aint fraid to sing on the committee and thats bad.
  • Remi (20/09/2013, 10:18) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    " local artists being paid too cheaply and being forced to accept it and local artists at times feeling as though they are being pitted against each other."

    They pitt themselves against each other playing the same mess. They need to get pay though.
  • Time to Go! (20/09/2013, 10:25) Like (7) Dislike (107) Reply
    I am ashame of you MB !!! You use to do a good job at running certain organizations but those days are far behind us! It seems everything your hands touch turns sour these days!

    Even your businesses have gone to the dogs!

    You need to go!
  • Braking News (20/09/2013, 10:28) Like (10) Dislike (1) Reply
    instead of Myron up and down on the air every min he needs to go pay the people dem
  • SHAME ON THIS CULTURE MINISTER (20/09/2013, 10:31) Like (11) Dislike (61) Reply
    This is a disgrace in this place. This Minister is very pompous with himself when it comes to issues but one like this he can't solve? I believe that this should have never been a matter to deal with. Pay the people their money. I was even told that the winners from the troups and floats did not get anything either. What an embarrassment with the Cultur Minister & Festival and Fairs Committee. You all planing 60th but don't plan to pay the people?????
  • don (20/09/2013, 10:34) Like (11) Dislike (1) Reply
    boss just be careful that wicked man does not victimize you or put your job in jeopardy
    • @ don (20/09/2013, 23:18) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      for sure like how he trying to intimidate the Wheatly guy at the college
  • Ah bwoy! (20/09/2013, 10:42) Like (4) Dislike (4) Reply
    this is ah dam shame MB get your buz sort out!!!
  • VG in the house (20/09/2013, 10:42) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Fea is fear musicians put your foot
    down boycott 2014/15 festival both islands no respect for our local art form
  • Lb (20/09/2013, 11:01) Like (8) Dislike (113) Reply
    How many contractors are still waiting to get paid for work they did? Each owed tens of thousands of dollars! What if we behaved the way these band men do for a few hundred dollars? Boss go sit down and stop being so selfish. Everybody in other industries sitting and waiting months and some over a year to get paid! It is not right but we understand the limbo we are in as a country for cash. We know we will get paid and you know that too! Just be patient and work with the country instead of acting like a spoiled little boy every time things don't go your way! Remember it is a 2 way street and if the committee boycotts you and brings outside artists alone I am still going village every night!
    • Pure Games... (20/09/2013, 11:32) Like (10) Dislike (20) Reply

      LB you talking garbage, because if they could find money to pay for flights hotel and high cost they will get away with it in 2014 but you and this gov't keep in mind 2015 coming sooner then you think and what is good for the goose is good for the gander. They find money to do what they want! If they do not have any money why are they up and down starting Project after project??? Airport Expansion, Hospital, Port Project, Ferry Terminal; it does not stop! Why did they take at the last min and put $150,00 from Festival and give it to one man in Cane Garden Bay to make a muck and shame this country with a so called Music Fest?

      If you can afford to wait an entire year for your money then good for you and yours. This place is dead!!! people have bills to pay and it's simple not fair to promise payment then turn your back. What are we suppose to tell the bank when our bills are due? They find money for everything under the sun. What happen to the financial report from Festival?

      e honest and tell people how long it will really take! You know you waiting on the money from the Financial services tell people the truth!!! We tell the people we owe what you tell us so when two weeks pass and the bank don't see any money they don't want another excuse!!! So we don't want any excuse!!!

      • Lb (20/09/2013, 13:30) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
        What generators you mean went to Min Skelton?

        If you know the facts about the state of the country then why does it need to be said? Boss just need to be quiet and stop the noise and be patient. THe money will come. It is just a few hundred dollars and some of the members wont even get that much. Stop screaming that the Sky is Falling! THere are other people with bigger bills outstanding and they are waiting patiently and not bawling to the media every minute.

        And the Music Festival money went to a committee not one man. But I know you want blame SKelton for that t00. even tho you agree that they gave the money too late.
    • vincyman (20/09/2013, 13:34) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      LB are u right in your head when talk that BS about waiting for year, the inter artists them didn't have to wait to get pay,so why should the local band should? bills have to be paid an food have to be bought just remember that.i bet if somebody from d committee come an address the situation an say what the hold up i know the local artists will understand but NOT answering the phone an stuff will get anybody mad after working an not seeing the $$$..PS PLZ PAY KINGMAN WE NEED TO GET SOME SUNSET OUT THAT SMALL CHECK....#VINCY4LIFE
  • VI Band & Tenshun (20/09/2013, 11:33) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    VI Band and Tenshun waiting for 2 years strong now ... No matter how much calls they made ... Not a quart received!!!
  • ccc (20/09/2013, 11:34) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Lady pay the people them
  • virgin gorda (20/09/2013, 11:56) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    Where is the minister who likes the spot light
  • FED UP SP (20/09/2013, 12:01) Like (5) Dislike (8) Reply
    We broke again, we broke again. Mr Minister can't you hear the cry of the people. Feed the people Mr. Minister. Stop playing the fool with the people money. Its a crying shame that the people work so hard to bring excitment to the place and them can't get no pay. We broke again, ha ha ha we broke again.
  • Eagle Eye (20/09/2013, 12:46) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    that 100 thousand dollars lunch could have done the job. also that hong kong money
  • school children say (20/09/2013, 14:33) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Somebody got some new generators and a sound system out of it
  • wet well (20/09/2013, 14:51) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Well it’s a pattern by this government on how they treat the locals so no surprise here!!!
    • she the cat mother (20/09/2013, 15:44) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      Get real! NDP or VIP, doesn't matter. Why these two parties are still allowed to govern this country speaks to the ignorance, low expectations and stupidity of the BVI people.
      • @ she the cat mother (20/09/2013, 18:30) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        That is exactly why you should vote! Your vote is thee most powerful tool for change you have as a citizen. Use it wisely next time! Do it for your children and mine, so they will have a shot at a better life!
  • mother hen (20/09/2013, 15:13) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    I don't know about you folks, but this MB dude appears to suffer from a mild case of autism, he still don't seem to get it you promised pay two weeks ago just do it!!!!!!.
    • LMAO!! (20/09/2013, 16:40) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Mother hen lord you make me spit out my water. LMFAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!
    • mvw (20/09/2013, 18:24) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      the BVI is a place of '3 day talk' and soon like everything else, we will all forget about this, and next year they will go thought the same disrespect....Really sad!!!
  • Mushroom (20/09/2013, 18:04) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    It doesn't surprise me....I didnt participate in the calypso show this year because the comitee never paid me....between marvin Williams and marvin blyden I dont know who is more irrelevant...get rid of them both.
  • Its Not Deliberate (20/09/2013, 18:17) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Take it from me Boss, it ain't you alone. Cheques aint coming out the Treasury because it broke.
  • FB (20/09/2013, 22:56) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    look at the pitcure with MB face...it says it all
  • kevin (20/09/2013, 23:37) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    see how unfair the NDP is..when the people own this government money through social security or taxes they quick to take you to court..now the people have no redress to get their money..god send help!!!
  • up town (20/09/2013, 23:59) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am just fed up and making a move from the BVI
    • @ up town (21/09/2013, 15:10) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      That is probably the first sensible thing you have said - ever
  • fair is fair (21/09/2013, 07:23) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Then guys just have to do what they have to do. It is hard to work and do not get paid when you have responsibilities to take care of. All those other people that came in from outside was a waste of my time and money. They could have given it to the local bands. They did a much better job than those people who came in. Do not talk about Saturday night. That was a waste of time and it was a disgrace. I have plans on going to Antigua next year for their festival. Ours is getting worst and worst every year. Really it is nothing to look forward to anymore. Long ago when people like Ms. P., Janice Blyden and those other people we use to have a festival. I do not know what it is now.
  • jtv (21/09/2013, 08:53) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Our tourism advertising theme sould be 'Come to the 60th annversi - our accounting is done by Mickey Mouse'...

    • walwin (22/09/2013, 08:58) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
      Man you guys just relax and wait for your $$$$$ the economy is robust why rush?
      • blame it on the vip (22/09/2013, 12:26) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        thank you walwin, deeds VIP always complaining about something.
    • new priv sec (23/09/2013, 10:22) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Finally the speech writer give Myron something to say but he still did not tell the people when they will get pay
      • tell him what to say please (23/09/2013, 20:24) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
        i agree was just on another news site and saw something about he will cut back on expat bands jah
  • We Are One (21/09/2013, 11:01) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Champagne production on a Kool Aid budget
  • play (23/09/2013, 07:12) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Boycott dem backside yes


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