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Luce Hodge-Smith & Melville Lettsome lambasted in 2013 Festival report!

-Director of Culture described as ‘disconnected’ and Treasurer accused of ‘avoiding’ committee members
The 2013 Festival report tabled in the HoA last Thursday September 25, 2014 lambasted Director of Culture Luce Hodge-Smith (left) and Festival Committee Treasurer Mr. Melville Lettsome. Photo: VINO/File/Facebook
Since Mr. Marvin 'MB' Blyden became Chairman of the Festival and Fairs Committee following the 2011 general elections, the Committee continues to be controversial with some scathing reports throwing everyone under the bus and avoiding the responsibility and interference of the Minister for Culture Myron V. Walwyn. Photo: VINO/File
Since Mr. Marvin 'MB' Blyden became Chairman of the Festival and Fairs Committee following the 2011 general elections, the Committee continues to be controversial with some scathing reports throwing everyone under the bus and avoiding the responsibility and interference of the Minister for Culture Myron V. Walwyn. Photo: VINO/File
Yet another controversial Festival and Fairs Committee Report has been laid on the Table of the House of Assembly. Photo: VINO
Yet another controversial Festival and Fairs Committee Report has been laid on the Table of the House of Assembly. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - Yet another controversial Festival and Fairs Committee Report has been laid on the Table of the House of Assembly.

It was on Thursday September 25, 2014 at the Tenth Sitting of the Third Session of the Second House of Assembly (HoA) that Minister for Education and Culture Honourable Myron V. Walwyn laid on the Table the Virgin Islands Festival and Fairs Committee 2013 Annual Report.

In fact because of his absence from Parliament on Thursday, the report was presented on Hon Walwyn’s behalf by Minister for Communications and Works Honourable Mark H. Vanterpool.

Festival Secretary - Director of Culture disconnected & tardy

The report on page 12 lambasted the Director of Culture Luce Hodge-Smith who acts as the Festival and Fairs Committee Secretary who took over in 2013 from the former Acting Director of Culture Brenda Lettsome-Tye.

According to the report now a public document “there seems to be a disconnection when the Secretary was changed from the Acting Director of Culture back to the Director of Culture. The transition did not work out as smooth and efficient as we would have liked.”

The report went on to claim “many Committee members expressed their dissatisfaction with the tardy manner in which request were handled. For example, records and files that were requested from the previous year were slow in coming and some members had to resort to creating templates from scratch” the reported concluded.

Director of Culture Ms. Hodge-Smith could not be reached for comments as of post time.

Department of Culture’s role in Festival only when asked?

The report stated that it appeared that the role of the Department of Culture became less defined regarding its purpose, involvement and role for Festival. The conclusion was made that the Department of Culture only got involved when they were asked. It should be made clear of the function of the Department regarding Festival as the committee relies heavily on the Department for the success of Festival, the report states.

Chairman of the Festival and Fairs Committee Mr. Marvin 'MB' Blyden said in the report that “I strongly believe that the VI Festivals and Fairs Committee is to be operated year round and manned by personnel of the Department of Culture who will be able to share and receive information pertaining to Festival”.

Treasurer Melville Lettsome avoiding committee members

The report also went after the Festival Committee Treasurer Mr. Melville Lettsome. On page 12 it said; “during many instances, many of the committee members as well as Sub-committee chairs felt it was almost impossible to get in contact with the Treasurer. Several Sub-Committee members complained of not being able to get answers regarding funds for their outstanding bills”.

In lashing out at the Treasurer Mr. Lettsome the report stated that “Sub-committee Chairs became increasingly frustrated when they had to resubmit invoices on numerous occasions via Email and hard copy. They felt that the Treasurer was avoiding them intentionally when they had queries about the availability of funds”.

The 2013 Festival report on page 13 stated that “the committee was extremely frustrated by the tardy submission of the Treasurer’s financial report”.

According to the report it was suggested to the Treasurer that he utilize accounting software that would allow ease of the large amount of paperwork; accurate reporting of outstanding bills; and cash balances availability.

Mr. Lettsome in his defense said in the report that he was still receiving bills from the Festival activities and as such an accurate report could not be submitted.

Who to blame?

Since becoming Chairman of the Festival and Fairs Committee following the 2011 general elections Mr. Blyden’s Committee continues to be controversial with some scathing reports throwing everyone under the bus and avoiding the responsibility and interference of the Minister for Culture Myron V. Walwyn.

Many Festival committee members over the three years have told our news room that the biggest challenge is the Minister who allegedly continues to micro-manage the Festival Committee.

Further they stated that the second challenge is lack of funds to carry out the Festival's mandate and activities.

Some have called for the resignation of the Festival Committee Chairman Mr. Blyden including entertainer, businessman and Showtime Band Leader Eustace ‘Boss’ Freeman.

27 Responses to “Luce Hodge-Smith & Melville Lettsome lambasted in 2013 Festival report!”

  • cay (27/09/2014, 12:39) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Well saw look trouble for me
    • give it time (27/09/2014, 17:47) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
      Lettsome did a good job they just was not acustomed to Ms smith
      • the rock (27/09/2014, 22:37) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
        i think they all did a wonderful job,,the minister really is an action man!
  • ???? (27/09/2014, 12:39) Like (12) Dislike (39) Reply
    Isn't myron the one who is always saying that fraser threw civil servants under the bus? Well here he is behind MB 100% doing the same doggone thing. This guy speaks with 2 tongues.
    • Like it or leave it. (29/09/2014, 01:43) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
      No he is simply laying the report. Like any honest person uou cannot amend someone else's report. Please Luce need to get she damm work done
  • qc (27/09/2014, 12:49) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply

    M. and my..n always looking for ah fall guy!

  • facts man (27/09/2014, 12:56) Like (11) Dislike (2) Reply
    Nothing will change until after the next election
  • RealPol (27/09/2014, 13:27) Like (12) Dislike (3) Reply
    Wow! Poor leadership and it is becoming a pattern. I see neither Walwyn nor Marvin stepping up to the plate to accept the bullets. A true leader, a leader that the many would follow almost blindly, shoulder the blame when things go wrong and shine the spot light on other when go right. This style of leadership is absent here. As such, they cannot building confidence among the few die hard volunteers or recruit much needed volunteers. Who would want to join a committee where you are flogged in public, thrown under the bus, and then run over.

    The Festival and Fairs organization is trouble. In the best interest of the committee and the territory, it is best if Marvin resign. He can no longer lead the organization. One cannot just be a leader on paper. A leader must have a guiding philosophy, set expectations, provide resources, provide organizational guidance and structure.....etc.
  • civil servant (27/09/2014, 14:31) Like (22) Dislike (21) Reply
    Luce girl Keep your head up Myron will be gone soon
  • stealing (27/09/2014, 14:55) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    There is too much underhanded behavior
  • nation builder (27/09/2014, 15:12) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Both of them need to go!
  • xxxxxxxx (27/09/2014, 15:17) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    I think there needs tighter oversight.
  • farmer brown (27/09/2014, 16:02) Like (5) Dislike (3) Reply
    Look how mb throw ppl under the bus
  • Lemonade (27/09/2014, 20:29) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why Myron and MB acting brand new???? We all know TB don't have any funds. What are they going to pay the bills with...oh yea that's right ....swipe they backside with a card.
  • STX (27/09/2014, 22:50) Like (10) Dislike (2) Reply
    Gal don't mind Dem n u look hot in that pic
  • Speak the truth (28/09/2014, 06:40) Like (16) Dislike (8) Reply
    The report spoke the truth! Why should MB take the blame for an incompetent Secretary. If she did what she had to do the report would have reflect that. This is the problem with the BVI, when you speak the truth you are castrated! She didn't do her job. Plain and simple and she's difficult to deal with. Puts on a pretense. Call a spade a space. That's why the VIP is how it is. Can't correct nobody.. They keep rewarding ineffiency! Keep your head up MB! What you did took backbone!
    • apple pie (28/09/2014, 08:58) Like (5) Dislike (3) Reply
      Myron aka speak the truth go from here with your wicked self your day will come!
      • @apple pie (28/09/2014, 23:10) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
        His day and Lettsome-Tye. If The secretary so inefficient who wrote this report?????? I spoke to Tye a while seeking information about festival. She did direct me to culture but her comments and tone clearly indicated that their was personal differences between the Director and her. She (tye) will not stop until she scandal Luce image, and Madam PS and Minister would not pull the wool from over their eye to see the facts but remember judgement day is near. And the people shall speak.

        As for the treasurer, please clear the air, something is fishy.
    • facts (28/09/2014, 12:21) Like (9) Dislike (2) Reply
      What "backbone" you talking about? The "so-called" Chairman is publicly admitting he did not see the final report that was tabled...he did not even write the report! More to come....stay tuned!!
  • Hmmmmm (28/09/2014, 09:09) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    The chairman submit these reports but never once seen him take any responsibility. Roles need to be define clearly and planning is key. We need to display unity not fragmentation. Treasurer need to be more rigid and make it clear that he want invoices in a certain time and no procurement unless he is advised first. Based on these reports it is crystal clear that everybody is running the committee and the chairman need to take control of the helm or resign.
  • Ting de Talk (28/09/2014, 12:23) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    POLITICAL SCANDAL! Say no more
  • GET RID OF ALL (28/09/2014, 14:19) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Let them go...
  • justice (29/09/2014, 09:53) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    Honestly speaking that committee is corrupted from top to bottom , many covering for others and all will fall together
  • Just saying.... (29/09/2014, 11:25) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    I wish all committee members resign in protest over how MB and Myron continue to blame the members for the failure of festival
  • Tigress (29/09/2014, 15:35) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
    Keep using the same people over and over again then they get lazy and no one demands accountability so any thing goes. There are lots of people out there who can do a much better job but because little is know of them and they have no recognizable last name, they never have a chance. MB good job
  • good job my @$$ (30/09/2014, 08:23) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    MB GOOD JOB WA?
    Myron no different as far as festival is concerned..
    Then he must come n say GGood Job MB..

    cause he ain going paint his own face with dirt,.
    Busy using others to cover their own Folly..,
    The time has come tho.

    Yall going see a new beginning as it is written.,,
    N Nobody want to see some of them ppl.

    They can find time to be pointing fingers but for yrs cant find time to treat their own ppl will respect,

    Owing them monies,disrespect them at the festival gates,,treat them like they're nobody,

    while every outsider always come n leave good "with all the monies"..,
    Get them corrupted ppl out of here. #Time for a new


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