Booster Shot: No Money for Fay-Ann, the Bacchanal Continues.

>> Monday, March 23, 2009

Booster Shot:  The soca Monarch drama continues in good old Trinidad.  Last night at the so-called prize giving ceremony, a glamorous post pregnancy Fay-Ann Lyons left without a penny for her soca monarch wins.  The prize distribution and awards ceremony was held at the Cacadia Hotel in St. Ann’s Trinidad. Lyons expected to be awarded TT $1 million and a car for International Soca Monarch.  For Groovy Monarch the prize owed prize is $150,000.  She also earned an additional $50,000 for being voted People’s Choice.   Many artistes boycotted the event.

The organization responsible for staging the soca monarch show, The Caribbean Prestige Foundation, is claiming that Lyons failed to sign a contract with CPF, and as a result no cheque was issued. The document requires her to defend her titles next season, while restricting her from accessing the complete sum owed to her for this year’s success.

According to Newsday, Fay-Ann says the contract in question was presented to her after the competition, stipulating that she give five per cent of her winnings to the Caribbean Prestige Foundation.  I also read that the Toyota vehicle she won, and the cash would be held until said contract was signed. Both Fay-Ann and husband Ian Alvarez...Bunji Garlin, expressed opinions their disgust over mandatory conditions being tied to the prize moneys after the fact.  The CPF Executive President, Greg Fernandez, told the media that contracts were given to all artistes at the draw for positions, days before the finals.

While many artistes admit to receiving their contracts ahead of time, Fay-Ann Lyons and Bunji Garlin are certainly not the only two who refused to sign away five per cent of the prize money.  The list of artists left hanging by the situation includes Nadia Batson, Hunter, Shurwayne Winchester, all who did not receive appearance fees and prize monies.  However, the Guardian is reporting that Blaxx and Kerwin Du Bois, were paid in spite of their choice not to sign the document as well. As you might guess, five percent was deducted without their consent.

It’s a sticky situation, further casting a shadow of doubt over the CPF for its shrewd approach to capitalizing on the soca culture.  If I may throw my voice into the debate, I’ve got to ask:  Mr. Fernandez, do your corporate sponsors at bMobile and the National Lotteries know that your organization was attempting to siphon a percentage of THEIR money back into the CPF purse?  Where I come from, we call that fraud.  If the money your organization received was earmarked for prizes, better yet, if you are going to publicly advertize the rewards at a certain value, you are obligated to pay all of that money to those who worked for it, THE ARTISTS.  Maybe you’d understand me better if I speak in showbiz terms.  PAY THE TALENT.  Sounds to me, this was never about carnival and culture for you anyway.  So, the CPF thinks they have the right to enforce some kind of income tax?  Ok whatever...well next year, I hope you announce that loud and clear while you’re boasting about your million dollar top prize. 

The organizers should be embarassed.  

For my earlier coverage of this schupitness:

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