Tobago Festivals Commission: All artistes will be paid

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Soca artiste Marvin Lewis performs at the Republic Day 2022 cultural show at Roxborough Sporting Complex on September 24. Photo by David Reid

THE Tobago Festivals Commission Ltd (TFCL) has said artistes who performed during the inaugural Tobago carnival from October 28-30 will be paid.

But it urged them to exercise “a bit of patience and understanding.”

The commission’s attempt to reassure performers came days after entertainer Marvin Lewis called on the THA to find money to pay Tobago’s artistes.

In an emotional video posted on his Facebook page on Monday, Lewis, who performed at several events during the festival, also accused the organisers of disrespecting local artistes.

He said he was certain the foreign acts contracted to perform during the festival were paid. But Lewis claimed local artistes were struggling to pay their bills.

THA Secretary of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities and Transportation Tashia Burris, responding to Lewis’s concerns, told Newsday on Monday that artistes who were contracted to perform would be paid “as per the norm.

“If a contract was signed for his performance, as all others, the contracting entity would need to abide by those terms and conditions as set out by the artiste,” she said in a WhatsApp statement..

Burris also said the commission was responsible for executing the carnival.

On Thursday, the commission, in a statement, said it was in the process of ensuring relevant documentation was received from all suppliers and is “committed to honouring all agreements that were made for the Tobago carnival activities.”

The commission quoted its CEO John Arnold as saying, “All our suppliers and partners, certainly not least of all our local entertainers, are important to us, and we will make sure that they are given what they were promised. There is never any intent to disrespect anyone.

“Understandably there is a process to be followed and we just ask that a bit of patience and understanding be given to us as we continue to honour all payments.”