Tobago Festivals Commission head mum on US$430k

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo of the Tobago Festivals CEO John Arnold. Photo by David Reid


CEO of the Tobago Festivals Commission (TFCL) John Arnold replied, “No comment,” when asked for an update on the recovery of US$430,000 allegedly paid for a performance in 2017 which never happened.

The appearance fee, for that year’s Tobago Jazz Experience (TJE), was reportedly paid to international recording artiste D’Angelo (Michael Eugene Archer), but he failed to appear.

Arnold was responding to a question from Newsday after the launch of the TJE 2023 at the Shaw Park Cultural Complex on Tuesday.

Just days before D’Angelo was advertised to perform on April 28, 2017, at the World Music Night at the Pigeon Point Heritage Park, Arnold, then head of the TJE committee, announced at a press conference that the artiste would not be performing because of the death of his grandfather.

Secretary of Tourism and Culture Nadine Stewart-Phillips subsequently told a plenary of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) that the assembly had taken legal action to recover the money reportedly paid to D’Angelo.

Eleven Entertainment Company Ltd had been contracted to procure the services of D’Angelo and other artistes on behalf of the THA for the jazz festival.

In June 2018, THA’s then senior counsel Alvin Pascall told Newsday four pre-action protocol letters had been sent to D’Angelo, Matt Ross, 11 Entertainment and a group acting on behalf of D’Angelo, giving them 14 days to respond on the repayment of the funds.