Questions about music video cost create stir in Parliament

From left: Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace, Tourism Authority CEO Glen Beache, Tourism Minister Saboto Caesar.

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Minister of Tourism Saboto Caesar on Thursday told Parliament that that CEO of the Tourism Authority, Glen Beache “did not state in his press conference that the sum of $75,000 was paid to anyone”.

The issue generated as much controversy in Parliament as it did among the public and several legislators contributed to the debate.

Caesar was responding to a question from Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace regarding payment for a Gamal “Skinny Fabulous” Doyle music video used as part of the country’s tourism marketing efforts.

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Eustace had first asked about the video in a July 18 press statement in which he raised questions about the monies, in addition to other tourism-related matters.

“And in addition to all of this Former Minister of Tourism now CEO Glen Beache and present Minister of Tourism Saboto Ceasar tell this country whether the St. Vincent Tourism Authority paid $75,000.00 following the Referendum in January 2010 to an artist management company in Barbados? Tell us whether this money was indeed paid and what this money was paid for and who was to benefit from this payment,” Eustace said in the statement.

Cesar issued a statement saying that Eustace should ask his question in Parliament.

However, Beache, a former tourism minister, also issued a press statement saying that the EC$75,000 was for the Skinny Fabulous video.

“Finally, the last question raised by the Hon. Leader of the Opposition concerning the sum of $75,000.00 to an artist management company in Barbados had to do with the sponsorship of the music video for the “Beast Let Go” performed by Gamal “Skinny Fabulous” Doyle,” Beache said in his statement.

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However, the company in Barbados later issued a press statement saying that it only received US$15,000 for producing the video.

“Mr. Speaker, I am going to place this issue to rest finally,” Caesar remarked on Thursday before announcing that he has documents to prove that US$15,000 (EC$40,000) and not EC$40,000 was paid for the music video.

Eustace, responding to Caesar’s comments, pointed out that Beache did not deny that EC$75,000 was paid for the video.

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves also joined into the discussion calling attention to the verbs that Beache and Eustace used, respectively.

The Speaker of the House had vacated the chair when the next set of questions regarding the video was to be asked.

Opposition Senator, Anesia Baptiste (File Photo)

Opposition Senator Anesia Baptiste was scheduled to ask Question 25 – regarding, among other things, whether the board of the Tourism authority had approved the filing and use of the video as part of its promotional strategy.

The Deputy Speaker apologized for not calling for Question 25 and late said that part of the question was answered already.

In his response to Baptiste’s question, Caesar said the opposition was “playing politics” and making “heavy weather” over the US$15,000 “for a young man” who has “attempted to take the soca art form to a different level”.

Baptiste then rose on a point of order, saying that Caesar’s “ranting” was “imputing improper motive to me as a member of the opposition” and asked the Deputy Speaker to rule on the point of order.

The Deputy Speaker said that he knew the question “would have created a stir in the House”. He said that House comprises politicians and not footballers and MPs should not be so “thin skinned”.

Caesar, continuing his response, repeated that he had receipt for the US$15,000, adding that $75,000 was “only in somebody’s mind and imagination”.

There was much crosstalk as eh Deputy Speaker attempted to maintain control of the House.

The voice of MP for Central, opposition legislator Senator Leacock’s voice rose above the fracas.

Caesar said that the Tourism Authority’s promotional plan for 2010 made provisions for marketing and promotion. He said that the video must at all times be seen as a marketing tool.

He however noted that the board said that some of the procedures followed were unclear.


13 thoughts on “Questions about music video cost create stir in Parliament

  1. Mr. Chance, you left out piece of information. Mr. Beache told the Searchlight newspaper following the press release from the Bajan company that the amount was only US$15,000 or EC$40,000. The question for investigative journalists should be why Mr. Eustace took a question to parliament asking about $75,000 when he knew it was confirmed that it was only $40,000. I am sure you and your readers would like to know if Mr. Eustace source was credible as it is he who first mentioned the $75,000. Mr. Eustace should come forward now with documents to prove that $75,000 was spent or say he was misled by his source.

    Posted by Coline Grant | August 12, 2011, 13:05
    • Mr. Eustace’s source was the horse’s mouth itself. Saying now that it was a gaffe (or more likely a Freudian slip) is still unaccesptable. Why becasue this amounts to “after the fact, horse leaves stable posturing”. IN other words, only after Pyramid disclosed the recieved amount was the $75,000 a mistake.

      The documents Ceaser presnted, a cheque for us $15,000 etc proves nothing new. I can’t see how this amounts to evidence when Pyramid’s records already substantiated the $40,000 XCD figure.

      The cenral core of the affair is summarized as follows “Why leave a figure of $75,000 floating for a two week span? Why only retropectively respond after investigations at PYramid revealed the lesser sum? Was it not in your best intrest to perpetuate the impression that $75,000 was disbursed for the video and not $40,000 so as to not account for the remaining $35,000?

      Was this not easier than having to reconcile two sets of expenditures, and two sums? Why only after admit? When evidence proving the contrary was forwarded?

      Posted by Vincent Charles | August 13, 2011, 16:40
  2. To fail to correct public belief if incorrect is as wrong as stealing.

    What I would like to know to satisfy my own mind, did any one else get a payment from this project. Was the US$15K the only amount paid to anybody or any firm regarding this matter.

    Lets just cut through the crap and give a simple yes or no.

    Lets just hope that we can get a swift truthful answer, because eventually, at some time in the future, we will be able to check for ourselves.

    Posted by Peter | August 12, 2011, 13:43
  3. Peter the ULP don’t do simple yes or nos, the spin doctors will be here shortly

    Posted by jordan knight | August 12, 2011, 14:21
  4. Government said inside and outside the house that ONLY US$15,000 was spent. Beache said so in the Searchlight. Saboto Caesar – Minister of Tourism presented 3 pieces of evidence to parliament including the check payment voucher. Mr. Eustace has only presented a question that so far is rumor because he have not produce one single document to support the “public belief” you talking about. What you telling us is that Mr. Eustace can say anything and it becomes fact without evidence? I wouldn’t like to see any of you on any jury in our court system because nuff innocent people will go to jail.

    Posted by Coline Grant | August 12, 2011, 15:39
    • Stop lying on Beache, he NEVER mentioned US$15k

      Posted by KS784 | August 12, 2011, 21:31
    • Hans did u know Glen said he make a mistake. Did anyone listen to Sabato last comment in parrliament about who get the additional $3500.00..check the parliament tapes, not the hansard they go alter it.

      Posted by Killer | August 12, 2011, 22:16
  5. Of course there would be a receipt to show that US$15k was paid because the company submitted a bill for US15k, but what the other EC35k for and who got it, was it for Busy Signal?.

    Posted by KS784 | August 12, 2011, 17:03
  6. Earth to KS784.. cant you read? Mr. Eustace has not produced any evidence to prove that 75 spent while the government has proven that is only 40 spent SO is Mr. Eustace have to explain where the 35 came from. Ah mean, is so blind you all does support NDP so that rumor does become truth and truth does become lies?

    Posted by Coline Grant | August 12, 2011, 19:01

    Posted by girlee | August 12, 2011, 20:28
  8. It is also very strange that the interview with Glen Beache in which he admitted he made a mistake, was done since Tuesday (published in Friday’s paper). Yet on Thursday in Parliament (2 days after the interview) his minister is still arguing that he never said it was 75,000. Was there no communictaion between the minister and the CEO? Did not the minister know the CEO had already admitted to a mistake? It is all very embarrassing for them and doens’t help Vincentians who may even wish they were telling the truth.

    Posted by anesiab | August 15, 2011, 12:47


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