KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – The opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) is still asking questions about the EC$75,000 that Glen Beache, CEO of the Tourism Authority, said was spend to produce Gamal “Skinny Fabulous” Doyle’s “Beast Let Go” video as part of the authority’s tourism marketing trust.
NDP head and Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace first inquired about the funds on July 18, when he issued a press statement asking Beache and Tourism Minister Saboto Caesar to say whether the money was paid, what for, and who benefited.
Caesar said Eustace should ask his questions in Parliament but Beache, a former tourism minister, issued a press statement, saying that the monies were for the music video.
However, Santia Bradshaw, CEO of Pyramid Entertainment Barbados, the firm that produced the video, also issued a press statement saying that her company was paid US$15,000 (EC$40,000) and not EC$75,000.
Eustace will in Parliament on Thursday ask Caesar to explain what happened to the other EC$35,000.
“Could the Honourable Minister [of Tourism] please state to whom the other $35,000 was paid [and] for what purpose,” Eustace is slated to ask in Parliament, according to the Order Paper.
Eustace, speaking on the NDP’s radio programme on Nice Radio on Monday, said he was careful in the way he phrased his July 18 press statement, in which he also called on Beache to resign.
Beache and Caesar should “… 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 his press statement.
Beache in his statement said “… 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.”
Eustace on Monday noted that Beache did not say that the video cost EC$40,000 and not EC$70,000.
Meanwhile, opposition senator, Anesia Baptiste, will also in Parliament on Thursday ask questions about the video and the monies paid to produce it.
Baptiste will ask Caesar to tell Parliament if, according to Section 23 of the SVG Tourism Authority Act 2007, the then Board of Directors of the Tourism Authority “ever included in its annual business plan proposal for the financial year 2010, the use of the ‘Beast Let Go’ video as a promotional tool for the Tourism Authority”.
The former Ministry of Tourism employee will also ask if, in accordance with Section 24 of the Tourism Authority Act 2007, the then Board of Directors of the Tourism Authority ever approved and implemented the expenditure of EC$75,000.00 or $40,000.00 for the sponsorship of the same video.
She will also ask Caesar to tell lawmakers “whether the sponsorship of the video was implemented without the then Board of Directors’ knowledge and approval; and, whether the then Board of Directors were merely informed of the implementation after the fact”.