The St. Vincent Brewery Ltd. has defended the finals of its Hairoun Hai Life Promotion amidst some criticisms that it was “abusive” and “slavery”.
The finals of the competition saw 11 persons holding on to a Mazda RX-8 for 24 hours, hoping to win the vehicle.
There were 20 finalists but nine had dropped out before the 24 hours elapsed at Heritage Square on Saturday.
Since more than one person was still holding on to the car at the end of the 24 hours, they had to draw keys in a lucky draw and Chester Cottage resident, Carlisle Burke picked the key that opened the door to the car and won the EC$67,000 vehicle.
But some spectators said that the fact that the finalists had to continuously hold on to the car with one hand for such a long period of time, while standing and with no shelter from the elements was “abusive”.
Others said it was “slavery”.
In addition to the heat of the day, the contestants had to also endure a brief, light shower shortly before the competition ended Saturday morning.
However, Lamont Medica, marketing coordinator at the Brewery said the competition knew the rules and had a choice.
“I wouldn’t say it was abusive because everyone had a choice,” he told I-Witness News on Saturday shortly after the competition ended.
“You (participants) were told exactly what you were participating in and you chose whether or not you wanted to participate. We had 20 contestants; none of them complained.
“Funny enough, the only persons that said that were not participating, to actually hold on.
“… So it had nothing to do with slavery,” he further said.
During the competition, the Brewery had a medical team and an ambulance on standby.
Medica noted that during such events, people’s stress levels could increase.
Medica said the promotion was successful.
“This place was ram packed yesterday, Friday, and this morning, with people coming out to show their support for the various participants,” Medica told I-Witness News.
The participation from consumers throughout SVG was “great”, he further said.
He said someone dropped out of the competition two hours after it began and others dropped out along the way because their hand got tired.