One of the hosts of a radio morning show has resigned amidst questions about EC$25,000 given to him to order toys for the station’s Christmas promotion.
Further, the station, Xtreme FM, has been forced to cancel the promotion and put its business relationship with its sponsors at risk after the saga, which involved the radio personality, Adaiah “Provie” Providence-Culzac, who is also manager of The Textile Outlet Ltd.
Providence-Culzac has resigned from Xtreme FM, citing “my persistent health concerns, pressing demands of my business and an increase in external variables that are affecting my work performance”. However, the station is still no closer to knowing how it will be refunded the EC$25,595.91 given to him, or the whereabouts of the toys.
Davon “Bassic” Cato, managing director of Excel Media, owners of Xtreme FM, told iWitness on Monday that on Nov. 11, 2016 the station gave Providence-Culzac EC$15,000 to order toys for two toy drives scheduled for Dec. 11 and 17, 2016.
Providence-Culzac, who studied international economy and trade at Zhejiang University in China, would give the company documentation suggesting that an order for the toys were place with a company based in China.
Xtreme FM gave him a further EC$6792.25 for shipping and were assured by Providence-Culzac that the toys would have arrived in St. Vincent within seven days.
On the expected arrival date, Providence-Culzac informed Xtreme FM that a further EC$14,239.27 was needed.
In light of the non-arrival of the toys, in a meeting with Marc Richardson and Cato, the director of Excell Media, on the Dec. 6, Priovidence-Culzac was told that the toys should be shipped to Amerijet in Miami before Dec. 12, where arrangements were made to have them sent to St. Vincent on Dec. 13 or 14, allowing for enough time for the second event.
Xtreme paid Providence-Culzac an additional EC$$3,803.6 to have the goods delivered to Amerijet Miami, however, this was not done and the toys are yet to arrive in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
Cato told iWitness News that Providence-Culzac repeatedly told him that everything was in order for the toy drive, which was expected to bring Christmas cheer to 6,000 children in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Cato told iWitness News that two days before the shipment was supposed to arrive he kept asking Providence-Culzac if everything was in order and he said they were.
However, the day before the shipment was supposed to arrive in St. Vincent, Providence messaged Cato to say he needed US$5,241 more to pay for shipping.
“I said, ‘But how can you message me and tell me about shipping when we already had that discussion about shipping and you told me the stuff on the way?’” Cato recounted to iWitness News.
He said Providence-Culzac then told him he could not have done anything about the situation because the suppliers — supposedly based in China — were not sending that toys because they did not have a shipping arrangement.
“I told him that is not my responsibility and if I don’t get the stuff I want back the money because that was not in the arrangement initially.”
Cato said he asked Providence-Culzac how could anyone underestimate a value of something by more than US$5,000.
“I don’t even make those mistakes and I don’t work in the shipping business,” Cato said, adding that in any event people would over-estimate the cost.
He said he spoke to his business partner Marc Richardson and they had a meeting with Providence-Culzac who “apparently” called the shipper in their presence and was speaking to them in Chinese.
“He spoke a little English because I told him you are talking to the man in Chinese that doesn’t mean anything to me because if don’t understand that is going on. They spoke English for a little while. Basically, the man told it is his fault because he asked one of his workers to wait and he thought he had waited and the man didn’t wait and one set of stupidness,” Cato said.
Cato said that in spite of all this, they decided that the toy drive must take place and they must try to find a solution to the problem.
Richardson told Providence-Culzac to use his account with Amerijet and he would arrange for the toys to be shipped to St. Vincent through Miami.
But it was after this offer that Cato would come to realise that “something was fishy”.
Providence-Culzac agreed in the meeting to use the Amerijet solution.
“We left the meeting, everybody was good, because we had an understanding that he would send the stuff through Amerijet, we would get the stuff from Amerijet and we would deal with the cost after; because we had an account, we could take our time and pay it, because as long as we get the toys, that is the most important thing,” Cato told iWitness News.
Providence-Culzac left the meeting and said he was going to talk to agents for Amerijet to get the broker to organise the shipping.
However, the day that the Amerijet was supposed to arrive, Cato called Providence-Culzac and asked him about how they would get the documentation for the shipment.
Providence-Culzac then said he didn’t use Amerijet, he used Coreas, and therefore, the toys would arrive in St. Vincent the following day.
“I said but this is strange. Why would you want to pay a shipper if we just gave you a free shipment, especially something of that weight — over 400 kilogrammes.”
Cato said he called someone at Coreas who said no shipping arrangement had been made in the name of Cato, Richardson, Providence, Xtreme FM, or Energy Network’s name.
At that time it was past 4 p.m. and the Coreas worker said she would follow up the next day, having checked with the warehouse in Miami.
The worker called Cato the following day and said that Providence-Culzac had come there about two months earlier to collect some trophies that he had imported.
“So, if you had contacted her to make a booking like that (the shipment of the toys), she must remember that,” Cato reasoned.
He said the Coreas workers further told him that Providence-Culzac had called the day before to ask what time the flight arrives and she told him the time, but he never made any booking.
Providence-Culzac emailed Cato last week Thursday, Dec. 15, submitting his resignation and a letter of apology.
The email also contained “a final order update”, which said that the order will arrive in St. Vincent no later than Dec. 20 and that they documents could be collected at “Island Bargain/Coreas Hazells” in the name “Mark Richardson”.
Providence-Culzac also provided the name and cell phone number of a contact at “Island Bargain/Coreas Hazells”
Cato told iWitness News that he called the number and a young lady said that her company had no record of an arrangement made by Providence-Culzac, adding that she had also checked the company’s warehouse in Miami and had nothing there.
But notwithstanding PProvidenceCulzac’s promises, the toys are yet to be delivered to Xtreme FM and Cato lamented that a number of big companies in SVG were sponsors of the promotion and many children might be without toys with Christmas as a result of the situation.
“Up to now, he is not being very forthcoming with the information,” Cato told iWitness News of Providence-Culzac.
“I am going to deal with him legally. This is not something that we can allow to go down. People’s money is involved,” Cato said.
Providence-Culzac was very reticent when iWitness News contacted him Sunday night about the development.
He said he knew of the Christmas promotion but wished “not to say at this stage” what was his involvement in it.