Owner of Judah Sound System and Sunshine Promotions, Ian “Judah” St. Bernard has said that the state-controlled Spicemas Corporation owes him over $250, 000.00 for services provided.
Addressing members of the media at a press conference held at Venus Night Club last week Friday, St. Bernard revealed that SMC owes him ‘a very huge sum of money” and has not been making payments to him.
“Judah” broke his silence following complaints that SMC allowed him to host a private show at the national stadium on Panorama night that left a sour taste in the mouths of panmen.
The promoter placed the money owed to him as being in the region of over $300,000 for services he rendered last year and a contract for Spicemas 2016.
He spoke of putting forward a proposal to SMC to allow him to use the stadium on Carnival Saturday Night and “if they give me the permission I will grant them a certain amount of money, and upfront things that we can use for the night”.
The Judah Sound System Owner said he kept his side of the bargain by having $30,000 for use of the venue deducted from the sum of money owed to him by SMC.
The Queen Show was the only event that was not part of the 2016 contract signed between the corporation and Judah Sound System.
St. Bernard charged that up to the time of hosting the press briefing he had not received a dollar from SMC, but said he is not at this moment contemplating taking legal action against the outfit to recover the money.
“They (SMC) are still owing me over $55,000 from last year, and not one cent (has been paid) for this year,” he said.
According to St. Bernard, he invested over $100,000 to assist with Spicemas this year and shortly after Carnival he submitted his invoice to SMC for payment and followed it up with a phone call.
“I spoke to the Manager, Mr. Kirk Seetahal, I asked when am I going to get some money and his answer was that when I see money I will pay,” said Judah.
“SMC is boasting that they paid out over $1M, and I haven’t received one cent,” he added.
St. Bernard told reporters about an engagement he had with SMC Chairperson, Jocelyn Sylvester-Gairy who informed him that the Grenada National Lottery Authority (GNLA) owes them some money and when it is received they will pay him.
The local promoter believes government needs to pump more money into Carnival and accused the administration of taking in more than $40M in revenue within July and August.
Judah also used the press briefing to shed some light on the background to the hosting of his show – “Xtreme White” at the stadium on Panorama night.
Over the years, there have been two private shows – “White In The Moonlight,” and “Pure White” – taking place on Panorama Night.
However, with “Pure White” being the only show this year, the promoter of Xtreme White felt that there was need to have another private show for St. George’s.
Judah said permission was sought and granted from SMC for the show at the stadium during a meeting held two months before Carnival.
“I had a meeting with SMC, and we sit at the table and we had a discussion with some Executive Members… Permission was granted to me to do the show,” he remarked.
St. Bernard spoke of Seetahal being present at the meeting, along with Adam Andall who is a Board Member of the National Lotteries Authority, the main sponsor of Panorama.
The promoter told members of the media SMC had no intention to have Panorama at the stadium this year and was informed during the meeting that Tanteen was selected as the venue.
He said that at another meeting he was informed that the Grenada Steel Band Association (GSA) had rejected the venue, and a document was later presented to him by SMC with Panorama to be held in front of the Junior Murray/Rawle Lewis Stand.
However, Judah said that one day before the holding of the Junior Panorama he received a call from the CEO of the Grenada Cultural Organisation, Thomas Matthew informing him that the $25, 000.00 platform to host bands for the Junior Panorama Championship was not done, and wanted permission to use his stage.
According to St. Bernard, he had security concerns and permitted the bands to go on stage without the use of chaises as part of the conditions.
He said the same arrangement was made for the senior championship on Panorama night.
The Xtreme White Promoter also explained the controversy that developed over the time for Panorama to start in order to facilitate his show.
He suggested to SMC a start time of 5:00 p.m. for Panorama, which he said was not approved by GSA, which agreed in the end that the event should start at 6:00 p.m. and finish by 10:00 p.m.
“I was given a letter from the Spicemas Corporation stating that Panorama would start at 6 and finish at 10,” he said.
However, the promoter indicated that the SMC letter did not state the start time for his show, which he had scheduled for 12:30 a.m. on August 7th.
St. Bernard dismissed claims from the panmen that when they arrived at the stadium, ahead of the 6:00 p.m. start sound checks were being done for the Xtreme White show.
“That’s not true. The pan men were outside the venue, no pan side was inside the venue… Yes, at quarter to six there was still sound check, but not music playing… As soon as the gate opened and the first pan rolled in, those guys stopped (the sound checks) . I make sure that we would start the thing on time,” he said.
The private promoter pointed out that when the first steel band got on stage the judges were not in place, and he consulted Royden Beharry who was SMC Production Manager about the absence of the judges.
“The delay of the pan side was not to do with sound check,” he said.
Nine steel bands participated in the 2016 Panorama Championship.
With regards to patrons of Panorama being hustled out of the stadium, St. Bernard said the arrangement he had with SMC was for the security including the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) to clear the venue after Panorama for his show.
Judah vowed never to team up again to host an event at Carnival.
“When I‘m doing an event, I am looking to make money, I’m not looking to loose money,” he quipped.