Buju Banton came, he sang, he conquered.
Now there is a war brewing over a decision by the promoter, Sunshine Promotions (SSP) to attach an accreditation processing fee for members of the media who applied for access to attend the Grenada leg of his tour titled, “Long Walk To Freedom”.
The show, which was well attended, with patrons flying in from as far as North America for the performance, took place at the Grenada National Stadium on May 11.
Certain sections of the local media are bitterly complaining at the action by the local promoters to pass on what is said to have been part of the cost incurred to create specially designed media badges.
According to sources inside the SSP camp, there was a fee of $75.00, per media house, but members of the media who did not attend the show have taken offense to this, upset at the idea that media was required to pay any money to cover the event.
Eighteen persons were accredited, including regional and international media.
Among those opting to pay the fee for access to coverage were President of the Media Workers Association of Grenada (MWAG), Shere Ann Noel, who manages a small online media outfit and is a producer at the Government Information Service.
Former Vice President of the Association, Mikey Hutchinson of Mikey Live as well as WPG10, a television station owned by Hamlet Mark, and Junior George of Ride Along Live also paid the fee to receive passes to enter the media box.
THE NEW TODAY understands that the promoter decided to pass on twenty five percent of the cost for designing and printing the media passes, the specifications of which were dictated by Buju Banton’s management team.
A source said the media houses which signed on to pay the “accreditation processing fee” had no problem doing so.
It is not normal practice for journalists in particular, to pay a fee in order to get access to cover a news event.
SSP sources claim that they had no choice but to have media cover part of the cost because the conditions for accreditation were made available less than a week before the show, after budgets had been set and sponsors secured to cover various costs.
The source said the business Rider between the artiste and SSP did not contain stipulations for media accreditation and had it been known earlier then that cost would have been included in the budget.
SSP is owned by local businessman Ian St Bernard, widely known as Judah.
The management team for the Jamaican artiste is said to have insisted that the media pass be standardised in keeping with those issued on other legs of the regional tour, to contain artiste and tour branding.
The source said while they had created badges beforehand, these had to be put on hold while they waited for the specifications to come from the artiste and that was delayed for weeks.
Media at the event were also asked to sign a document giving up all claims to any and all photos, audio and videos captured.
They were told that refusal to sign would result in removal from the media access area after Buju’s third song on stage.
The media is said to have stood their ground, refusing to sign but the threat of removal was not followed on.
Insiders with SSP said they are unbothered by the confusion over the accreditation fee and are now focused on their next big event, scheduled for the carnival season.