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R-E-S-P-E-C-T, sing entertainers

If Santa Claus should come down the proverbial chimney in the homes where the country’s entertainers reside, they would wish he would deliver packages of fair and equal treatment and a little bit more respect.

After a year in which they confronted Government over newly imposed taxes and they suffered losses on their investments in fetes and Kadooment bands, promoters and entertainers are hoping for some respite.

However, they are not waiting on Father Christmas to deliver their desired wishes.

Chetwyn Stewart, president of the Barbados Association of Masqueraders (BAM), said they would push ahead with plans to form an organization to challenge the new changes to the Value Added Tax (VAT) legislation.

Chetwyn Stewart

Chetwyn Stewart

“We are still forming the group, we are currently meeting with lawyers now to see what the next move is,” he said.

As he has done in the past, Stewart again insisted that the promoters were never opposed to paying the VAT, but simply wanted to be treated fairly.   

“The problem was never paying VAT. We do not have a problem paying the VAT. It is that we pay VAT and COSCAP too, on the very little budgets we have. What we would like is a consultation before the laws are passed.

“There needs to be a greater appreciation for entertainers and entertainment. Persons need to be educated on what we do and how it affects the economy. What we want is a proper attitude towards promoters and all those in the entertainment industry by extension,” Stewart stressed.

COSCAP, the Copyright Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, is a non-profit entity which protects the performing and reproduction rights in music of composers, authors and publishers.

Promoter Tremayne Austin of Brewster’s Road Crew echoed Stewart’s sentiments, arguing that unless they were treated fairly, the entertainers’ entrepreneurial spirit would die. And he called on all the parties to work towards a single goal.

“For 2016 I want for us to go forward with one common goal. Next year, seeing that we are celebrating 50 years of Independence, I want for the Government, promoters and private entities to come together and work as one. When the tourists are coming in, let us give them one full package,” he said.

After many years of trying, William Classic Waithe finally captured the calypso crown this year. He told Barbados TODAY it was a great year for him. And his wish is for Barbadian music to create a greater impression globally.

“I think we need to find ways to make our music more impactful in the international scene. I think we have a lot to offer here in Barbados. We just need to figure out how to get everyone else to see it as we,” he said.

Former king Ian iWeb Webster, who celebrates his 32nd birthday today, said this year was an “interesting” one with its share of highs and lows. However, he already
has his eyes set on a more consistent year next year. (DB)

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