On the eve of the annual jazz festival, Minority Councillor Faith BYisrael is calling on Tourism Secretary Nadine Stewart-Phillips to update Tobagonians on the progress of a reported court matter against international recording artist D’Angelo (Michael Eugene Archer) who was allegedly paid US$430,000 to perform at the 2017 Tobago Jazz Experience but failed to make an appearance.
Just days before D’Angelo was advertised to perform on April 28, 2017 at the World Music Night at the Pigeon Point Heritage Park, former head of the TJE committee John Arnold announced at a press conference that the artiste would not be performing at the festival because of the death of his grandfather.
Stewart-Phillips subsequently told a plenary of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) that the Assembly had taken legal action against D’Angelo to recover the money reportedly paid to him.
At a press conference at James Park on Tuesday, BYisrael questioned the secrecy and lack of details on the court matter.
“We are less than a week away from another jazz festival and we still haven’t gotten any of the money back. We know we keep saying it’s a court matter and because it’s a court matter they (THA) are unable comment… We know that even if you cannot comment on this matter they can still let Tobago know exactly where the case has been filed, which jurisdiction, who are the attorneys representing us, what exactly is the case they are bringing against D’Angelo and his agency, the dates of the hearing, what is the process of it actually happening and when exactly we should be expecting our money back in Tobago,” she said.
“We need to recover that US$430 000 which is almost TT$3 million, especially in this guava season where we keep complaining we don’t have money for essential development throughout the island,” she added.
The 2018 Jazz Festival, with a budget of $7.3 million, will take place this weekend, April 28-29, at Speyside and Pigeon Point respectively, with R&R singer and actress Fantasia, as the headline act.