Soca Monarch stars protest 5% cut in winnings

Fay-Ann Lyons-Alvarez

Fay-Ann Lyons-Alvarez

By Seeta Persad
Monday, March 23 2009

Five soca artistes, including Fay-Ann Lyons-Alvarez, her husband Ian ‘Bunji Garlin’ Alvarez, Lalchan Babwah (Hunter), Shurwayne Winchester and Nadia Batson are now discussing legal action against the Caribbean Prestige Foundation (CPF) for demanding five percent of their winnings at the 2009 International Soca Monarch competitions.

Fay-Ann, who won the Power Soca Monarch, Groovy Soca Monarch and People’s Choice prizes on Carnival Friday, last month, was presented at last Friday’s prize distribution ceremony, Cascadia Hotel, St Ann’s, with a letter stating she could not receive her money because she did not sign a contract agreeing to pay the five percent.

Her earnings this year are: Power Soca, $1,000,000 and a car; Groovy Soca, $150,000; People’s Choice, $50,000. Fay-Ann, Bunji Garlin, and Batson told Sunday Newsday yesterday they would not be signing any contract.

Fay-Ann’s manager Ian Pantin yesterday insisted soca artistes were not told about the contract when CPF began the preliminary round of the competition.

‘I believe that the papers should be signed way before the artistes mount the stage. I believe CPF should not allow the artistes to perform without signing the agreement. This way there can be no problem in the final analysis,’ he said.

Pantin said it was ‘ridiculous’ that winners were being asked to give back five percent of their prizes, especially since CPF boasted of profitable gate receipts every year.

Bunji Garlin again said he was baffled that CPF has been running the soca competition for 17 years and began asking artistes for a cut of their winnings for the past three years. ‘The prize moneys come directly from the Ministry of Culture, therefore it should not be subjected to any kinds of cuts,’ Bunji Garlin said.

Artistes, he said, spend more than $100,000 in preparation for the competition and felt CPF should have sought their views before the start of the competition.

‘It is unfair to the artiste who continues to produce good music through the years to be faced with this kind of situation,’ he said. He noted he received five percent less than his earnings in 2008 and he did nothing about it then, but he was not prepared to do so this year.

CPF executive president Gregory Fernandez again expressed surprise at the attitude of the soca artistes.

‘We have lobbied for the contestants to get a bigger prize package this year and we were hoping that they will agree with the contracts since it will draw a perfect balance for the smooth running of the show,’ Fernandez said. He said this year’s prize money amounted to $3.1 million and the CPF received $2 million from the ministry, and added that all artistes were invited to a meeting last August to voice their concerns. ‘The only concern was on the input of the foreign acts participating in the competition,’ he said. Fernandez pointed out artistes paid the five percent last year and he did not anticipate any objection this year, and pointed out that Iwer George paid his and got his cheque. George had told Sunday Newsday yesterday artistes should be grateful for the opportunities they got through CPF.

Minister in the Ministry of Culture, Junia Regrello, yesterday said his ministry writes the cheques according to the list given by CPF. He also said it is the right of the performer to seek legal advice on the prize arrangement.,97151.html

7 Responses to “Soca Monarch stars protest 5% cut in winnings”

  • ‘CPF betrayed soca artistes’

    … Fay-Ann chides Munro
    Ian Pantin, manager of soca artistes Bunji Garlin, Fay-Ann Lyons and Hunter, said yesterday that the performers felt betrayed and hoodwinked by the Caribbean Prestige Foundation, producer of the International Soca Monarch Competition.

    They did not get the anticipated cheques for their winnings from the 2009 edition of the competition.

    When they opened the envelopes presented to them on Friday night, the artistes saw letters from CPF signed by its executive president Gregory Fernandez.
    Full Article :

  • William Munro, chairman of CPF and Iwer George
    William Munro, chairman of CPF and Iwer George

    Soca fraternity in uproar over earnings
    Caribbean Prestige Foundation for the Performing Arts (CPF) is today holding the nation’s soca artistes who performed in its Carnival 2009 competitions to ransom, by withholding their cash prizes until they sign over a percentage to the organisation.

    Once again, no money for Fay-Ann
    Reigning Power Soca Monarch and Groovy Soca Monarch Queen, Fay-Ann Lyons-Alvarez has not received her winnings. Controversy has arisen with the awarding of prize money, this time not only to the winner but to those who placed in the competition.

  • Here is what: I always suspected that Super Blue and other artistes never got their prize-winnings as advertised. Knowing Super Blue’s condition of drug addiction at the time, William Munro may not have paid him the advertised prize money the six or seven times that he won. I am speculating here, and I could very well be wrong, but I always felt he gave Super Blue some money to tie him over before the shows and then arranged for him to collect a substantially smaller figure at prize-giving.

    It is quite possible that even Iwer made the deal to split the prize-money as a way of securing victory and boosting his standing. That is one way that his support of Munro and the CPF’s decision to take a percentage of Soca artistes’ prize-earnings could be explained. I do not believe that Munro would just let prize-winners go with those huge cash prizes. It was all too easy to set up.

    It is quite possible that the show is becoming more and more difficult to rig as they cannot keep picking the same winners over and over, especially when the public can clearly see other artists giving better performances. It is difficult to trust many artistes to be part of the fix — to split prize-money for victories — so Munro could be trying to establish another way to get a cut of the prize-money which is largely sponsored by the government.

    Some people are claiming that Pan Trinbago and TUCO take a percentage of the winnings from their shows. But firstly, the people who enter those shows know of this up front and choose to enter under that condition. And secondly, and more importantly, those bodies are like unions that represent artistes in their organizations, so the percentage cut is like a form of union dues (although I find that to be distasteful too).

    The artistes who disagree with the cut in their winnings should get legal advice and let the courts decide. The government also has to explain why it is investing so much money in these private business shows, especially as they appear to be making money.

  • I think that if there should be a 5% cut, there should be a contract read and signed before they enter the compitition, so it would of been up to the artists to enter or not and there would not of been any misunderstanding now… If they the artists knew about the 5% before then come on stand up and give up your 5%.

  • I think that people must learn to be truthfull and honest, if the artiste was not informed properly of the agreement and worse yet never signed an agreement, please by right give them their full amount of moneys. I think it’s greed on the part of the promoters, and also they must be think it’s to much money to give to one person(fay-ann), but she worked for it so give it to her and the others please. And act like professionals and exercise and plan properly.Trinidadians like to much after the fact laws

  • $oca squabble unresolved

    By Onika James
    Thursday, March 26 2009

    THE Caribbean Prestige Foundation (CPF) yesterday accused soca stars Ian “Bunji Garlin” Alvarez and his wife Fay-Ann Lyons-Alverez of “making inaccurate and disparaging comments about CPF, both locally and abroad.”

    In a media statement, CPF Executive President Gregory Fernandez said: “Following the prize-giving function on March 20, we had discussions with Fay-Ann Lyons-Alvarez and Ian Alvarez and we all decided to meet early this week, to resolve the matter.”

    However, he said, the couple chose to go the press with what he termed “inaccurate” and “disparaging” comments.

    Fernandez recalled that the contention arose when Lyons-Alvarez, who won both the Groovy and Soca Monarch titles learnt she would be required to pay five percent of her winnings for administration fees. She refused and deemed it “unfair”. Fernandez said the clause was part of a contract signed by 16 of the 23 artistes, before the show.

    Yesterday, he declared, “clauses containing these deductions were included in the 2008 and 2009 contracts. All artistes or their management were made aware, and given the contract on the day of the draw for positions at the finals.”

    Sixteen of the 23 artistes who participated signed, with another two who were abroad, confirming that they will sign. In 2008 these deductions were agreed to and paid from the artistes’ purse, including Ian Alvarez, and Fay-Ann Lyons-Alvarez,” he said.

    However, in an almost immediate response, Ian Pantin, the Alvarez’ manager expressed disgust at the situation. “This statement by Mr Fernandez is misleading and disingenuous to say the least. The problem is that it tells only half the story and everyone knows half the story is much more dangerous than a lie.” Pantin admitted his clients were presented with contracts containing the clause agreeing to the five percent deduction of prize money shortly before the show was to go on, and when they had basically given their verbal commitment to perform. We objected strongly to that kind of negotiating strategy and refused to sign the contract but, agreed orally to do the show on the originally agreed terms and conditions that did not include any deduction from prize money,” Pantin added.

    “Further,” Pantin stated, “while it is true we agreed to this type of deduction last year, we did so again after the fact, and on the oral understanding that this was a “one-off” deal, and that it would never happen again. Frankly, we feel used and abused.”

    Pantin confirmed that his clients and the CPF will meet today, to once again try and “iron out the situation”.,97338.html

  • I think that cpf should give the singers their money because they worked hard ror their money expicaly mrs.fay-ann lyons alvares

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