In the last few weeks since sending out a Press Release to the media titled “ECCO Director Resignation In Protest” I have been verbally attacked by the CEO of ECCO (Eastern Caribbean Copyright Organization), to the extent that I have been accused of being a failure amongst other things. I felt that I should clarify and highlight some of the meaningful contributions that I have made to ECCO, formerly HMS (Hewanorra Musical Society) over the years. I am setting the record straight.
I served on the board of HMS from 2001 to 2004, being the Vice-Chairman from 2002. Whilst on the board, I was asked to assist with the licensing process. I worked part-time and assisted the General Manager, my supervisor. I was successful at that time as I was committed to the concept that “if you play, you must pay”.
This was at the early stages of the initiation of licensing where there was a very hostile environment as persons or establishments resisted the implementation of this new legal system.
In 2004 I was offered the position of Sales Executive as an employee of HMS but had to resign from the board to undertake the position. It was a natural process for me as by this time I had increased knowledge and experience in the areas of licensing and I had become well known in the music and entertainment industry. I was successful in the licensing of events and local premises. At that time I was also managing artistes and assisting HMS members. I was, then, the bridge between the members and the society.
Based on my success in Saint Lucia I was approached by Performing Rights Society director Diana Derrick to assist her in the licensing of the St Kitts Music Festival. She briefed me on her two-year challenge of licensing the festival which I attended, soon understanding why Ms. Derrick had those stumbling blocks in St Kitts. It was a difficult assignment as I initially was treated as a foreigner coming to take the festival’s money. Nevertheless I persevered. I was determined to at least get a commitment to license the festival from the Festival Director before I left St Kitts, which I achieved after a few months. A year later the license was paid. Since 2006 the St Kitts Music Festival license has been renewed and today this license has become a staple in ECCO’s armory of events.
I continued my role as a music publisher and manager of artistes. in 2010 I was elected as a member of the board of ECCO, as a director, and my opinions and views were highly regarded by colleagues and ECCO management.
I was given assignments to Antigua in 2013 and to Grenada in 2014, licensing over EC$20,000 for events in the latter. I valued my time in Grenada as it opened my mind to the various strategies that could be used in the licensing process.
I have always stood firm in the belief that ECCO should be fair and serve the best interests of the members and, as a result, I resigned as Director in protest of decisions made at an ECCO Board meeting on July 21, 2016. Those decisions, in my opinion, were not in the best interests of members but were in the interests of the hierarchy of the Administration of ECCO.
Over the last few years I have seen the disconnect between the management of ECCO and the membership which has led to a substantial divide between the two and has been one of the major issues that have caused a breakdown in communication.
I served on the board of ECCO from 2010 to 2016 and I guess I was dishonourably discharged (by ECCO management) when I resigned in protest!
In light of my aforementioned resumé, i am setting the record straight. I am undoubtedly one of the most experienced persons in the OECS in terms of the licensing and sales process for the use of music in the Eastern Caribbean. I am not a failure!