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UAB May Boycot Crop Over

August 10, 2007

IF the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) does not address certain “matters of contention” with United Artistes of Barbados (UAB), the trade union representing artistes, it could lead to a “disruption” of Crop-Over 2007.

The matters that concern the union, as outlined in the letter, are:

* The NCF’s rules 11 (O) for Pic-O-De-Crop and 9 (Q) in Party Monarch, which prohibit competitors from having sponsors with “products or services” which clash with those of the competition’s sponsors.

* The NCF’s proposal that an increase in prize monies be “entirely dependent on a return to profitability
of its respective competitions”.

* Rules 9 (R) for Party Monarch and 11(P) for Pic-O-De-Crop, which state that individuals under the age of 16 “shall not be allowed to accompany a calypsonian backstage at the semifinals or finals of the competition”.

* The NCF’s refusal of the request for refreshment for dancers who appear on stage with competitors.

NCF’s corporate communications specialist Penny Gomez, in her response yesterday, noted that the prohibition
of competitors with sponsorship that clashed with that of the producers was “standard international practice”.

“Some sponsors sign multi-year agreements with us,” she said. “We let people know who the sponsors are before the competition. Once we have signed off with them, we have a responsibility
to let the competitors know. We reinforce it in meetings with them, then put it in the rules. It is up to the artistes what will take precedence. It’s a call artistes will have to make.”

On the question of an increase
in prize monies, Gomez said: “We cannot offer what we do not have.”

The restriction on Under-16s backstage, she added, was “to protect minors”. She noted: “We don’t want anyone preying on them. The restriction came out of an incident which could have been a health hazard.”

The NCF officer noted that dancers get “juice and water”, saying any reference to refreshments would have
to mean food.

“We know the fixed number of performers but people can have a range of performers on stage. At the end
of the day, there is a cost,” she noted.

She stressed, however: “There is food and drink there for the artistes. Everything is there – tea, coffee, juice, water – in abundant supply.”

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