ROSEAU – Nigerian artiste, Flavour, has been axed out of appearing at the 18th edition of the World Creole Music Festival.
The announcement was made by prime minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, on Thursday afternoon.
This as the Ebola virus, which is causing havoc in some parts of Africa, has been causing concerns among Dominicans.
Skerrit said the decision was taken by his government, “out of and abundance of caution.”
The other band, Soukous Stars, will perform, according to the prime minister.
He noted that in selecting entertainers negotiations have to be done and contracts, which are legally binding, have to be made.
“The reversal and unlocking of the same is normally the matter for legal operatives,” he said. “However, the prime minister, as chief lawmaker, is charged with the wider responsibility of acting first and always in the nation’s interest.”
He stated that this year’s line up for the WCMF includes the group Flavour, with a total of four band members, coming from Nigeria. Reports indicate Nigeria had some cases of Ebola recently.
“Until a firm grip is secured on this Ebola virus, the world has to pay special attention to the region of its predominance,” he stated. “West Africa, as I said previously, is one such region. I have reviewed the file with respect to the contractual arrangements entered into with the Flavour band out of Nigeria. To date a total of EC$147,000 has been expended on professional fees and international travel by this group.”
Skerrit noted that this is a lot of money “but in my view it pales into insignificance when matched against the consequences of exposing the people of this region to the risk of the Ebola virus.”
“I would like to think that reason and commonsense can and will prevail,” he noted. “But I readily acknowledge that the law is law and contracts negotiated can at best be re-negotiated. Accordingly, purely out of an abundance of caution, I have today instructed the organizers of the 18 annual WCMF to meet with officials of the relevant legal departments of government to determine among themselves how a matter of renegotiation of a Flavour contract can be entered into.”
The prime minister said the other group, Soukous Stars, is not of concern to his government because members are based outside of Africa .
“Indeed its eight members are booked to travel from Paris, Montreal and New York,” he stated. “I am also informed that members of this band, Soukous Stars, have not travel within recent times to regions severely impacted by the Ebola virus. Given the heightened nature of screening in their country of residence, they can be characterized as low risk in the context of the emerging global threat of Ebola. That group therefore is not of special concern to me or my government in the context of the Ebola threat at this time.”
Skerrit described Flavour as a “talented band” which he would love to see in Dominica at some point.
“Indeed, I would love if, by this time next year, the Ebola virus could have been brought under control, if not eradicated; regions around the world cleared of the threat of the virus, and entertainers, such as Flavour, could visit and perform in Dominica. This indeed would be my wish for the outcome of the discussions that will be entered into,” he noted. “But, for the time being, I have advised the organizers of the World Creole Music Festival that the Government of Dominica would not be prepared at this time to sponsor or embrace the visit of persons from a universally recognized Zone One area of the dreaded Ebola virus.”
The prime minister said the decision is final.
“Fellow Dominicans and friends, this is the decision of the Government. It is final” he said.