“If it doesn’t make money, it doesn’t make sense”, says Jason Zeddo.
The former manager of the now disbanded Fantasy Management Inc told Barbados TODAY in an exclusive interview today his company was facing over $250,000 in losses when it decided to throw in the towel on this year’s Grand Kadooment climax.
Yesterday Barbados TODAY reported that the popular band would not take part in the festival due to the recently implemented National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) and lack of sponsorship.
However, Zeddo explained today that he had also inherited a “damaged brand” from the former franchise owners, as well as an outstanding debt to masqueraders of almost $250,000, which affected this year’s costume sales.
“Anytime you owe customers money and you don’t pay them back, they will make you pay for it.
“So what happened is that we took over the band with the intention that this loan would have come from the [previous owners] to cover the masqueraders and that was one of the reasons for slow sales for costumes.
“What added to it, when we did the budget at the beginning of the campaign, we never thought the Government would have had this tax increase. And that then paint a different picture to us,” he added.
With the economy as it is and Barbadians not having as much money as before, he said the situation, when coupled with the internal problems that Fantasy experienced between 2015 and 2016, it amounted to “a double whammy” for the new owners.
“All I did was come in to save the band, myself and the investor. The difference between myself, the investor and the [former owners], they are passionate bandleaders, we deal with numbers and if the numbers don’t make sense and we are looking down the hole where we are going to lose $250,000 [so we felt it was best] to give back the masqueraders their money and don’t put the band on the road,” he explained.
However, he has pledged to honour the outstanding refunds to those who would have booked to jump with Fantasy this year.
“Last night Ticket Pal assured me that every single person who registered online have already been refunded. It would take about seven working days for it to reflect back on their credit card but the process has gone through. All masqueraders that paid have been refunded for 2017. The revellers that paid into the band house, by Tuesday or Wednesday they will be refunded as well.
“I’ve called everyone and they will come to the band house and will receive their refunds. We will pay all the service providers, the suppliers, everybody and we will pay back the masqueraders and we will close those account and that’s it,” he said.
As for the previous debt, Zeddo said, “that’s on Fantasy Barbados, which is owned by the [previous owners].
Fantasy Management Inc has now been dissolved and Zeddo has resigned.”
At the same time, he reiterated calls for Government to “step in and support the bandleaders”, warning that “otherwise the Crop Over as we know it will die and die a slow death”.