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No performance fee will be paid to Bunny Wailer – PM Gonsalves

No performance fee will be paid to Bunny Wailer  – PM Gonsalves

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Bunny Wailer will not be paid a fee to perform at the opening ceremony of the Reparations Conference next weekend.{{more}}

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves told SEARCHLIGHT yesterday that while the airline tickets and hotel expenses of Wailer and his band will be taken care of by the reparations committee, no performance fees will be paid.

“We are paying for their passages, and for the hotel expenses, if they are not sponsored; the hotel accommodation may well be complimentary,” the Prime Minister said.

Gonsalves disclosed that the National Lotteries Authority (NLA) is making a contribution to the conference, and airline tickets for Wailer, whose real name is Neville O’Riley Livingston, and his band, will be paid from that contribution.

“If an international star wants to perform at the start of something which is a major public policy for free, what’s wrong with paying for their passages?” Gonsalves asked.

“I wasn’t even thinking about Bunny them performing, you know. Bunny has been writing to me some time, quite some time now, wanting to talk with me, since last year… he is interested in citizenship in St Vincent, talking to me; he likes the work we are doing with Africa.”

The Prime Minister explained that Wailer was one of several individuals and non-governmental organizations invited to attend the conference.

“… we invited them to come to the conference, but not to perform. We invited several people to come to the conference, NGO types…,” he said.

Wailer, however, responded, saying he would like to perform, in addition to making a presentation.

“What I am strongly suggesting is that I be involved and incorporated in the program as a performer and a presenter….” Wailer’s letter, dated September 4, to the Prime Minister said.

“As such, what I am proposing is that my appearance in a performance setting, where I would be accompanied by Nyahbinghi Drummers, preferably the Mystic Revelation Of Rastafari (8 member group), that would be the basis of the negotiations for the delegation’s attendance, wherein they would also double as part of the Nyanhbinghi Choir. We are simultaneously making contact with the Rastafari Community in St Vincent, for them to participate in this presentation, highlighting the regional fraternal links of our global community,” Wailer, 66, said in his letter.

The Grammy award winner also gave the names of five other members of the Rastafari Millennium Council, of which he is honorary chair, who would attend next week’s conference. He also proposed that two of those members, Sister Maxine Stowe, who is his personal manager, and Robert Mogg (Prophet Greg), the Council’s general secretary, should make presentations to the conference.

These people, however, will have to cover their own expenses, the Prime Minister told SEARCHLIGHT.

“Only the expenses of the performers will be taken care of by the conference,” he said.

Wailer will present a case study of himself as a Rastafari Nyahbinghi Elder and Reggae Practitioner/ Business Owner, “to highlight the necessity of Reparations in a contemporary context..,” next Monday, at the Methodist Church Hall in Kingstown.

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