Castries, St. Lucia – September 7 th , 2016 – I have served on the board
representing HMS (Hewanorra Musical Society) presently ECCO (Eastern
Caribbean Copyright Organisation for Music Rights) for over ten years. I also
worked as a sales executive for the organization for over 5 years.
At a meeting in April 2016 (I was present) the board took a decision to increase
the salaries of administrative staff members by 2% rather than 5% which was
proposed. The argument was that ECCO could not afford more than that
percentage of increases at that time.
On July 21 st , 2016 despite the absence of 4 Directors including myself, a Publisher
Director, a board meeting was held. High on the agenda was the increase of salary
for the General Manager and also the change of title from General Manager to
Chief Executive Officer. Previous to the meeting numerous attempts had been
made to have Finance Committee meetings, which I was a part of, to bring these
issues to the fore, but they never materialized for one reason or another.
At this same ECCO Board meeting, on 21 st July 2016, present were ECCO Directors,
3 St Lucian Directors and 3 Island Directors, voted unanimously to approve a 26%
salary increase for the General Manager retroactive to January 2016. The board
also changed the title of the General Manager position to Chief Executive Officer.
This decision was taken at the last meeting of the ECCO board before the Annual
General meeting to be held on 10 th September 2016.
This increase in salary has to be taken in context to the benefits of ECCO
members. The only benefits to an ECCO member is once a year is an annual
royalty payment. In 2015 ECCO Saint Lucia members received an EC$62,000
payout of which 164 members shared in that payout. In the payout 109 members
received more than EC$50.00, while 55 members received less than EC$50.00 and
over 100 members received $ 0.00. ECCO Saint Lucia has over 300 members. In
context the annual increase in salary for the General Manager resulted in more
than 30% of the 2015 annual payout for our 164 Saint Lucian members.
The other issue which I have had is the conflict of interest which is prevalent, in
relation to the current Chairman of the Board of ECCO and who also works for
ECCO as the Agent in Dominica. As a result he is supervised by the General
Manager (now CEO) and the CEO also takes directives from the Chairman of the
Our ECCO Chairman McCarthy Marie once said to me “the success of the society
can only be measured by the benefits our members receive.” I am in full
agreement of this statement. In my personal opinion I do not see the benefit to
the membership but only to the hierarchy of the Administration of ECCO. On this
basis I resigned as a director on August 4 th , 2016.
I was asked to serve by ECCO members in the past as a Director and will do so if
asked to serve in the future.