Media Owner pens open letter to PM

Media Owner and Event Promoter, Dwayne Mendes, has written an open letter to Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet,  asserting that the government should not be an event organizer.

Mendes  recalled that at a press conference recently Chastanet announced that an alarming sum of $14 million was spent on the 2016 Jazz and Arts Festival.

“The previous budget, as disclosed by the Director of the St. Lucia Tourist Board, was very different. In fact, the approved budget for the production of the world renowned event was less than half the previously mentioned amount: $6.5 million,” the open letter to the Prime Minister stated. 

According to Mendes, Chastanet also mentioned that when B.E.T. J was lost, the opportunity to market a world class TV show was also lost.

Television for the most part, including B.E.T, now has poor ratings and is struggling to stay relevant in this new world, Mendes asserted.

He  said that admittedly, B.E.T. is a bitter subject for many as it now seems that the country was being taken advantage of for years.

“ St. Lucia was naïve and the organizers at the time were oblivious to the value of the content in their possession. The nation spent millions producing and filming a high-quality event but exclusive rights to the content. B.E.T. got paid to produce, film, package, sell and re-sell did not belong to the country. It was win-win, profit situation for them,” the Media Owner and Event Promoter declared.

Mendes observed that no relationships were built, nor was any networking outside B.E.T. done, while directors at B.E.T. profited immensely from the situation.

He noted that after 25 years a lot has changed in the world but this is no reason to discontinue the festival.

“Even with social media and the internet, such content is still very valuable. St. Lucia can use these images to showcase itself as a destination to the world. The content from such an affair is still just as valuable as it was years ago,” Mendes asserted.

He said:

“ One cannot forget all the fringe activities which generated economic benefit to thousands of St. Lucians. The Jazz and Arts Festival allowed the month of May to be like the Christmas season all over again.”

Mendes expressed the view that the idea of having a series of Summer Festivals is fantastic.

But he felt that the government should depart from the business of producing events.

Mendes recalled that the current Prime Minister mentioned that he would spread the “$14 million dollars” from May to November and create a Summer Festival which would include Jazz, Carnival and Jounen Kweyol.

Mendes felt that many were not impressed.

He observed that in other countries and neighboring islands,governments support events with marketing, infrastructure and security, allowing local promoters the opportunity to produce high quality events.

Mendes stated that currently, the government produces Carnival and its events.

However he was of the opinion that Carnival is losing its appeal in acquiring sponsorship and its premier event, Soca Monarch, is poorly marketed and attended.

“The big Soca names are all dropping out. Their quick fix would be to increase the prize money, when artists are looking for a lot more than a minute amount of wealth from the event. The private parties and shows marketed by local promoters are what attract the thousands of people who come for Carnival,” he said.

The Media Owner declared that it  is a fact that any project managed by the government is bound to record increased costs.

“Government should not be the ones creating these festivals as it will cost taxpayers millions more to produce,”Mendes wrote in his open letter.

He said personal experiences have led to the conclusion that there is a high probability of legal compensation by artist managers, service providers and patrons to the government.

“There are several existing events and festivals throughout the year that can be supported, key word being supported, by government and be made into an attraction and marketed for tourism; the rest should be left to the professionals,”Mendes stated.


  1. Anonymous
    December 15, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    (The Jazz and Arts Festival allowed the month of May to be like the Christmas season all over again). So True – Wrong decision to discontinue the Jazz and Arts Festival. Government should revisit that decision. We can rebrand it – but to cancel it will be a total loss for many especially ordinary citizens who were benefiting from the event. WRONG MOVE IN MY OPINION

    1. Anonymous
      December 15, 2016 at 11:47 pm

      this jazz and arts has been a way for some to rip the st lucia tax payers and only a chosen few benefit from it and tax free. good job mr pm. those folks have been bleeding this country for years now and still feel the urge to do more. now hear them talk crap .

  2. herman
    December 15, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    Shut up!!!!!

  3. Anonymous
    December 15, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    Care must be taken to ensure that value associated with the name “St. Lucia Jazz Festival” is not cut down in one go by a rash decision to replace what can be reformed. Alot can be lost in saying to the world that we have no more St. Lucia Jazz Festival. As long as the plans don’t lose the association and reputation already built up by the brand, then an attempt at something new may not be a bad idea at all.

    Mr. Mendes also makes great points. Let event organizers organize events.

  4. Meng
    December 15, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    Somebody throat got cut so he crying. #leaches

  5. Sad-But-True
    December 15, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    Nice! Let him completely destroy this island. I hope you all suffer 🙂

    1. Earl
      December 15, 2016 at 6:36 pm

      Aren’t you a St. Lucian, don’t you have family and friends here? Why would you want people to suffer? Of what good is that? You don’t like the decision of the PM, fine, disagree with it, it is still a democracy after all, perhaps you can go one step further and disagree while providing an alternative. But to just make a vacuous and negative statement like that really benefits no one.

  6. Sandra G
    December 15, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    The cancelation of Jazz sends us 25 years backwards..
    I agree.. we should review marketing the entire event..
    But total cancelation. ? Wow..

  7. jim
    December 15, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    I guess you want to be part of the board to commit bobol all over…you have done enough.. chas dont need your advice…..go pay your staff members that you are under paying….

  8. st Lucian at heart
    December 15, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    You all st lucians refuse to make a positive contribution to any piece. We know that we are not properly schooled but stop acting stupid whenever someone opposes something the prime minister says. He is not talking about any other issue but the jazz festival being stopped.

  9. tete
    December 15, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    The question is “does the PM and his government believe that ordinary St. Lucians should not profit from tourism?” the PM in his stint as Minister of Tourism took away some of the activities that benefited the poor , eg. relocation the Opening of Jazz. How will we be able to get our new festival to have the reputation of the Jazz festival? lete not forget that the Jazz Festival was a marketing tool and was never envisaged as a profit making venture. It was to provide stimulus for tourist in the off season.

  10. Sad-But-True
    December 15, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    I am so happy to see how he is destroying this lovely island chunk by chunk. Lol. He will always have his father’s spoils to fall back on. Lol!
    What are you foolish Negroes going to do? Lmao!

  11. Solucian
    December 15, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Jazz stopped serving its purpose years ago, when the peak tourist season extended well past May. And tourists who are already on-island don’t even patronise the event. Mendes just wanna put his hat in the ring, but our memories are not that short, we know he is a small scale version of the BET parasites

  12. Dwayne M.
    December 15, 2016 at 9:38 pm

    My letter was not plotically motivated. I am an independent promoter with aspirations to grow my business. If government gets into the business of producing festivals my business will be affected. I and promoters like myself will be competing with government for sponsorship and patrons. Promoters have lots of challenges, this is an opportunity to speak about them. As I said in the letter I think a series of summer festivals is a fantastic idea. We have existing events if given support can become major unique festivals.

    1. Anonymous
      December 16, 2016 at 5:40 am

      so you looking at you Mr what about Lucia lots of you promoters and service providers have bled the country over that jazz festival i know that for a fact when you see the Hugh sums that is paid to the service providers, for stage, lights, sound ,transportation and the works
      some service providers make a years living on that one show

  13. John Williams
    December 15, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    Strong points by the writer. I can see a need for government quality control and direction…that’s all. Governments are not efficient, and ours need to contract the event to bidders. To change for change sake is silly. Sometimes it seems that the blind is leading the blind.

  14. Lincoln
    December 16, 2016 at 12:02 am

    Maybe Chas wants to go back to his brainchild idea “Boxing in Paradise “which was a total failure. We never knew how much money was lost in this debacle. Hope he learned from this experience….I highly doubt it.

  15. Everett
    December 16, 2016 at 3:23 am

    I am not from St Lucia but for the last five years I have faithfully attended the event and worked tirelessly to sell the event to others here in the United States.

    I understand the importance of the country being able to make a profit from the Jazz festival, but the twenty-five year existence and your business agreement BET went unknown to us.

    What I see is an opportunity for the country to make its own way by continuing the festival and allowing people like myself to assist you with the economic development of your country, simply by sharing the secret of the St Lucia Jazz Festival being the best place in the world to take someone who matters to you.

    That is my selling point, and in 2017 I hope the twenty people joining me for Jazz see what I see, and want to help this event grow.

  16. Anonymous
    December 16, 2016 at 3:59 am

    Who is this moron called sad-but-true? I dont think he is Lucian. He is just another racist idiot full of hate and bitterness, and we must stop taking his curses for our country as mere comments. May his wishes for this country be his own personal portion and his tougue sticks to the roof of his mouth.

    1. Sad-But-True
      December 16, 2016 at 4:41 am

      Son, I a born Black St. Lucian man. I am upset at the pillaging and disgusting contempt by an intellectually inferiority of an infantile of this pseudo government, given the mandate to be the watchman of this country. But have done nothing but lied and destroy. From the DSH deal to this mess. Every week it’s something sack that’s going on. I can’t support such ineptitude.

      1. Anonymous
        December 16, 2016 at 5:46 am

        sad but true seems like you have lost your daily bread with the lost of the elections you had 15 years to make a living 10 in one instace and 5 in the next you can rest now and keep your racist comments this will do you no good if you are a St.Lucian as you claim you will not wish bad for St.Lucians you are the sick one every thing about you smells rotten

      2. Give Jack his jacket and Jerry his jerrican
        December 16, 2016 at 11:15 am

        One can argue that all the good work of the first 10 years was undone by the 5 of the UWP administration in 2006 to 2011. So the reality is that they only had 5 years as most of the policies that they had established was changed when they came into power in 2011.

      3. Anonymous
        December 16, 2016 at 8:00 am

        Well you need to shut up now and allow the PM to do his “mess”. You and Kenny and company have had your turn. I have not heard anything intelligent from you. You read such a beautiful and meaningful piece from Mr. Mendes and that is all you can comment? More shame on you sad-and-false. I mean “but-true”

      4. Give Jack his jacket and Jerry his jerrican
        December 16, 2016 at 11:18 am

        Guys this needs to stop. We need to recognize right and wrong and say when something is wrong. The activities of the previous administration does not condone or legitimize any wrong actions by a present administration. We voted them out for the wrongs for heaven’s sake. So why condone it when it is our party in power. After all 2 wrongs never make a right and for evil to exist all that must happen is for good men to do nothing.

    2. Ambrose
      December 16, 2016 at 4:48 pm

      Jazz is no morey friend, so don’t expect a festival, when you visit with your 20 friends.

  17. Sad-But-True
    December 16, 2016 at 4:42 am

    I am a…

  18. Anonymous
    December 16, 2016 at 6:04 am

    Mendes recalled that the current Prime Minister mentioned that he would spread the “$14 million dollars” from May to November and create a Summer Festival which would include Jazz, Carnival and Jounen Kweyol
    Does that mean that the government will be producing the events are you taking infront so you can get a piece of the pie
    but good to know that you support the idea

    1. Ambrose
      December 16, 2016 at 4:50 pm

      What’s wrong with him pitching for work for his company. He did indicate he’s a promoter and he’s Saint Lucian.

  19. Anon1
    December 16, 2016 at 9:34 am

    Well said Dwayne I agree with most of your points.

    Its about time more youth like you and I speak out about the utter none sense some of our politicians and civil servants commit us too.

    I mean who was the negotiator of the BET deal, gave all our rights to BET!

    Well it shouldn’t be surprising it seems like all major contracts made in the last few decades put the St Lucians at a loss.

    The ignorance of some of people is clearly demonstrated in the comments. One person who choose to remain anonymous is asking “Sad but True” who he is HILARIOUS?

    SBT was called a racist, then SBT declared he his a black st lucian, someone eles still called him a racist lol lol lol

    Some of us just like to use the word racist and many other words without a clue as to they meaning.

    Am no fan of SBT but he does make some valid sometimes emphasis on sometimes.

  20. Lincoln
    December 16, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Totally agree Anon. Sometimes people need to be called out not for their ignorance…for they do not know any better…. but knowing and still not believing.

  21. Call elections
    December 16, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    chastenet cuts jazz but goes ahead with DSH project utter madness

    He’s clueless

    Call elections again

  22. Bryan
    December 17, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    How about a Sweet St.Lucia, I have been building this brand for years, now it’s time for the Sweet St.Lucia Festival. How about it?