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Apr 20, 2018

How to Spend 130 Thousand Dollars on a “Free” Concert

Back in February, the Belize City Council, then controlled by the United Democratic Party, hosted a free concert at the B.T.L. Park marking the anniversary of its remodeling. The event boasted appearances from international artists Baby Cham and Ce’cile and Belizean heavyweights Supa G and Ernestine Carballo among many others. But as you must have figured out by now, there is no such thing as a free lunch. News Five has been provided the figures for what the Council actually spent in promoting and organizing the “free” concert and it adds up to over one hundred and thirty thousand dollars. But while the artists got their due, sort of, quite a few Council employees past and present got in on the act too. News Five’s Aaron Humes breaks down the numbers.

 

Shane Williams

Shane Williams, PR Manager, Belize City Council [File: February 9th, 2018]

“The B.T.L. Park is symbolic for the Belize City Council because it represents what we want in the City. This is a partnership between the public sector, private sector, residents and all the community organizers involved. So, the B.T.L. Park anniversary is not a celebration of the park itself but the symbolism of what the park represents. If we can get every other service of the City Council to operate how B.T.L. Park is operating with that type of partnership, we will have a much better City and that is what we celebrate every year at B.T.L. Park.  From six to eight is for the children and after eight you will have the longest fireworks show you have ever seen and from nine the adults show starts with a lineup of the start studded entertainers. We have Supa G, NXT, TY, Marlyn Vansen, Ernestine, NXG dancers, Chanelle Parks, Nello Player, and at the end of the night, we will have Baby Cham and Cecile.   We have the GSU and we have over fifty other police officers other than the GSU Unit and we have twenty other special constables from the Belize City Council. So, it is a safe event. For the children, we will have Jael August, the characters, Ozzy the Clown, free ice cream which the children will enjoy and after eight we will start the fireworks show and that is the signal that it is time for the children to go and the adults to step in. It is free, so first come and first serve. The first amount of children will get their ice-cream and then after that the time has passed. If you come first you get to go in front of the stage and there is no VIP section here.”

 

Aaron Humes, Reporting

Hundreds of Belize City residents converged on B.T.L. Park on February tenth, for an evening of entertainment filled with live performances by a host of musical talents, including Jamaican Reggae/Dancehall artists Baby Cham and Ce’cile.  The pair was flown in for the annual celebration of that recreational space being opened to the public.  After the fact, it turns out that somebody had to pay for the “free” concert organized by City Hall in the dying days of its fourth term in office. And that somebody is the City’s taxpayers, to the tune of one hundred and thirty-three thousand dollars. Billed as free of cost to all in attendance, the Belize City Council, led by former Mayor Darrell Bradley, spared no expense in organizing the concert. As part of an ongoing financial review being undertaken, this spreadsheet of expenses details the bills and payments to the various persons involved in the making of the concert. The promoter for the featured artists, Baby Cham and Cecile, one Opal Richards, was paid more than twenty thousand dollars. But the Belizean artists were paid about half of that between them, with Supa G – billed under his full name Lensford Martinez – getting the most at fifteen hundred dollars. Two City Council employees – presently suspended City Administrator Candice Miller and public relations officer Michelle Smith – handled the payments for various expenses for the concert, and Smith along with three other employees of the Council got honoraria for their participation, including Shane Williams. And that’s not including Kenny Morgan who acted as M.C. All told the Council paid out a little over one hundred and thirty-two thousand dollars, leaving a balance of one hundred and twenty-five dollars. Money well spent? You decide. Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

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1 Response for “How to Spend 130 Thousand Dollars on a “Free” Concert”

  1. Kriol Chicken says:

    Is every single thing in Belize corrupt? It sure seems so…

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