Popular local band Triple Kay Global has threatened to take legal action against the Sun newspaper for an article posted in its December 20, 2010 issue entitled “VAT goes after Triple Kay”.
The article, written by Carlisle Jno Baptiste, was said to be inaccurate in stating that the band has never paid a cent in Value Added Tax (VAT) since VAT was introduced.
Sun editor Charles James has declined to comment.
Booking agent and manager of the band, Emile Depooter, told reporters in an interview that Triple Kay, though presently in arrears, has paid over $70,000 in VAT from 2006.
“In terms of the band owing VAT, yes, the band owes vat and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that because the band is not immune to taxes,[we are] like anybody else-like any other company in Dominica,” he said.
“Everybody owes taxes at some point or the other and you make arrangements for you to make your payments. That is where I think the problem arose. According to the Sun Newspaper, first of all I am very disappointed in that because I had a very nice and cordial discussion with Mr. Carlisle Jno Baptiste and we spoke at length about the situation with the band owing VAT… but the story says that Triple Kay has never paid a cent… I can confirm to you right now that Triple Kay from since 2006 has paid well over$70,000 in VAT since the band has started,” he said.
He further stated, “ The band has always been compliant from since that started. Triple Kay has been the only band in Dominica to meet the threshold and it’s the only band up to today that pays VAT right now in Dominica. So that must mean something.”
Depooter said the band was owing $27,000, but a large part of that sum has already been settled. The necessary arrangements have been made to pay the rest of that sum, he said.
“That amount has been significantly reduced and by February that amount will be paid off and then we will be back to normal,” he said.
Depooter deemed the newspaper article “sensational and erroneous”.
“The decision of the band right now is that they are going to seek legal action because the story is totally erroneous, and to retract the story or come out and say I’m sorry after the damage has already been done because that is a very damaging story to the band. And it looks like [lets ride on Triple Kay’s back and see how we can bring down Triple Kay], you know,” Depooter said.
“Triple Kay is not just a name, it’s a group of guys who like to entertain and that sort of thing and they have been doing a good job about it and the reason why Triple Kay is paying VAT and reaching the threshold for VAT is because …that is just a fact to prove that by far they are the most popular…” he said.
He further stated, “It’s unfortunate that that story had to come out like that but we have no problem paying our taxes.”
Depooter claims that what he said in the interview with Jno Baptiste was written out of context.
“When I read the story if I didn’t know myself I would say Emile come out harsh in that story there and so on, but that wasn’t the way our conversation went and so on. Yes, I am concerned about VAT on entertainment and different things like that and so on…why VAT on entertainment? Why VAT on the World Creole Music Festival and that sort of thing when that money could go back into Carnival…but then that is a decision that the people in authority would have to make,” he stated.
He explained that Triple Kay band is a business and is not operating out of hobby.
“For Triple Kay, they not doing it as a hobby, that is their profession. That’s the only job that Benji does, that’s the only job that Froggy does, that’s the only job that Kimanie does and so on. There may be two or three members of the band who have other jobs besides the band,” he said.
He stated that though it would help if the band was not paying VAT , he reiterated that the band has no problems paying VAT.
Band leader Kendel Laurent also told reporters that he was disappointed with the story.
“We have been paying our dues like every other business in Dominica and we continue to do it,” he said.
He took the opportunity to clear the air on an issue which surfaced some time ago as it relates to his membership in the band. Laurent, a founding member of the 10-year-group, had confirmed to Dominica News Online that he had handed in his resignation to the band some time ago.
“When we Triple Kay had our little dispute, again, that wasn’t something that was supposed to be on road. That was something that the band could deal with internally. ..I was the leader of the band, I am still the leader of the band, we’re now ironing out our little problems – like every relationship have problems,” he stated.
Triple Kay thanked supporters for making the band such a “popular force to reckon with” that they can meet the threshold to pay VAT.
The band plans to launch its seventh album during the 2011 Carnival season.
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