The Dominica Festivals Committee (DFC) has cut all ties with Val Cuffy and has informed him that with immediate effect he is no longer its Festival and Events Manager.
DNO understands that he was informed of the decision on Thursday.
The new development follows Cuffy’s resignation submitted to the DFC earlier in the week which, according to reports, would take effect at the end of February.
In a no holds barred interview with state-owned DBS Radio, Cuffy gave two reasons for resigning from the organization, which he said was based “on principle and my conscience after several attempts to try and do things properly.”
The first had to do with the DFC’s decision not to allow eight-time calypso monarch, Dice, to perform at the Carnival Street Festival, which formally launched carnival activities in Dominica, last week.
Cuffy clearly opposed the decision, although he explained that in keeping with the contractual arrangements of his job, he signed the letter informing Dice of the DFC’s decision.
He said that he made the decision for Dice to perform at the function with his team based on its value to the Carnival product.
“I think the banning of Dice from singing on the Bayfront was really a much to do about nothing,” he said.
Cuffy stated that Dice’s song “Lootahs” has gained prominence from the saga and he told the CEO of the DDA (Colin Piper) that he should tell whoever gave him the instruction to give to him (Cuffy), that Dice should have stayed on the program.
“I am a calypsonian, I am a businessman, so I think I am uniquely placed to understand both sides of the coin,” he said.
Cuffy told DBS the other incident that prompted his resignation involved the Chairman of the DDA, Benoit Bardouille, who he said became angry because he was not invited to the Carnival Street Festival.
Businessman and calypsonian Cuffy explained that no invitations were sent out to VIPs because it was a “low key carnival launch.”
“It was not an important function,” he explained. “What we were doing at the Bayfront was handing over the key to the city by the mayor to Mr. (Gerard) Cools-Latigue who just had to say the carnival had started and then we went straight into the festivities. When he (Bardouille) inquired about his invitation, I informed him that he should liaise with the CEO and not me. The man became very irate over the phone and told me that he would not sign the check for carnival.”
“So I told Benoit Bardouile he does not sign the check for Bullseyes Pharmacy (Cuffy’s business place), it belongs to me or my wife and when the bank calls, it doesn’t call him, if he doesn’t want to sign the checks for DDA that’s a matter to him and on principle Benoit Bardouille is not executive chairman and he is operating as if he owns and operate a business called DDA and that must come to an end. I told Mr. Bardouille exactly how I felt and I knew from there on he was going to rally his troops,” Cuffy told DBS news.
Cuffy stated that he is neither bitter nor angry over the matter but recommended that the DDA and its board must be reviewed.
“The Ministry of Tourism must look at the board of DDA, it must look at the management structure of the DDA,” he remarked. “People are dying inside there. We have lost Monique Jacob, we lost Ezra Winston, Claudine Springer, Val Cuffy, lots of people are frustrated because of the way things are being done.”
He said the DDA is not the private business of one man but there is a board which must be directed and be in consultancy with the Ministry of Tourism, the minister, and cabinet.
“I understand all this a political job but they must let an events manager and events professional do their work and let the people continue to manage their affair,” Cuffy noted. “There is too much unnecessary involvement and then Mr. (Colin) Piper (CEO of the DDA) does not even have the ability to do what he wants to do as CEO because has to be micromanaged, then he micromanaged it. So that is a fundamental problem.”
Cuffy also said he is not blaming the Prime Minister nor the cabinet over the entire issue.
“I am not blaming these people at all because they have their jobs to do but there are some people that have influence on the cabinet and the government and they are square pegs in round holes who must know that at some point in time the power they think they hold will come to an end,” he said.
Val Cuffy said following what happened to him, a complete audit and analysis of the DDA and Dominica Festivals Committee (which falls under the DDA) is needed.
“It is high time because you have a problem sitting there and just as we have lost agriculture, just as we have seen the tourism product is going down, if you keep the square pegs in round holes that are running this department through the DDA on a board level and a management level, we are not going to see any progress in this country,” he said.
Cuffy said he will continue to be the voice of reason for Dominica.
“I from today will continue the mission to be the voice of reason for the people of Dominica who understands development, who understands tourism and who wants to see a better Dominica,” he said.
DNO understands that Samantha Letang and Gerard Cools-Latigue are taking up Cuffy’s responsibilities.
DNO contacted Bardouille but said he was driving.
DNO will continue to seek a comment from him on the matter.