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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The TRIBE Toronto Saga Continues

After the letter sent in January was released to me a flood of new information has come to light including minutes of a most recent meeting held by the TMBA on March 13, 2010. During the numerous discussions and points that were raised in said meeting two things stood out for me ; 1.) No one could cite or legally prove exactly which rule TRIBE Toronto has broken and 2.) The major issue is the fact that Andre De Freitas has been accused of lying about the role TRIBE Trinidad will play in TRIBE Toronto as well as the fact that the publicity surrounding TRIBE Trinidad's involvement was premature (articles posted in the Trinidad Newsday Newspaper was discussed):

‘Tribe Toronto’ Agenda Item from
C) Business Arising:

In Attendance:


· Clarence Forde (CS) asked Louis Saldenah (LS) who actually signed the letter in question
· LS said it was signed by Nip’s wife on behalf of Nip simply as acceptance and not approval for the content
· LS said the name change was not discussed by the Executive prior to the Jan 23 meeting (or to date in fact)
· LS said they will
· CF asked of the letter will be dealt with by the Executive
· LS wanted clarification on some issues first (recommendation)
· Bryce asked if the claim by Andre De Freitas (ADF) was factual
· LS said the signature was only for the acceptance of the letter, not for the approval of the request
· ADF said it was given to ‘Council
· CF and Bryce wanted to know who ‘Council’ was?
· LS needed to confirm the receipt of the Jan 11th letter and what the status of the new body was
· LS said that by the time the letter was received, Tribe Toronto was already operating – not clear of Newsday article was out then
· Ken De Freitas (KDF) asked that LS get his dates straight. Said ADF was accused of forgery…(although KDF was not present at the last meeting)
· LS clarified what he saw on the document
· A lively ‘debate’ ensued
· Again, it was noted that Nip’s wife, Colleen signed on Nip’s behalf that the document had been received.
· LS denies accusing ADF of forgery – it was an issue of getting to the root of what ADF was claiming as he presented a few different versions of the document status and what was signed by whom
· Garvin reviews to KDF what the discussion was at the last meeting and why ADF’s integrity is being called to question. He also explained why the membership has reacted the way it has, based on the events and presentation by ADF at that meeting. Reiterated that Andre was not accused of forgery, just mis-representation
· Bryce wanted to know what was to be done about the fact that ADF first said the Executive signed the document, then said Nip did, then admitted it was actually Colleen receiving the document….and was it an email thread or an actual letter?
· Lively debate again…no answer to the question
· Calvin asked if there is a problem with ADF changing the name?
· LS clarified that the whole issue is about the presence of Tribe Toronto as a possible offspring of Tribe Trinidad. Louis read from the Newsday article announcing tribe’s plans to enter the Toronto Caribana festival. States that many bands have similar names as TT bands (D.Midas, Callalloo, etc) but operate autonomously (no controlling involvement from Trinidad bands)
· LS notes that if a large mas comes from Trinidad, it is allowed to perform as a guest and is not part of the judging – that should apply to all mas (section and otherwise) coming from TT
· LS said, we must protect our brand, the festival and the local culture we are publically funded for
· LS reminds the membership that the Tribe website still notes Tribe Trinidad as an operating body in Tribe Toronto. What if ADF and Tribe Trinidad have a falling out? Will that allow Tribe Trinidad to have complete control? ADF has never produced a contract, and said he did not have one at the last meeting.
· Mervyn Skeete (MS) states that he has a problem with this happening and funding 3 levels of government is now at risk. We have rules for large mas, does this not also apply to section mas? Will ADF personally give MS all monies he will lose should the funding be pulled back due to this issue? We must protect the integrity of our operations and source of funds
· KDF claims it is all hearsay and rumours. Is it any different from the bands buying body suits from India
· Needless to say a really lively debate ensued…
· CF mentioned that a Union contact mentioned to him that Mijhevic told this contact that he was aware of the Tribe situation…urged caution at how we approach as it is a public debate now. Funding will be pulled if we are not smart and diligent
· (Editor’s note: I have seen multiple Blogs detailing what is being discussed in our meetings with the source being ‘a bandleader’. Gents, what happens in the meeting stays in the meeting…keep your mouths closed to the public…it is damaging all of us
· LS agreed, he had heard the same thing
· LS detailed a letter from Eddison Doyle indicating that the FMC distributes monies for ‘local operations’ only
· Dexter S (DS) said, no respect to ADF or KDF, but they took the wrong approach and lied. ADF also disrespected all the bandleaders with his comments and attitude. Also wanted to know why the Toronto-Lime ads are still running of the band name has not been approved and they are still associated with Tribe TT
· Dexter S (DS) said, no respect to ADF or KDF, but they took the wrong approach and lied. ADF also disrespected all the bandleaders with his comments and attitude. Also wanted to know why the Toronto-Lime ads are still running of the band name has not been approved and they are still associated with Tribe TT
· Thea (new band) noted that ADF claimed in the January meeting that Tribe TT will have 3 sections in his band, then ADF retracted the claim – so what is the truth?
· KDF denies it
· General debate about it…nothing of relevance to note
· LS to KDF, members do not have a problem with the Tribe name, it is the alliance with the Tribe TT – it would be no different than allowing MacFarlane or Legacy to come with a band and receive Canadian funding to be a band in Canada
· LS sent a letter (signed by 3 out of 5 of the Executive) to Dean in Trinidad and it has not been replied to
· KDF claims Dean thinks it is not to be taken serious and scoffed at it
· ADF was not aware of the letter and wanted to know why he was not asked to sign it…
· LS told him he only needed 3 of the Executive to sign it
· Garvin notes that there is a process for changing a band’s name and for participation. The announcement of Tribe Toronto, prior to approval breaches that process. Reminds membership that Andre was ready to call a lawyer in the last meeting…
· ADF asks, what is the process for changing a band’s name? Show me?
· LS said he felt ADF did not understand the processes and the way to conduct himself as a bandleader
· Bryce wants the truth. Is Tribe TT an operating partner in Tribe Toronto? Says ADF has presented so many conflicting stories that he does not know what to believe. Feels ADF tried to misrepresent the document he said was approved
· ADF disagrees
· Bryce feels the membership has been deceived and nothing is being clarified
Calvin has a few issues…He has no confidence in ADF. His minutes from the Jan meeting had large gaps in them, even though he brought someone along to type them for him, especially the discussions around Tribe’s issues. No indication of what motions were passed or by whom. Feels ADF is putting the funding in jeopardy. What will be done? Feels Tribe should not come to Toronto
· KDF says none of that is true…more ranting
· Calvin says, we must come to a decision…ASAP
· GAIL S asks, will ADF put out a press release disassociating himself with Tribe TT? Are they willing to do that?
· ADF did not answer
· LS states that in the Executive meeting, ADF said he cannot do that
· LS indicates that ‘perception' is powerful. Websites all validate the association
· LS asks if we need to restrict the number of name changes a band can go through as the Evolution/Allspice/Tribe changes speak to disorganization and poor band management
· Bryce notes that the websites are all still the same as they were – nothing was done or has changed. ADF plans to do nothing
· GAIL S asks, will ADF put out a press release?
· ADF asks if that will satisfy the membership?
· LS says the horse is out of the barn now…
· Bryce states that there is an issue of trust now…
· ADF asks if he needs to provide a letter from Tribe TT?
· Whitney Douldron (WD) says, Press Release or letter, each would need to be validated
· GAIL S asked ADF if he is willing to state the name change and publically disassociate himself from Tribe TT
· ADF said he will state the name change but avoided the question about the disassociation
· LS states that the issue at odds is the funding risk. Reminded ADF that he promised to remove his name from the web sites…and has not
· Garvin – it is still there
· ADF claims it is gone
· (Editors note: It takes about 72 hours for a change on the internet to propagate and appear as content is cached in browsers)
· MS says he is troubled by the misrepresentation from ADF as ADF is in a position of trust on the Executive
· ADF says he will resign his position
· Dario (new band) states that if this was an operating business/corporation, this kind of behavior (bringing risk to revenue sources) would be met with swift discipline. This issue has carried on for a long time and must be addressed quickly. This is not about a name change.
· KDF – it is just a name change
· Lively discussion
· Thea (new band) asks how do you pass a motion to remove a band?
· CF states that there no way to ‘vote out’ a band. As per the constitution. A disciplinary committee will review a band’s behavior and make a recommendation to the Executive, who then present it to the membership to vote upon.
· CF also mentions that an integrity of an individual can be put to the floor by any member
· Bryce asks if trying to pass off a fake document a breach?
· Calvin asks, what if the Executive turns down a name change request?
· Mervyn reiterates the process
· Bryce asks what was decided in the Executive meeting about the name change (see earlier note that the meeting has not happened)
· General question – did Andre resign?
· Calvin – a comment made in the heat of the moment is not a resignation
There is much more in the way of minutes from the meeting ,but based on the excerpt posted above I am sure you get the "gist" of what happened .It is also interesting to note that TRIBE Toronto was not placed to enter as a new band, but from the minutes the NAME was changed from a band that already exists; how this affects the rules that were allegedly broken is I suppose a matter for the TMBA to decide on but clearly there was no set precedent on how to handle that issue.

As for the inclusion of information being leaked to the blogs, well too late for that! Someone REALLY wants the public to know what is happening regarding the TRIBE Toronto issue and no, the information is not being leaked from TRIBE's side. The decisions being made are not supported by ALL band leaders in Toronto, some do feel as if it is a "witch hunt":

Coming from that meeting is now an ultimatum for TRIBE Toronto and as one blogger commented on Monday, it is now a game of chess! What will be the next move?


After consultation with Legal Counsel, on the TRIBE situation.

Discipline should be meted out according to
a) The severity of the infraction
b) The consequences of the infraction to the whole group (TMBA)
c) The consequences to each Band/Bandleader

a) If the person is willing to acknowledge that, he did make a mistake.
b) If the person is willing to take the necessary steps, as asked by the members to make
corrections, in the media.
c) If the person is willing to completely disassociate from the Trinidad group.

This merits the lesser form of discipline

A) If the person is still stating that he did not know how his name became involved.
B) If the person does not want to make corrections as asked
C) If the person is arrogant about the whole affair
D) If members of their group make THREATS, (all you have to go through me)
or behaves in a manner to bring discredit to the TMBA.

This merits a more severe discipline.

There are only TWO forms of Discipline for this situation, they should be accorded,
(C division) or the more severe penalty of being

If one of these penalties is not done, this will show that the TMBA as a group cannot control their members and will leave the door WIDE OPEN for any other Band to do the same thing in the future.

When one of these penalties is handed down, this does not MAKE THE WAY OPEN FOR ANY OTHER BAND TO ADVANCE TO A HIGHER DIVISION, all other Bands will stay in their allotted positions.


Shellss said...

Ummmm...I have to wonder what type of organisation this is. People not honoring confidentiality of their meetings, leaking information on letters and that sort of thing. What kinda place is this?

All this seems like a set of unneccesary bacchanal. I am not on anyone's side on this as I am not sure of the entirety of the situation, nor do I care too much if TRIBE make it to Toronto or not, but this is utter madness. Who d hell is this person selling out the people information so? This isn't funny in the least and should not be taken lightly.

This all seems soooo unprofessional it eh funny, down to the minutes and all crappy.

Auntie Nini said...

everything surrounding this whole thing is so could tell is trinis dred...

carnival babay said...

How much Popcorn we goh need for dis Saucy?? LoL

You are correct now that this info has leaked its quite apparent that TRIBE Toronto did not break any rules and that letter dey sent was a bunch of BS. It looks like TMBA and Saldenah is MISLEADING de public yes, putting Mr. De Freitas in shame for no reason...If he lied is a different story to deal with, but his connection to TT could of been premature where de man just didnt know what level he would be involved with TRIBE TT?? Makin sense? Tink logically people and put urself in de man shoes...all Band leaders as it shows going against him well I fo sho would be bucklin...

Now I tink I have to play sides because more truth coming out everyday...Just waiting on the 3rd story now from TRIBE and Defreitas...Whats de next Chess move yes...

TRIBE Toronto I voting u so far....

Saucy aka "The Sauce" said...

@Shells, look up Wiki Leaks and their position on leaking info.I think they summed it up very well.

Jerome said...

yawn... please spare me the agony.

Shellss said...

I agree Jerome.

Saucy aka "The Sauce" said...

Clearly someone thinks that the TMBA has committed an injustice and wants the public to see how these decisions are made.

Right or wrong the information is out there.

KayaKitty said...

I guess I'm reading it incorrectly because what I see is that the organization is very concerned about the public funding and that is why the name change was an issue and the affiliation with Tribe Trinidad was an issue.

Irrespective of how they are going about it, the Tribe Toronto is being portrayed on FB and on other websites as being affiliated with a corporate entitiy from another country and that is what they appear to be trying to address.

De Freitas X 2 don't seem to be answering the questions to their satisfaction (or to mine, really).

Now, someone has made even the inner workings more public so any person who has an issue with the public funding can take the full content of the discussions back to the government.

Bravo!! Great chess move. Apparently, the little helper doesn't care that there are plenty outside the Caribbean community who would like to see that money go elsewhere.

Sometimes when we are impulsive we forget that there might be greater consequences to our actions. Hope the little helper wasn't too smart for their own good.

joel said...

Why is this the 3rd name change for this band in Toronto? Why would Tribe in Trinidad lend their "brand" name or want to be associated with a band in TO that was formerly known as Evolution and then Allspice???? I am curious as to why there are so many name changes for 1 band? In my opinion it looks very bad, like the former names have bad reputations and they are trying to "upgrade" or impress people by linking up with Tribe TNT and changing their name.

JahGyal said...

You absolutely right people, all of this is VERY unecessary but NOT on Tribe Toronto's part, but Saldenah's part. You would think that someone who has been in the business for this long would at LEAST display some sort of class and dignity for Caribana...but its very clear and evident that all he cares about is his "name" being known....It's plain ridiculous if you ask me, and its also clear that Tribe Toronto is NOT doing anything wrong/illegal!! There is no proof of ANY of these accusations presented against Tribe T.O, so cearly there is no issue! You see when you have KNIVING people in high places, this is the sort of BS that misleads the public..He wants to play like he didn't sign that letter..steupseeeeeeeeeeee..but yet all his own contact info was on it right??? Mr "President" a.k.a Saldenah please take this lame bacchanaal elsewhere cause Im sure its not wanted by anyone,and with the given information frankly all the fingers are pointing to you and your false accusations.....

Melissa said...

There is obviously more to this situation than we can pick up from these postings and meeting minutes; seems to me, like more is going on behind closed doors that we can only imagine. The controversy lies much deeper than funding or name changes. If Tribe Toronto is saying they operate independently of Tribe Trinidad and this can be proved via press release or letter from Tribe Trinidad – we should all hope this could end all the chaos. But I feel that will never be the case. As an outsider, I don’t claim to know all the rules and formalities about having a big mas band in Toronto for Caribana, nor do I really care about the procedures. All I’m interested in is Caribana being, what I believe is should be, a festival of culture and good times and I believe Tribe Toronto can bring another element to Caribana that has been seriously lacking. I feel that the competition can sense this as well, hence all the unnecessary hysteria to bring the creation of Tribe Toronto to a standstill.

dougla_1 said...

Interesting read KayaKitty! Egos may have gotten in the way, of the point you made.

TMBA may be a bit too sensitive (not unwarranted because of the fiasco when the City of Toronto pulled funding in 2006 due to "accounting problems" with the previous organizing group, Caribana Cultural Committee) about this issue of foreign affiliation, not because one said bandleader (L Saldenah) is afraid of competition for his Toronto band. I don't think TRIBE Toronto (TT) was not allowed to participate in the parade. The issue probably went off the rails from the CATEGORY designation (I am not a Caribana expert, but that would seem like a perceived "also ran" step down for A Defreitas, particularly when he was going to "lick dem up" in a big way with his "new" (and denied) TRIBE association) of TT's initial foray in Caribana.

Of course, this is just my opinion and not fact, with no goat in the race.

Tr|n|gYa| said...

Melissa, VERY well-said!
There is a lot more undercurrent to this situation than any letter, press release, or minutes meetings can show.
So many loopholes to point out, so little time. Maybe the chess move should shift from TRIBE Toronto and the TMBA, and be placed in the competent hands of the City of Toronto, because there is a PAINFULLY obvious issue of transparency going on. As a taxpayer, I would be so worried and disgruntled, and if the City even gets small wind of this debacle, they won't hesitate to take drastic fiscal action.

Crying shame.

Carnivalcocoa said...

Jesus take the wheel on this foolishness.

Ah yes, MONEY is indeed the root of all evil. The supposed risk to the government funding (among other things) is what have ppl in a tizzy.
Also there's this little thing called branding and image, interllectual property and copyrights, which all amount to $,$ and more $. That's the big deal with the name change issue.
My only thing is, why the DeFreitas' hesitated in acknowledging any ties to TRIBE TT? Just putting that observation out there, that's all. (Truly I could care less if I ever get an answer to that)

Advice to my fellow T.O masqueraders: stay in the band you know. At least it's already established in T.O.

Carnivalcocoa said...

Yeah dougla_1, that's the same story I got from a Toronto friend, about the money scandal with the previous carnival committee and that's how things got even stricter over there.

Empress said...

I agree with you KayaKitty. If the Canadian government or any of the funding bodies were not aware before of the affiliation this release clearly makes it public knowledge. Also althoug Saucy claims that this was not leaked by Tribe affiliate I have my doubts. 1) ADF was the recording secretary up to the point at the end of the meeting 2) the vote to remove him was 14 to 2. If the so called concerned TMBA member had an issue why did he/she not raise it at the meeting instead of making it public as done by this post? Steups. Still think it was a bit unethical whomever that person is. Who knows it may have done the Tribe TO team more harm than good IMO

Saucy aka "The Sauce" said...

Empress the reason why I can say that this did not come from TRIBE is that the person who sent it is a bandleader (Name on the email) in Toronto, it was not sent anonymously as was the first letter that was leaked. I do not know who sent that one because the person used a fake name/alias.

So unless TRIBE went through the trouble to create a fake email of a bandleader who is a member of the TMBA in order to send out these documents I would have to say otherwise.

Lisa said...

These meeting minutes are the most blatant breach of confidentiality I've seen in a long time. How can anyone think that it's okay to share the minutes of a confidential meeting regardless of how they feel about what's going on? TMBA needs to get it together and put their ducks in a row. They need to find out who is leaking the info and put a stop to it before it hurts everyone involved. But especially before the Ontario government gets involved and sponsors start pulling out.
Scotiabank took over as sponsor of Caribana because government provided money couldn't be accounted for when the previous Caribana Committee was in charge. Now there's this stupideness. Why can't "we" ever have anything without there being some kind of drama?

Shellss said...

This was my point in the first place Lisa and Empress....this person is VERY unprofessional to be leaking this type of information. Whoever it may be!

Hibiscus said...

Nah man, I had to come out of hibernation and post on this schupidness! This leak does not lend credence to Tribe TO's position. I can't see a bandleader using this as proof of some untoward behavior by the TMBA because it backs up their concerns of jeopardy to the funding and rightly so!

The TMBA need to get their membership in check because the leaking of this information and all the behind the scenes( now in from de scenes) bacchanal makes the organization look inept. Most concerning to me is if the govt of TO gets a wind of all of BS and then their funding is truly pulled!

Why Trinis can't get their acts together? If it was the Jamaicans the public would be no the wiser of this foolishness (yeah I said

JJ said...

I suppose my question is, (not that I care that much either), what, if anything would jeopardize the funding?

I understand clearly that being the issue, but from these comments and saucy's post, it seems to me the last funding was pulled because there was some unaccounted for funds and accounting breaches?

And aren't there exceptions or loopholes in the requirement, if one exists, related to foreign or overseas organizations having ownership in a Canadian venture? Wouldn't the solution be solved if the majority ownership is Canadian? If other foreign bands have partnered with/lent their name to TO bands in the past, how was it done then and is that now allowed now?

Perhaps this Mr. De Freitas feller was indeed wrong for not abiding by the rules and asking for guidance from the committee upfront. If based on their experience and understanding of the rules, he would have come forth and stated his intentions and asked for suggestions on how to accomplish what he wanted to accomplish, much of this would not have happened in the first place.

There would not have been a reason to lie and try to do the old switcheroo.

As a former journalist myself, I support leaks and I believe in "sunshine" - if there was some injustice, breach, malfeasance or other thing going on that taxpayers should know about, exposure can help in the end (obviously in certain situations, that is not the case). I am just not clear how any of this would lead to the Toronto government or a private source pulling anyone's funding --- other than the obvious ---how this all smells like some incompetency, cover-up, intimidation and unprofessionalism.

I hope it all ends well.

partyc said...

JJ (and to those who have expressed surprise at my stance on this) ... I think the issue here may be whether the Canadian government bodies would provide funding (coming from Canadian taxpayers) to an organization, even if it is incorporated in one of the Canadian provinces, that comprises of members that may not be 100% Canadian (e.g. affiliated with a foreign business). The point of this type of government subsidy (because that is what this is) is to support Canadian companies that encourage tourism into Canada. Not to mention, you are talking about an organization that was already under scrutiny because of alleged previous accounting issues.

So, until someone can clarify whether the Canadian government is fine with using taxpayer funds to subsidize an organization incorporated in Canada (regardless of the nationalities of its membership), or whether that organization entire membership must also be 100% Canadian, maybe the TMBA should be concerned about whether actions of one of its members would increase its risk of losing funding for Caribana ... again, particularly in the face of increased scrutiny. By the way, this is not a threat that should be taken lightly, as those who experienced the no-Caribana threat drama can attest to.

KayaKitty said...

Well said, partyc.

If eligibility for the funding requires that all the member bands be incorporated in Canada with no legal/financial ties to corporations in other countries, then the way that Tribe Toronto has advertised themselves would be a bit of a problem even if that problem is simply perception. But, perception is powerful.

If De Freitas had documentation to prove otherwise, it should have been easy to produce.

trinican said...

I think the other bands do not want the high standards of trini bands to come to toronto because they will have to put out more effort.... BUt if Tribe is not wanted in Toronto I say go to Miami because there parade route is better and I think it's the closest thing to Trini Carnival they can facilitate the needs in Miami....

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