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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

And The Caribana Bacchanal Continues......

Seems like this year there is a whole heap of controversy surrounding the Caribana Festival. If you want to read about the fight over the domain name, allegations of racism and lawsuits read HERE. And, to add more fire to the heat that has been stirred up is the fact that TRIBE Toronto is challenging the Toronto Mas Band Association (TMBA) decision to ban them from Caribana, more on that HERE and please note the following press release from Andre De Freitas :

CARIBANA IN JEOPARDY! This will be the cry of many if the City Authorities do not intervene to stop the injustice that has been taking place to CARIBANA and one of Toronto’s young entrepreneurs.

Andre De Freitas is the Band Leader of a Carnival Band that has been involved in the CARIBANA parade for the last 42 years. He is the son of Ken De Freitas, one of the pioneers and founders of the Caribana Festival. In an effort to bring something new and fresh to the festival, Andre pursued his idea to bring the TRIBE brand to the festival and has received the requisite approval from the owners of the Brand – TRIBE (Trinidad). His team also envisioned a CARIBANA with endless possibilities and wanted to assist in growing the festival by attracting more international participants.

TRIBE TORONTO a wholly owned Canadian Entity was established by Andre De Freitas and the executives of the TMBA (Toronto Mas Bands Association) were notified of the name change from ‘Evolution’ to ‘TRIBE TORONTO’ for his band for the upcoming 2010 Parade.

The TMBA is an organisation that is supposed to seek the interests of all of its members and to assist in development of the younger ‘Masmen’ in carrying on the Art form. Unfortunately there is an inherent conflict of interest which becomes very evident in situations like this, where an influential member of the association and some of the other bands feel threatened by competition from one of its fellow member bands. With the “threat’ of competition looming and what appears to be some seeking their personal interests, some of the them have lobbied the support of a majority of members by making false accusations about Mr. Andre De Freitas, all in an effort to stop Mr. De Freitas from using the name TRIBE TORONTO. Due to the injustice being placed against Mr. De Freitas and unfair conduct of the TMBA many associate members have withdrawn their membership.

The Charges brought against Mr. De Freitas by the TMBA:

  •  He has broken rules and regulations with regards to the change name process
  •  He is affiliated with a foreign entity
To date the TMBA has taken the following despicable actions:

  • Removed Mr. Andre De Freitas from the Executive Board of the TMBA
  •  Suspended him from the membership of the TMBA
  •  Attempted to re-write parts of the constitution to serve some members personal interests
  •  Disqualified his band from the CARIBANA Parade Competition
  •  Sent correspondence to a third party that is potentially slanderous and libelous

The charges they brought against Mr. De Freitas are quite serious, in addition to being untrue, and as such, the basis for the suspension is clearly wrong. As well, there are questions regarding the transparency of the said decisions and the process (or lack thereof) involving these decisions. Mr. De Freitas has not been given a proper hearing or any opportunity to defend himself against these unfounded, malicious and false accusations.

The FMC (Festival Management Committee) has been notified of the injustices being carried out, but to date have been unsuccessful in bringing a resolution to the matter.

It is a fact that the TRIBE brand is recognised internationally and Mr. De Freitas has the vision to recognise that the brand will bring benefits to the festival and City by enhancing the attractiveness of CARIBANA which in turn would result in increased attention, sponsors, and participation by locals and tourists and increased revenues to the City.

Mr. De Freitas will continue to pursue all avenues on the matter until it is resolved. In the meantime, all supporters of CARIBANA are encouraged to contact the under mentioned persons to express your views on this important matter.

Contact Info:

Festival Management Committee

Councillor - Joe Milhevic

City Manager – Joseph Pennachetti

416.933.1700 / 1.877.700.0043

Mayor David Miller

Facebook page – TRIBE TORONTO

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