by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- New Dimension nearing bankruptcy
- Allegations players were not getting paid for their services
- Former arranger under investigation by the Financial Intelligence Unit
Coyaba New Dimension Steel Orchestra (NDSO) which has under its belt over 10 Panorama titles, is now embroiled in controversy as its former arranger David ‘Peck’ Edwards is currently under investigation by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) for misappropriation of funds.
The problems have just started as it was brought to the media’s attention by its Operations Manager Lisa Chase, who announced the band is nearing bankruptcy. Fingers are being pointed to Edwards for his lack of accountability and financial impropriety while in charge of the band’s financial affairs.
“New Dimensions Steel Orchestra should be the most financially stable steelband in Grenada. Based on history, past and current commitment we should be the most financially stable but unfortunately today the band is almost bankrupt because of said levels of unaccountability, and when moves were made to see what is happening, every effort was made on the part of the individual concerned to get rid of person after person, and committee after committee.”
Chase also alleged that players were not getting paid for their services. “The players started crying out that they were not getting paid, but there was no money and no answer as to why there was no money. So we had to strong arm the person and decide it is not happening again and we went about it amicably trying to sort the situation out but receive no cooperation whatsoever. So our final act was to get the FIU involved and it’s only then that the individual no choice but to cooperate. But what I can say is that the things being revealed are not pretty at all.”
Chase indicated in a press release that a settlement has been reached where Edwards has agreed to repay the NDSO over $100,000.
According to reports Edwards who has also headed the Grenada Steel Band Association (GSA) for over 10 years, was thrown out of New Dimension, but has recently joined the Suzuki Pan Wizards.
Despite being at the centre of an FIU investigation, Edwards was said to have joined 3 other members of the GSA in ousting President Jason Skeete.
During an interview on Saturday, Edwards refrained from commenting on the ongoing investigation. “I prefer not to comment. As you notice the FIU is the body that is investigating that and the head of the FIU didn’t even speak on it, so I too would not want to speak on it at this time.”
Meanwhile, new information has surfaced regarding the financial situation with GSA, as the organisation’s president admitted that the GSA is also unable to account for funds.
Skeete who has rejected a move by some members of the association to have him removed from his post as unconstitutional, is now firing back at Stephen Greenidge who held the position of treasurer on the previous executive.
Skeete claimed Greenidge has and continues to ignore correspondence asking him to submit financial reports to the executive. “Mr Greenidge never responded to my letter so I wrote him an email again one month later and he never responded. So we had an executive where I indicated to him that he should now sit with the current treasurer because we need to know what was happening before, to know where we are going, and up to this point Mr Greenidge has not sat down with the current treasurer. So we have no clue but what I can say is that based on the chequebook that I have, which was handed to me. The last cheque handed to me before we took office was cheque number 000051, which is blank and there are a number of blank cheques made to people with no information on the stubs.”
Skeete said whenever he is called by authorities to give an account, he would be telling the truth even if it means exposing some of the financial impropriety of some of the previous members of the executive.
The management of Coyaba has declined to comment.