Tuesday 26 March, 2019

Merchant's ex-wife calls for audit into Copyright Organisation

Merchant

Merchant

The ex-wife of the late calypsonian Merchant is calling for an audit of the Copyright Organisation of Trinidad and Tobago (COTT).

Ruthlyn Dixon Boxhill is making the call after receiving $400 in royalty payments for Merchant’s estate.

Merchant, real name, Dennis Williams Franklyn, was considered one of the most prolific songwriters in Calypso, penning a number of songs for many calypsonians including his own hits such as ‘Caribbean Connection’, ‘Rock It’ and ‘Let Us Build a Nation Together’.

The latter was played at the swearing-in ceremony for President Paula Mae Weekes,

Merchant passed away in 1999.

“Merchant’s estate is much bigger than you think, a lot of calypsonians did Merchant songs,” Dixon Boxhill told Loop.

She said when she went to COTT to express her displeasure with the amount of money sent to the estate, the CEO,  Ayanna Belgrave-Lewis, was not very accommodating.

“COTT is receiving money from the artists and when it coming to distribution we are not seeing where the money is going. COTT giving you 45 cents from every dollar. Their overtime expenditures are very high, the staff is very big but when it comes to paying the artists my deceased ex-husband deceased estate only generating $400?" she said, claiming that she is yet to see a statement explaining the distribution.

Dixon Boxhill is calling on the calypso fraternity to agitate for COTT to be audited.

“I looking to see if I could get support for COTT to get audited, they need to be audited. We need to see the salaries of each member that is employed. Not even one payment from COTT does come on time.  This is not about me alone, many calypsonians crying but nobody taking steps to bring COTT to their knees,” she said.

Loop reached out to COTT and will do a subsequent article explaining how the organisation distributes royalty payments.

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