The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By An­gel­ica O’ DonoghueHolder

An ap­par­ent im­bal­ance in the real ben­e­fits of the in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar Eastern Caribbean Copy­right Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Mu­sic Rights (ECCO), lean­ing heav­ily to­wards its hi­er­ar­chy, has forced the res­ig­na­tion of one its most sea­soned di­rec­tors: Ian Sanchez. He con­firmed his de­par­ture from the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s ex­ec­u­tive on Wed­nes­day, cit­ing sev­eral prob­lems, in par­tic­u­lar his re­la­tion­ship with gen­eral man­ager, Steve Eti­enne.

Ian Sanchez served on the board of He­wanorra Mu­si­cal So­ci­ety, presently ECCO, for over ten years. He also worked as a sales ex­ec­u­tive for the or­gan­i­sa­tion for over five years. Cit­ing the chain of events that led to his res­ig­na­tion, Sanchez said it be­gan in April of this year when Eti­enne made a bid for a wage in­crease and a ti­tle change to Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer.

The wage in­crease of 2%, rather than the 5% tabled by Eti­enne, was shot down out­right due to ob­vi­ous fi­nan­cial re­stric­tions, along with the pro­posed change of job ti­tle.

But the shocker, ac­cord­ing to Sanchez, came on July 21 when “de­spite the ab­sence of four di­rec­tors in­clud­ing my­self, a pub­lisher direc­tor, a board meet­ing was held.

“High on the agenda was again the in­crease of salary for the gen­eral man­ager and also the change of ti­tle.”

Pre­vi­ous to that meet­ing, Sanchez pointed out, nu­mer­ous at­tempts had been made to have fi­nance com­mit­tee meet­ings to bring these same two is­sues to the fore.

“At this same ECCO Board meet­ing, on July 21, 2016,” Sanchez claims, “ECCO di­rec­tors voted unan­i­mously to ap­prove a 26% salary in­crease for the gen­eral man­ager retroac­tive to Jan­uary 2016. The board also handed the gen­eral man­ager the ti­tle he sought.”

Three Saint Lu­cian di­rec­tors and three is­land di­rec­tors were re­port­edly present at this meet­ing. What is more, the de­ci­sion came mere weeks ahead of the ECCO An­nual Gen­eral Meet­ing set to take place to­day, Satur­day.

Sanchez’s chal­lenge is that the stun­ning wage in­crease must be taken in con­text with real ben­e­fits to the hard­work­ing ECCO mem­bers in Saint Lu­cia and through­out the Caribbean who re­ceive roy­al­ties once an­nu­ally.

Bring­ing this con­text to the fore, Sanchez re­vealed that in 2015 ECCO Saint Lu­cia mem­bers re­ceived an EC$62,000 pay­out, which was shared among 164 mem­bers. Ac­cord­ing to Sanchez only 109 of these mem­bers re­ceived a lit­tle more than EC$50, while 55 re­ceived less than EC$50. ECCO Saint Lu­cia has over 300 reg­is­tered mem­bers which means over 100 mem­bers were left emp­ty­handed. .

The ECCO AGM will take place at 10.00 a.m. to­day at the 1st Floor Con­fer­ence Room of the CSA Cen­tre, Sans Soucis Cas­tries, Saint Lu­cia.

Who of these two, Ian Sanchez (left) and Steve Eti­enne, will have the big­ger smile at the end of the ECCO AGM later to­day?

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