Thomas calls for standard rates of pay for performers in the tourism sector, in keeping with the earnings of imported acts

Alister Thomas – culture activist, politician, historian, and costume designer – says Antigua and Barbuda’s artistes and entertainers are not being given proper recognition nor a satisfactory rate of pay.

He says their compensation does not meet the level of performers in the tourism sector years ago and certainly does not compare well with those persons imported to perform on local shows.

Thomas’s comments follow the Browne Administration’s boast that the tourism sector is performing very well.

However, he says, the artistes who perform on the hotel circuit are not reaping some of the benefits that others within the sector appear to be enjoying.  

Thomas says this unfair practice should be stopped, and he appeals to the entertainers to stand up for their rights.

He recalls that artistes from a previous era – including Lord Lee, the Mighty Bottle, Scorpion, and Calypso Joe – performed at hotels, in the earlier days of the tourism industry, for much higher pay than today’s artistes are getting.

Thomas notes that there are more hotel rooms, which are more expensive today; yet, the benefits are being enjoyed only by some persons.

Thomas says the relevant government agencies should address this issue immediately, ensuring there is a standard rate for all artistes and entertainers performing in the tourism sector.

In the same way that other players in the sector – such as taxi operators – are regulated, local artistes need to have regulations in place to ensure fair treatment, the culture activist says.

According to Thomas, sometimes the artistes, themselves, are to be blamed, since they find themselves in situations where they are bidding against themselves.

The time has come for the exploitation to stop, Thomas declares.