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Toppin: The Rihanna initiative is not working

3/18/2012

OPPOSITION MP and Shadow Minister of Tourism Ronald Toppin said that the mega star was not being properly utilised to promote Barbados.

He pointed to a drop in visitor arrivals from the United States as vindication for his comments.

“With the US, we would have expected the Rihanna initiative to be showing results, but the US declined four months last year, including two months after the contract was concluded and within the first two months of this year, in the heart of winter when you expect your best performance, the US market is in decline. In the United Kingdom where Rihanna is especially popular, for five months last year there was a decline and for the first two months of this year, there has been a decline,” he remarked.

Levelling heavy criticisms at the feet of the Barbados Tourism Authority, he said government should not be paying the international pop star to promote the island, when she had already been doing it for free.

“To Rihanna’s credit, even before the BTA concluded a multi-million dollar contract with her, Rihanna was in the habit of ‘bigging up’ Barbados wherever she went at no cost whatsoever to anybody in Barbados. When she was given the first Grammy award, she gave a big shout out to Barbados at no cost whatsoever to anybody in Barbados. Every time she performed she used the broken trident and Barbadian symbols at no cost whatsoever to anybody at all. So the BTA did not have to pay Rihanna to do something she was doing already,” he stressed.

Toppin also emphasised that the public still remained in the dark regarding the terms of Rihanna’s contract with the BTA.

“You do not know how much is involved in contract. You do not know what the initiatives, the proposals and the strategies are to effectively utilise this mega star to benefit Barbados,” Toppin stated.

He made the comments on Friday night during the last day of estimates. (JMB)

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