I have served on the board representing HMS (Hewanorra Musical Society) presently ECCO (Eastern Caribbean Copyright Organisation for Music Rights) for over ten years. I also worked as a sales executive for the organization for over 5 years.
At a meeting in April 2016 (I was present) the board took a decision to increase the salaries of administrative staff members by 2% rather than 5% which was proposed. The argument was that ECCO could not afford more than that percentage of increases at that time.
On July 21st, 2016 despite the absence of 4 Directors including myself, a Publisher Director, a board meeting was held. High on the agenda was the increase of salary for the General Manager and also the change of title from General Manager to Chief Executive Officer. Previous to the meeting numerous attempts had been made to have Finance Committee meetings, which I was a part of, to bring these issues to the fore, but they never materialized for one reason or another.
At this same ECCO Board meeting, on 21st July 2016, present were ECCO Directors, 3 St Lucian Directors and 3 Island Directors, voted unanimously to approve a 26% salary increase for the General Manager retroactive to January 2016. The board also changed the title of the General Manager position to Chief Executive Officer. This decision was taken at the last meeting of the ECCO board before the Annual General meeting to be held on 10th September 2016.
This increase in salary has to be taken in context to the benefits of ECCO members. The only benefits to an ECCO member is once a year is an annual royalty payment. In 2015 ECCO Saint Lucia members received an EC$62,000 payout of which 164 members shared in that payout. In the payout 109 members received more than EC$50.00, while 55 members received less than EC$50.00 and over 100 members received $ 0.00. ECCO Saint Lucia has over 300 members. In context the annual increase in salary for the General Manager resulted in more than 30% of the 2015 annual payout for our 164 Saint Lucian members.
The other issue which I have had is the conflict of interest which is prevalent, in relation to the current Chairman of the Board of ECCO and who also works for ECCO as the Agent in Dominica. As a result he is supervised by the General Manager (now CEO) and the CEO also takes directives from the Chairman of the Board.
Our ECCO Chairman McCarthy Marie once said to me “the success of the society can only be measured by the benefits our members receive.” I am in full agreement of this statement. In my personal opinion I do not see the benefit to the membership but only to the hierarchy of the Administration of ECCO. On this basis I resigned as a director on August 4th, 2016.
I was asked to serve by ECCO members in the past as a Director and will do so if asked to serve in the future.
Ian D. Sanchez
Former Director of The Board of ECCO