Soca Queen Ernestine ExplainsErnestine Carballo and her manager are suing a New York promoter. They say he's to blame for Ernestine having her US visa revoked. Today in an interview Ernestine told us that she was to perform at the New York Belize Caribbean ParkFest in New York tomorrow but she won't be able to attend that event or any event in the US for that matter until her visa is renewed. She told us that she left for New York on August 27th on a connecting flight to Atlanta on Delta. But when she arrived in Atlanta, the authorities stopped her, detained her and interrogated her because she did not have her return ticket or the right visa to work or perform in the US. Today she told us that it was up to the promoter in New York to ensure that all her travel documents were set but according to Ernestine - they didn't do their job.
"It's because of not knowing, because honestly I did not know. I thought that everything would have been okay. When we check that Delta, the promoter bought the cheapest ticket with no insurance and I only had the one way stub, so they first thing, they pulled me across and ask where is your return ticket and they started to interrogate me from that point. So I went out there with an open mind and a clean heart to just go and represent my country, but it all laid on the promoter, that knew exactly what he was supposed to do and he did not do that. He did not look out for the best interest of me. But instead try to go around it and try to go under the table and try to do things and make me feel like everything is okay and I was traveling on a B1 B2 and I told them that I am a performer and an entertainer and all that I do in Belize and so forth. They told me that all these promoters know that they are supposed on the artist behalf, they are supposed to apply for the correct work or P3 Visa or whatever the case may be, so that we artist doesn't have to go through these type of frustration and stressful terrifying degrading situations. So when I look at it, the embassy is just trying to do their job and me not knowing. Now that I know, I will go about it the right way."
"That was basically the real reason behind this because of the cheap ticket with no insurance. You must have your two way. Even though Delta explained that it is electronically. They don't want to hear that, they don't want to see that. You have to make sure you have your stub presented, even if it's the system, at least have them copy the stub, so that you don't have to go through this problem. You could go free and the promoters need to do their part and they need to do the correct licensing. They need to be a license business to do this. So, it is like they know, but they didn't do it because they are not legit."
"So did you speak with your promoters before you left? Did you do your part as the artist to follow up with the promoters and make sure that hey I have everything set for my trip?"
"Yes, I did all of that. But upon coming back into this predicament and this bad messy situation, they turned their backs on me and my manager. It's like they don't want to communicate or give any kind of compensation or whatever. That is why now my manager Shawn Avilez is stepping in."
Shawn Avilez, Ernestine's manager
"I spoke to him and he said okay get back to me. I said okay I will call you at 1pm. I called and called and he did not answer. Only to post on Facebook. Sometime you can't sorry for people. The wife start texting Ernestine nasty texts. This is not the way to deal with situations. Now everything will be in black and white and I want them to know that this will not go on undone. You will be hearing from our lawyer and we are not playing, because you can't redeem yourself and see what you cause. Ernestine cannot leave the country. Ernestine have to give back money. Ernestine have to give authorization for the ticket. That is all I am doing."
In terms of the New York Belize Caribbean Park Fest, Manager Avilez says the NY promoter is still showing the ad as if Ernestine will perform - she says that the promoter is still trying to gain from their agreement. Avilez says the promoter is not responding to any of her calls. For Soca Queen Ernestine, this snafu has put her career on standby. But she told us that this is just a small portion of what she and other Belizean artists are subjected to. She says that she goes through that same drama with Belizean promoters.
"That's the problem with majority of the promoters in Belize, because right now an ad is running with me and Bunji Garlin and DJ Dalla nor Special, they didn't even confirmed with me before they played that ad. So it's happening with Flavaz Entertainment, it's the same thing. That's why I did not show up at Soca Madness, because they keep to exploit and disrespect me and don't want to pay and don't want to comply or deal with me the correct and professional way. But then can bring in those artist and pay them thousands of dollars and they don't want to look at us and take care of us even with one thousand or two thousand. Not even that they want to comply or put us in proper accommodations, nothing."
Ernestine has already reapplied for another US visa. She told us that this has been a learning experience for her and said that from now on any and every business agreement will be handled in black and white.