To our members and the community at large:    

The Board of Directors of the Cote des Neiges Black Community Association (CDNBCA) was in shock and disappointed to read the article in the June 22nd, 2018 edition of the Community Contact written by Editor-In-Chief Egbert Gaye from the perspective of Salah Steel Pan Academy, with no attempt for corroboration from the CDNBCA’s Board of Directors.  The article unjustly defames the Cote-Des-Neiges Black Community Association and our Executive Director Tiffany Callender. The members of the Board of Directors and our partners from the Ville de Montreal and Centraide, have the full confidence in the integrity of our Executive Director.

For almost two years, the CDNBCA has housed Salah Steelpan Academy (SSA) and their equipment at no charge, based on good faith with no formal contract or partnership agreement. Despite this, we maintained a verbal contract for instruction and fully paid SSA for courses they taught to our members whenever they submitted an invoice. In the past several months, we have made unsuccessful attempts to formalize an equitable arrangement, taking into consideration SSA’s needs, the CDNBCA objectives and the Ville de Montreal requirements.

After several delays and unresponsiveness from SSA, a meeting was held at the CDNCBA offices with the SSA decision-makers (Rachel, Fatima, Desiree and Salah) and four of six of the CDNBCA Board of Directors (quorum) on 2-Jun-2018.  We decided on three main areas for understanding: instruction, space and expectations. Meeting minutes were circulated to all parties following this successful meeting, no questions or concerns were brought up at that time by SSA; in addition new collaborative fundraising events and other positive outcomes were discussed.

Both parties walked away with requirements: CDNBCA had to formalize the verbal discussions into written contracts and provide authorized access to the space for practice; both were completed on 13-Jun; SSA had to provide required practice hours for June to August, provide inventory list of equipment stores and proof of liability insurance, as well as sign the contracts (for which 2017 was charged at $0, and portions of 2018 as well); and only dates for June practices were provided.

We are at a loss of where CDNCBA went wrong in the case of steelpan, we followed our hearts to keep the only instrument created in the western hemisphere within our community. The CDNBCA did not cancel any event, SSA did on their own accord while we were still negotiating, and we have still not had official response from SSA, despite additional attempts on our side by phone and email.

Considering the public position SSA has taken in the last edition of Community Contact, we reluctantly have had no choice to discontinue our partnership officially. We still await written instruction for the removal of their pans from CDNCBA. CDNBCA hopes to continue to serve the community and strive for excellence.

Sincerely,

The Board of Directors of CDNBCA