Machel Montano Loses Phone Endorsement Contract

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Machel Montano, l, with Harry Belafonte at the NY Carnival, September 2012. (NAN file photo/Hayden Roger Celestin)
News Americas, PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Fri. Feb. 1, 2013: Convicted soca star, Machel Montano, has lost his endorsement deal with Trinidad and Tobago’s mobile brand, bmobile.

The Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago Limited dropped Montano on a directive from its board of directors.

“TSTT wishes to advise at this time, that it is suspending all existing arrangements with Machel Montano and the company,” the company said in an emailed statement on Wednesday, Jan. 30th. They also dropped him from the week- long Soca in bSquare concert line-up at Woodford Square, Port-of-Spain.

Montano had been endorsing TSTT’s bmobile brand for close to eight years.

The lost deal is the latest in the ongoing Montano saga since his December 10, 2012 conviction by Magistrate Maureen Babo-olal-Gafoor. Montano was found guilty of five criminal charges of assault and using obscene language during a fracas five years ago, outside the Zen nightclub in Port-of-Spain. He faces jail time but sentencing has been delayed.

Following his conviction, there have been numerous calls by interest groups for the company to stop sponsoring Montano with taxpayers’ money because of his conviction but they held off until Wednesday.

Montano still has a commercial deal with State-owned airline, Caribbean Airlines Ltd which is a sponsor of his “Machel Monday” concert. He has so far not commented on the debacle.

Meanwhile, Trinidad and Tobago Soca artiste, Dexter ‘Blaxx’ Stewart, called the turn of events, “a lesson … (for) everyone in public life.”

“As a regular man on the street, you can get away with many things. People like Machel Montano, Destra, Blaxx, Fay-Ann Lyons- there’s no room for slip ups. That’s the reality of the business. I’m sorry that it has taken one man’s dilemma, to draw focus to this- at least for me,” Stewart said.

But he refused to comment on the case itself and Montano’s imminent sentencing. Instead he said he commends the soca king’s efforts and appreciates all that Montano has done, and continues to do for Soca music and Trinidad and Tobago.

Blaxx is preparing for the groovy leg of the Soca Monarch competition, in which he will come up against Montano.