debts owed by the Panafest Foundation for the work done on that website
totalled over $6,300 USD. Of this amount, more than $3,500 USD had been
in arrears for OVER FIVE YEARS. Yes that's right ... I was not paid anything
for FIVE YEARS.
past several years, I had received numerous emails from visitors to the
website, criticising me for out of date information and admonishing me
to update the Panafest website. The initial difficulties were mainly due
to the organisers being so lazy that they wouldn't send me new information
- no matter how many times I asked for it. Over a period of two years,
however, I simply refused to do any more work on the website until I got
what was once the Panafest - Ghana website. To satisfy your curiosity,
I am the former webmaster and I have removed the website from the internet
for nonpayment of fees by the principal organisers of the event.
2007 edition of Panafest ended in August 2007, I sent an email to the two
directors of Panafest: Mr. Kojo Yankah (Chairman of the Panafest Foundation)
and Mr. Kohain Halevi (the Executive Secretary of the Panafest Foundation).
That email - and many many more emails - requested that I be paid in full
for work done on the Panafest website.
was NO response whatsoever from either party to my numerous requests for
payment ... UNTIL I actually removed the website and replaced it with a
page like this detailing the reasons WHY it was removed. For nearly a YEAR
neither of these people would send me an email. Readers should take note
that BOTH of these directors, Mr. Yankah and Mr. Halevi had PROMISED on
many occasions to pay me at the end of (or during) the most recent Panafest
in 2007. In fact, that promise was never kept. In short, both Kojo Yankah
and Kohain Halevi were LIARS.
a great deal of patience in waiting to be paid. And I could not help but
notice that there always seemed to be funds for the organisers' trips abroad
from Ghana to Trinidad, South Africa, Cuba and Brazil (supposedly necessary
for the organisation of the event). One would think that it is far more
important to pay for the official website, since it is the single most
valuable marketing and puclicity tool for the Panafest event.
these two people realised that I was exposing their Lies and Broken Promises
to pay, they suddenly had the courage to email me again. But instead of
working out some means to pay me, they immediately threatened me with legal
action for "defaming" their good reputations. They even went so far as
having an attorney in California send me threatening emails for supposedly
infringing the name of "Panafest". More about the alleged infringement
later ... Please note: when you are telling the TRUTH about people and
their actions (or lack of), it is the TRUTH.
set of emails was then forthcoming from one of the other Board members,
a Mr. Kwaku Ofori-Ansa. Instead of addressing the subject of me getting
paid, Mr. ofori-Ansa chastised me for dishonouring the memories of great
Pan-Africanists such as Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King, Kwame Nkrumah
and many others that he listed. I scratched my head and asked myself, what
does my not getting paid the monies owed to me have to do with dead people?
his rhetoric over the next few weeks, Mr. Ofori-Ansa then began to introduce
questions of my morality, my ethics in how I conduct my profession of photography,
stating categorically that I exploit poor people by taking their photos
and then selling them for thousands of dollars. What a laugh I had at that.
If it were true, I would not have been chasing Panafest for payments. What
is puzzling about all these exchanges is that NOT ONCE did someone ever
bother to bring up the simple fact that they owed me money. Instead, every
effort was made to attack my morals, my ethics, my honesty and my motives
- in numerous areas that have nothing to do with Panafest. Instead of just
saying, 'yes we owe you money and we should arrive at a resolution', the
tactics deployed were those of intimidation and threats as well as impuning
these various parties finally realised that I would not back down, an arrangement
was finally made in June, 2008 to pay me half of the $6,000 amount. I was
sent an initial $1,000 and that was all. More (another $2000) was promised,
but as usual, that was just more LIES. The deadlines for two more remittances
came and went with no further payments received. More LIES from these Liars.
In addition to this, one of the Board Members, Esi Sutherland-Addy, sent
me an email telling me that I am "depraved" because I was making demands
to be paid. Depraved means "morally corrupt" and "perverted". To Ms. Sutherland-Addy,
I suggest that she address the morals of her Board of Directors instead
of pointing the finger at me. In essence, the Panafest people contract
you to do a job - then they DON'T PAY YOU for FIVE YEARS - and then when
you demand to be paid, you are called DEPRAVED. I took this page down in
June because I stupidly believed that this time the directors would keep
their word and pay me. Of course, they didn't - they LIED AGAIN - so this
page stayed here until I finally received the other $2000 that was promised
cease making any more statements about the parties involved, provided I
received the 50% payment of the monies owed to me (as mutually agreed).
They finally did pay another $2000 in October. Well, I was quiet for the
past four months - that is UNTIL I discovered that Panafest has a new website.
Of course, I expected that sooner or later they would find someone to build
them a new website. What I didn't expect, was to find that whomever that
is (supposedly a company called LEADMAC Consulting) has STOLEN all the
text that I originally wrote for the Panafest website that I built. This
includes entire pages of text about Cape Coast, the history of Panafest,
and various descriptions of Panafest activities - WORD FOR WORD - probably
stolen from an internet-archive of the site I originally built. I have
not been paid for my work and furthermore there were copyright notices
all over the website. I am the person who did the research and wrote about
the history of Panafest, the descriptions of Cape Coast, etc. and I have
never been paid in full for it.
it interesting that the Panafest organisers couldn't be bothered to
pay me for the work I did, but seem to have found money to pay someone
else for a new website. EXCEPT that these new people have STOLEN my own
Copyrighted text - so in effect, they are being paid for MY WORK. So this
is the reason why I have re-installed this page on the internet. People
who are interested in Panafest (and some of the people who organise it)
deserve to know that these people are Liars, Cheats and Thieves. After
all, it is so much easier to STEAL from someone than to actually do your
own work. So we can add Intellectual Property Theft to the other dishonest
actions of the people named above. It's one thing to not pay me - it's
something else entirely to then STEAL from me and pay someone else for
|I promised earlier to say
something about the threat from the lawyer in California. He informed me
that I was using the logo of Panafest and the Panafest name in what I wrote
and therefore I was committing Trademark and Copyright Infringement. Well
I actually went to the trouble of doing a Trademark Search on the name
Panafest. I did this search in the USA and in Ghana - and guess what ...
the name "Panafest" has NEVER been trademarked in either country. In fact,
the name Panafest is also used to promote a technology festival event that
is hosted by the motion picture film company "Panavision", which makes
camera systems and is headquartered in Calfornia. Can you imagine how stupid
a lawyer can be to actually threaten someone with a lawsuit over a supposedly
trademarked name - when there actually is NO Trademark registered for that
|The attorney, Mr. William
Godfrey Davis, Esq. wrote the following to me in an email: " ... your
use of the name PANAFEST is an infringement of an international copyright
and can and will be addressed in Federal court in the U.S, if necessary.
I really don't think you want to get into litigation at that level.
Any judgment will be subsequently addressed to you and your assets in the
U.S." I commend the Panafest people for engaging the services of a
lawyer who is so stupid that he doesn't even know the difference between
a Copyright and a Trademark Infringement. You CANNOT copyright a name and
any competent Intellectual Property attorney would know that. However,
you CAN TRADEMARK a name.
|I found it interesting that
an attorney (of all people) would falsely threaten me with a lawsuit over
a Trademark Infringement when no infringement ever took place. In fact,
it is ILLEGAL to make such threats. Penalties are provided for knowing
material misrepresentations in either a notice or a counter notice. Any
person who knowingly materially misrepresents that material is infringing,
... is liable for any resulting damages (including costs and attorneys’
fees) incurred by the alleged infringer, the copyright owner or its licensee,
or the service provider. (Section 512(f)) of the United States Digital
Millenium Copyright Act.
writing this page, I have heard from several other people and groups who
have not been paid by Panafest. It seems I am not alone when it comes to
Panafest organizers failing to pay artists and suppliers. if you are one
of these victims, feel free to write to me by email and tell me the circumstances
of your own situation. email@example.com
November 12, 2009: From the time this page has appeared on the internet
I have received a number of emails. Most are from Ghanaians - some of whom
have expressed apologies and sympathy, and others who have been highly
critical of my action, including the use of profanity and physical threats.
The organisers have had plenty of time to address my issues, but remain
silent. But let me state that my grievances with Panafest are only the
tip of the iceberg. The event is very poorly organised and it is not me
alone who has complaints. The vendors at the 2009 edition were charged
substantial fees as exhibitors and then promised hordes of tourists. At
the same time, the organisers seemed to put more importance in making sure
no one can enter the grounds of the bazaar without paying a fee. As a result
very few tourists patronised the bazaar and the vendors were sorely disappointed.
But don't take my word for it - listen to what they themselves have to
here for a 5 minute video.
|Robert Burch - (former) Webmaster
for the Panafest website for the years 2001 to 2008,