Ten days’ work for Douglas Brunton amounted to $14,000. For Brent
Webster, it’s $17,439.84. Brunton and Webster are two members of the
production crew of Caribbean’s Next Top Model who claim they have not
been paid for working for an additional ten days on the Wendy
Three weeks after the show premiered on TV6, amid much publicity for the
former beauty queen turned producer, the crew is demanding payment from
Fitzwilliam. And in a bid to claim their earnings, the crew, including
the technical team as well as service providers, is threatening legal
action to recoup money that they say is still owed to them.
The directors of Caribe NTM are Fitzwilliam and her sister Dionyse.
Fitzwilliam is host of the show and the sisters share the executive
producer title. The show is sponsored by TSTT/LIME, Caribbean Airlines,
Sasha Cosmetics, Blue Waters, Domino’s Pizza, Micles, Galleria and the
The crew told the Sunday Guardian they worked on the production from
October 10 to November 20, 2011. They claim they were originally
contracted to work for 30 days but when the scheduled period was up and
production was not completed, they were asked to continue for ten extra
days. However, they were only paid for 30 days and payment on the extra
ten days remains outstanding.
“We were brought in for a 30-day shoot and on the 28th or 29th day we
realised we had to go over the time,” said Brunton, who worked as the
lead story producer and writer on the show. “A meeting was held with the
executive producer and Ian Royer (creative director) on behalf of
Caribe NTM and we were told we would have to work an additional ten
days. I got paid for the 30 days but I haven’t been paid for the ten.
They owe me $14,000.
“I am a freelancer,” he added. “I live hand to mouth. I was promised a
down payment, never got it. I was avoiding my landlord, bailiffs. I was
under severe pressure. The $14,000 that they owe me will go a long way.”
Webster, who worked as the technical producer, says he is owed
“Dionyse and Wendy said in August that they are in talks and when the
show airs everybody would be paid. When the show aired I gave them a
call, but: nothing.” CNTM is currently on its third episode and apart
from T&T, shows throughout the Caribbean on CaribVision and CBS
affiliate One Caribbean Television.
In addition to the crew, two service providers are also claiming they
are owed money. Robin Foster, who worked as the head sound person, told
the Sunday Guardian he is still owed $21,000 for equipment rental, while
Steve Hosein, who says he supplied food to all the locations where the
show was filmed, is owed $60,000.
“I put out money for two and a half months to feed the crew. I was paid
$9,000 but they owe me $60,000 still. I’ve called and called, written
letters, spoken to Wendy, Shane Ram (the director of Business
Development for Caribe NTM, who was mainly responsible for HR issues and
“It is totally demoralising. I went ahead and borrowed money and paid my
staff. I owe people, I have credit card debt,” he says. Danielle
Dieffenthaller, who was the director of the production and was
responsible for the crew, says out of 60 crew members, only eight were
paid right away.
“There are people who were paid the 40 days, so any conversation about
them [the producers] not knowing about the 40 days is negated by that.”
She says at a meeting on December 5 the crew members were all given
post-dated run over
Workers claim they’re still owed
...for the Wendy Fitzwilliam-produced show cheques to cover the initial
30-day contract. However, the cheques bounced. In an e-mail dated
December 12, Dionyse explained that the account had not been funded.
“The Scotia TT account has not yet been funded, but will be shortly and
you will be advised. We apologise for the delay and understand that
people have commitments and there are certain suppliers etcetera who are
still to be paid, so we are working on this real time,” she wrote.
Dieffenthaller says payments were eventually made on December 23, 2011
but before that she sought her attorney’s counsel when, she says, the
producers tried to renegotiate the contracts.
Dieffenthaller held on to the footage, demanding Caribe NTM pay the
money owed, and says security guards were sent to seize the footage.
After a four-month battle, in which the T&T Film Company was called
in to mediate, Dieffenthaller was paid all her money and she handed over
“Dionyse said they didn’t have money but they needed the footage to get
investors and then they would be able to pay us,” claims Amir Mohammed,
who worked on the production as a locations manager and assistant
director. He says he is owed his ten days plus compensation for bills
accrued. When contacted via Facebook, Royer declined to comment, saying:
“Due to the confidentialities I signed, I am unable to make a comment.”
Fitzwilliam, on the other hand, remains unapologetic. While she
acknowledges that the crew did work for the period to finish the
production, she says there was no agreement to pay for the extra ten
days. She says neither Dieffenthaller nor Royer—who resigned on December
9, 2011—was authorised to make such decisions.
She points to a clause in Dieffenthaller’s contract which says: “The
contractor shall have no authority, either expressed or implied, to
enter into any such agreements or contracts on behalf of the company or
to otherwise bind the company in any way.”
She says her sister told the group that payment had to be discussed.
“There was never any decision by the executive with regard to the ten
days.” When asked why the crew was allowed to continue filming, she
said, “At the end of the 30 days they could have walked away, but they
chose to stay.”
Wendy says apart from Dieffenthaller and her assistant Alastair Waithe, no one else had a signed contract.
Dieffenthaller drew up revised contracts for all of the rest of the
crew when the 30 days were up. She sent them via e-mail to Dionyse on
December 5, writing: “This is the spreadsheet with which I am working.
It is the one based on the contracts from November 12, which was the
last day of the initial contract. I negotiated with some people until
November 22 and others preferred to keep their initial date and
negotiate the ten days at the end.
“Based on a discussion with yourself, Shane and Ian, it was agreed that
you would pay people the extra ten days two weeks after this initial
payment. I recall us calculating that it would take us to the 22nd of
Admitting that she was busy in her role as on-air talent and didn’t
realise what was happening behind the scenes until late, Fitzwilliam
accuses Dieffenthaller of going over budget on the production and blames
Waithe, who was the production manager, for not keeping track of the
Fitzwilliam also reveals that after getting her sister to buy and rent
equipment in the US for US$175,000 and assuring nothing else was needed,
Dieffenthaller handed them an invoice of $58,000 for equipment rented
from her own company Diefferent Style Production, that they knew nothing
about. The invoice, which Fitzwilliam showed to the Sunday Guardian, is
dated November 22, 2011.
She also claims that if the service providers could produce
documentation that shows they performed their particular service, they
would be paid. Kalloo’s, which provided transportation, was paid, she
On the issue of the caterer, Fitzwilliam counters that Hosein had no
contract and nothing to prove he delivered food to any of the locations.
However, the Sunday Guardian received an e-mail showing receipts signed
by Princess Donelan, first assistant director, for collecting the items
‘I would like to pay the crew’
Saying neither she nor some of the on-air talent have been paid,
Fitzwilliam says despite everything, she would like to pay the crew. “We
are working towards it, cause they gave blood. The cameramen were
amazing; they gave blood and were delightful to work with. “We all
wanted this project to work and what happened in this context was
She says her payment and any further payment to the crew would be based
on the success of the show, post-production of which was done by Blue
Collar Productions in the Los Angeles. “The crew or anyone else
destroying it would be a loss to us and the Caribbean,” Fitzwilliam
commented. Meanwhile, the crew members are considering filing an
injunction against the show if their money is not paid.
Crunching the numbers
Fitzwilliam says Dieffenthaller’s initial budget was $750,000 but by the
end it was revised to over $1 million. A summary of estimated budget
costs that Dieffenthaller submitted on October 1, 2011, shows the
estimated budget to be $935,453 and the working costs to be $1,300,148.
A look at the accounts from then accountant Eileen Cogdell shows accrual
expenditure—that is, expenses incurred between July 1, 2011 and
February 1, 2012—was actually $3,362,036.61 out of the $9,582,492
Rohan Marley recently sat down with OPEN magazine
and gave a very candid interview about his relationship with the mother
of five of his children, Grammy winning artist, Lauryn Hill.
The 40-year-old entrepreneur and former footballer dished on his most
recent break-up with ex-fiancé and Brazilian model, Isabeli Fontana,
his ten year relationship with Hill (which ended in 2011) and the fact
that he regrets not showing Lauryn how much he loved her.
Rohan, who has remained rather quiet about his relationship with
Lauryn over the years, also spoke about the former couple’s split in an
interview a few months back.
During his interview with OPEN magazine, Rohan briefly touched on his recent broken engagement to Isabeli Fontana as well.