'Ubiquitous' costume debacle
Road March Sunday was almost a disaster for some revellers marching with the Bacchanal Jamaica band. Those who purchased carnival packages from Ubiquitous Jamaica were disadvantaged by costumes falling apart, delayed costume deliveries, and, in some cases, no delivery at all.
Soliel Reid, a Jamaican visiting from the United States, complained about an ill-fitting bra and her unsuccessful attempts to contact the section's designer. "This bra isn't my size! When I dance, I have to do this," she said, using her hand to cover her cleavage. "I even upgraded my costume to front line, and I didn't get my backpack," she continued.
"It was not Bacchanal costumes falling apart, but those of Ubiquitous Jamaica who were marching with Bacchanal. Bacchanal has never not delivered. People count on that with us," director of Bacchanal Jamaica Michael Ammar told The Gleaner. He added, "If I were those people, I'd be very upset."
To uphold their decades-long reputation, Ammar revealed that those revellers were invited to the Bacchanal band house as late as Sunday morning in an attempt to salvage the day.
"We're in the process of trying to help them. Even though they are not part of Bacchanal Jamaica, they were marching with us. We intervened to fix the situation. We opened up and found whatever we could. We stepped in and gave them costumes and armbands and tried to make it right. If we knew about it the night before, it may have been smoother," he said.
Late Saturday night, complaints of the delayed delivery of Ubiquitous Jamaica costumes reached the director's ears. After enquiring, Ammar was assured that those costumes would be delivered. "We had to rely on that information, that everything was going to be OK."
However, Ammar learnt the true extent of the issues on Sunday morning after arriving at Sovereign Centre the starting point of the Bacchanal Jamaica road march.
The Bacchanal director had the band house reopened that morning to accommodate the revellers' collection of costumes, T-shirts, and armbands "[We used] whatever we could find, to make sure the folks enjoyed the day. We were able to get them all into a costume. Otherwise, it would have been a disaster," he said.
Nonetheless, Ammar reports that the group still managed to have a good time. Ammar also relayed an apology from Bacchanal Jamaica to those who were deprived of the promised Ubiquitous experience.
Breach of contract
Attorney-at-law Matthew Ricketts, asked to comment on the issue, said, "It's a simple breach of contract. They would have paid for a service or the item, for them to make a costume and deliver it at a certain time. The costume was or was not made, and/or was never delivered, therefore it's a straight breach of contract." He said that based on the amount of money involved, it would be a parish court matter.
"In any event, what he has to do is pay them back the money; refund them for it. No way you can go around that taking the money but not delivering the costume. So, it's really simple in that regard," he said.
We were unable to contact the founders of the Ubiquitous Jamaica section up to press time.