Sun | Apr 18, 2021

‘Enough is enough’ Bunny’s son wails

Reveals Jah B’s 2020 earnings

Published:Tuesday | April 6, 2021 | 12:19 AMYasmine Peru/Senior Gleaner Writer
Bunny Wailer in performance at Rebel Salute 2014.
Bunny Wailer in performance at Rebel Salute 2014.
Bunny Wailer was a strong advocate for the legalisation of marijuana.
Bunny Wailer was a strong advocate for the legalisation of marijuana.
Bunny Wailer
Bunny Wailer
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Following some of the financial affairs of Bunny Wailer being exposed in the public sphere, his son and co-executor of his estate, Abijah Asadenaki Livingston, is seeking to separate fact from fiction. He blasted what he said “seems to be a calculated plot, with the looming importance of burying my father and avoiding public humiliation”. He declared, however, that “children of the Most High can never walk in shame”.

In a statement sent to The Gleaner titled ‘Enough is enough’, and also posted to social media, he revealed the exact figures relating to his father’s earnings for 2020, and provided “more clarification regarding the narrative surrounding my father, the Hon Neville O’Riley Livingston, and the state of his affairs concerning his medical bills and funeral”. Livingston also took time to point out that since his father’s passing, he and his older siblings have accepted the responsibility of caring for their younger sisters, the last of whom is 13, and mentioned also that they have made attempts to get a payment plan for the outstanding hospital bill.

He said, “During this difficult period, I am extremely grateful that my siblings and I are united. The fact that my older siblings and I have stepped up to the responsibility of supporting our younger siblings, including my father’s 13-year-old daughter, honours the spirit of Jah B. As hard-working individuals, responsible for our own families, we have tried to establish a payment plan with Medical Associates, but they are demanding full payment due to their history of patients not clearing up their accounts. It doesn’t feel right to owe this institution, as I truly appreciate the top-class service of their staff, especially now that I know funds are available.”

These funds refer to Bunny Wailer’s earnings for 2020 from SoundExchange, which is a non-profit collective rights management company, described as the “sole organisation designated by the US Congress to collect and distribute digital performance royalties for sound recording”.

“Neville O’Riley Livingston’s 2020 tax return from SoundExchange Inc reveals a gross annual income of US$203,095, equivalent to over $25,000,000. This is the total from monthly deposits and represents the income from just one of his several royalty distributors. When we discovered this information we were shocked, as it did not reflect the narrative being told to us,” he said

DEPOSITS TO ACCOUNT

He and his siblings contacted SoundExchange Inc on March 25 and were informed about deposits for 2021, which included US$10,174.41 on February 26 and $30,005.61 on March 25. This, he said, was made to the same account to which the company has always deposited funds.

“In total [it] can cover my father’s J$5,275,763.61, or US$35,545.46 medical bills,” JahB’s son said.

Livingston also touched on the subject of a record deal with VP Records. “My siblings and I are not against any deal with VP Records. However, with the responsibility that my father has entrusted me as an executor, I cannot blindly sign any agreement concerning his intellectual property without reviewing the details of the contract, especially knowing how protective my father was of his works,” he explained, adding that he has not received a copy of the contract for review and neither has his lawyer.

He mentioned his father’s former manager, Maxine Stowe, whose team had earlier revealed the exact figure of one his father’s medical bill, and pointed out that bills have also been unpaid from July-October, 2020.

Stowe’s attorney, Roderick Gordon, to whom she referred The Gleaner, said, “I do not wish to comment in any way on my involvement in the Bunny Wailer estate”. He added, “I met Jah B in 2009 or 2010 when he came to my chambers and I have also been consulted on matters to do with intellectual property. Jah B has been unwell, following a stroke and residual impairment, which necessitated treatment locally and internationally. But I am not in a position to speak on costs. Miss Stowe is close to Jah B and has conducted business for him. There are a lot of things being aired in the public that are private matters, so I will leave it there,” Gordon said.

He chided persons for what he called “a lack of reverence” which has permeated this situation.

Abijah, who is also a singer, stated, “We are calling on the Jamaican authorities to assist us in resolving this issue.”

Bunny Wailer passed away on March 2 at the Medical Associates Hospital in Kingston.

yasmine.peru@gleanerjm.com