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FILE PHOTO: Val "Young Bull" Cuffy
FILE PHOTO: Val "Young Bull" Cuffy

The Bull is back.

Seven years after his last run at the Dominica Festivals Committee (DFC) ended in a scene reminiscent of a corrida, Val "Young Bull" Cuffy is back at the state-run organization, albeit on a short-term basis.

"I have not returned to the DFC," Cuffy told The Sun, emphasizing the short term nature of his engagement. "I am a consultant… until mid-March, as soon as carnival is over."

During his brief tenure Cuffy will "basically move the carnival programme forward, to assist with the planning, and to implement the day-to-day work to ensure carnival is a success", according to Colin Piper, the chief executive officer of Discover Dominica, the tourist board which oversees the DFC, which itself has been without a leader since St Lucian Claudine Springer quit last August, just two months after taking up the post saying she no longer considered herself fit for the position, and she wanted to preserve her happiness.

This is the second brief engagement of the former DFC boss by his previous employers, coming on the heels of a similar arrangement for the World Creole Music Festival (WCMF) last November.

Then, as now, his role was to organize a successful event, which many agreed he did, although Cuffy was not prepared to pat himself on the back.

"You have to ask them that," he said referring to the authorities, when asked if they were happy with the way he had managed the WCMF.

While this is only a brief encounter and not a full-time return, the fact that Cuffy was even invited to assist is itself an interesting revelation. Back in April 2010, Cuffy stepped out of the virtual bullring, ending a rather tempestuous relationship with the DFC, an organization he had run since 2006.

Those close to him described his treatment back then as something akin to being corralled for a long time, then transported along a narrow cobbled street to the bullring for slaughter, a banderilla already thrust deep into his neck.

Two years earlier, as executive director of what was then the Dominica Festivals Commission, Cuffy had been sent packing in a rather unceremonious manner.

"The permanent secretary called Val into her office and told him to pack his bag because Cabinet has decided he was to go," a source told The Sun at the time.

However, two months later, Cuffy was back as "head bull" of the revamped DFC in the role of events director.

Still there were reports of constant clashes between Cuffy and Piper, and, having had enough, he quit in order to avoid the traditional conclusion of a bullfight: a sword piecing him.

All these years later, the reconciliation is almost complete, the bullfights are over and a less temperamental and more reflective Cuffy is doing something he loves.

"As somebody who led the DFC for three to four years, he certainly was competent to do the job," Piper told The Sun of Young Bull's reengagement.

In fact, there are people in high places who want Cuffy back on a more permanent basis, according to a source familiar with the thinking of Robert Tonge, the minister of tourism, to whom Discover Dominica reports.

However, while the Bull is interested, he does not want to return as executive director of the DFC, and would likely accept longer term consultancies, the source told The Sun.

Cuffy himself would not discuss the possibility of a long-term arrangement.

"I cannot say that yet. I work under my GFC syndrome - God, family and country - so whenever the country calls I am willing to serve," he said.

While neither Cuffy nor Piper was willing to disclose the Bull's compensation package, with Piper stating Discover Dominica did not comment on compensation "as a matter of policy", a source told The Sun Cuffy had asked the DFC to make a contribution to the Roman Catholic cathedral building fund as payment for his services for the World Creole Music Festival.

As for the current engagement, the two sides are yet to discuss compensation, and Cuffy may well make a similar request, one source said.


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