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Machel: Bmobile was just a 'fringe benefit'...

By Nigel Telesford

Reigning Power and Groovy Soca Monarch and Road March King, Machel Montano, says he's focused on his upcoming album and annual concert, Machel Monday, and will not be distracted by Telecommunication Services of Trinidad and Tobago's (TSTT) decision to sever its sponsorship relationship with him.

There have been calls from many sectors of society in recent weeks for the State-owned company to cut ties with Montano after he was found guilty on four charges of assault, and another of obscence language, arising out of an altercation outside the Zen nightclub in Port of Spain in 2007.

Scheduled to perform at the annual 'Soca in bSquare' free midday concert yesterday, Montano was instead replaced by KI & JMC 3Veni and D Unit Band, even as TSTT sent out an official release about the decision to the media.

Speaking on Next 99.1FM yesterday morning, Montano said the matter was not on his list of priorities this week. He added that his focus was on the major shows that he would be performing in and described the endorsement as a "fringe benefit".

Montano said his job is to "stay focused to make people jump, dance and smile" and added that he is focused on making sure that his Machelements album will be out on "Machel Monday" (February 4).

With public sentiment seemingly in support of the move by TSTT and many fans disenchanted by his recent conviction and postponed sentencing, Montano's drive to achieve his immediate goals could be adversely affected, but the triple crown winner says he is maintaining an optimistic view.

In an interview on CTV's First Up programme yesterday, Montano said: "You know I am a person I play things forward. So I would look at a scenario and I will say if it went this way, it will go A. If it went that way, it will go B. If it went the right way, it will go down the middle.

"You know and sometimes you cannot be quick to rush to judgment because sometimes a curse could be a blessing. And for me, this business and this situation, I understand where people are at. You know sometimes you look for your fans. Right now, my real focus is on my fans and I try to block out all the negative because I have a job at hand. My first job was to bring a very good album, I think that was executed."

Montano has been connected to the bmobile brand from as far back as 2006 and even signed a brand new endorsement deal with the company last year.

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