Machel and his mother Elizabeth Montano at Club Zen in 2007
at Machel Montano’s Appreciation Ceremony
April 26, 2007
In the aftermath of the Akon and Danah scandal at Club Zen, new reports have surfaced of another controversy/incident at the club in which Soca giants Machel Montano, Kernel Roberts and Benjai have been questioned by police. According to reports, twenty-five year old Russell Pollonais of Princess Town was the victim of a physical attack involving Machel Montano and members of his entourage around 2:30 this morning. According to a female relative of Pollonais, he and a group of friends, some visiting from England, went to the Zen Night Club on Wednesday night to celebrate an upcoming wedding when the incident occured.
Pollonais, now warded at the Port of Spain General Hospital, was allegedly hit in the head several times after he went to assist his friends outside the club. The sequence of the reports so far are contradictory.
One source indicates that a group of British nationals numbering about fourteen were at club Zen when one of them accidentally spilled a drink on a female who was dancing with Montano. Machel Montano reportedly slapped the person in the face. The brawl later moved outside the Zen building when Pollonais, in an attempt to help his friend, was slammed against a vehicle several times, thrown to the ground and beaten. Police have taken a statement from Mr. Pollonais from his hospital bed, but the details of the report are yet to be released.
The CNC3 report, unlike what TV6 presented, initially stated that the drink was spilled, not on the girl but on Machel Montano. This report also stated that Pollonais was allegedly beaten by Montano and others. It is said that the Soca artistes involved are to be questioned and statements taken as it may involve charges being laid by the seriously injured Pollonais.
A cousin of Russell Pollonais added another dimension to the story in a CNC3 interview later on in the programme. She had this to say:
“Some drinks fell on the young lady that Machel was dancing with. Machel was leaning against the bar… the lady, her back was to him and they were dancing. I don’t know what she told Machel, but then Machel slapped my cousin and punched my cousin in his jaw…all his people started coming to us and we started going to them. Nothing actually broke out there other than that in the club.”
The group of fourteen, nine females and five males, were then escorted by club bouncers to the exit foyer where owner Johnny Soong tried to get details on the incident, according to the female relative. She said that they were accosted again as they were making their way to the maxi taxi they hired.
She then said, “Some of the girls from England, went back to apologize to Machel just to make the peace and then Rus [Russell] goes back [by Machel] to call them because we just wanted to put an end to the whole thing and as he goes to call him, [he started] shouting [and] calling the girls to come and then they all charge on him; Zen bouncers, Machel bouncers, Machel, Benjai, Kernel Roberts, all of them. Next thing you know, he’s on the ground…bleeding from the head.”
The victim’s cousin then said those responsible quickly drove off away from the scene and Pollonais had to be taken to hospital by ambulance where he remains warded for observation.
Elizabeth Montano, the mother of Soca star Machel Montano, did not give an official take on the issue from the Montano camp. Her only comment so far on the issue was that she was not present at the affair and may possess bias because she is Machel Montano’s mother, hence her silence.
Johnny Soong, owner of the controversial club Zen was also questioned today and spent just under an hour at the Belmont Police Station this afternoon. Soong told reporters, “We are cooperating with all police investigations that they have for whatever they are investigating. We are cooperating fully and we stand to cooperate for anything that they need to find out.” He gave no more details about the incident saying, “That is a subject of police investigations so I really cannot comment on that at this point.”
Details of the full report remain sketchy but doctors say Pollonais remains in serious condition.
UPDATE: April, 27, 2007
Injured Brandis Brown Speaks About Brawl at Zen
Brandis Brown, another injured party in the brawl in club Zen around 2:30 a.m. yesterday morning involving Machel Montano and his entourage, gave his account of what transpired in the club.
Speaking on CN3 news, Brandis said an eighteen year old was slapped after he accidentally spilled a drink on a female friend of the Soca artiste. He explained,
“I saw Machel, so I asked him, ‘Why you slap the young boy for?’ If you see the young boy…he is eighteen years and he is no big fella. And with that Machel asked me, ‘You were f***king there?’ and started approaching me; he and everybody who was with him. Next thing he hit me with, I think, a glass he had in his hand. He hit me with it and everybody else jumped in and started beating me.”
Brandis said he tried to run, and was followed by a group of about fourteen men. He is still nursing a red eye from being hit with the glass and has other bruises. He said his friend, Russell Pollonais, was beaten when he tried to save him. Russell remains hospitalized.
Attorney Ramlagon who was retained as council for the injured parties, said he intends to get justice for the young men. Mr. Ramlogan said,
“I would be filing a civil claim against all those who brutalized Brandis and his friend for damages, for assault and battery, for the injuries they inflicted upon these two young fellas in circumstances where it was totally avoidable, totally unnecessary and they take good advantage of them.”
On TV6 news, Machel Montano said that he would issue a statement following his busy schedule this weekend. He said any recording of the incident would show that he did not hit anyone. Machel is performing at the Plymouth Jazz Festival and he is also carded to perform at the closing ceremony of World Cup Cricket in Barbados.
Investigations into the incident are continuing.
NEWS UPDATE: April, 28, 2007
‘Let DPP do his job’
Brandis Brown, one of the people involved in the alleged fracas at Zen nightclub, said yesterday he has been approached by interested parties to settle the affair and prevent it from reaching court.
Beaten patron still warded at PoS hospital
RUSSEL POLLONAIS remained in satisfactory condition at the Port of Spain General Hospital yesterday.
Beaten men to take legal action
ATTORNEY Anand Ramlogan has been retained by two young men who claim they were beaten by a group of soca artistes during a brawl over a spilled drink at Zen nightclub on Thursday morning…
NEWS UPDATE: April, 29, 2007
Machel ‘defended’ himself
SOCA STAR Machel Montano yesterday emphatically denied allegations made against him of violent actions towards individuals at the Zen nightclub in Port of Spain.
Machel tells his side
In a statement, issued by advertising agency Valdez and Torry International, Montano also denied allegations of violent actions towards anyone at the Zen nightclub on Keate Street, Port-of-Spain, in the early morning hours of April 26…
NEWS UPDATE: May 24, 2007
Artistes face assault charges
Assault charges are expected to be laid against four popular entertainers today. They are also expected to be charged with using obscene language and assault occasioning bodily harm. The charges stemmed from a fracas outside a Port-of-Spain nightclub.
Cops take action in nightclub fracas
Charges are expected to be laid against four people in the April 26 Zen nightclub fracas which involved soca superstar Machel Montano, his entourage and a group of patrons.
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