The rift between the Grenada Progressive Calypso Association (GPCA) and the Grenada Professional Association of Calypsonians and Tents (GPACT) appears to be widening.
Jerry Baptiste who is known in the calypso arena as “Papa Jerry” disclosed that moves to have both associations speak with one voice since last year are not progressing.
Baptiste who is associated with GPCA told a radio programme on Monday that it was difficult to reach some of the people who were supposed to be members of the executive of the new organisation.
He spoke of eight times Calypso King, Edson “Ajamu” Mitchell who was one of the Calypsonians making the call for one body for calypsonians, declining a position on the executive.
”We planned this thing that we’re going to go forward with one organisation – low and behold everybody just start pulling (back) individually, and this thing now (is) squashed,” he said.
Baptiste is urging Minister of Culture, Senator Brenda Hood to make it mandatory in law that no two organisation would be heard and entertained by her Office, unless both calypso associations unite.
The artiste believes this is the only way to have the matter settled between the two factions.
The spilt in the calypso association took place in 2001.
Baptiste urged the Calypsonians who are members of both associations to demand that both bodies come together to form one association in the interest of the artform.
The Calypsonian who is known as the “Fire Man” lashed out at his fellow Calypsonian, Findley “Scholar” Jeffrey for calling for the replacement of Isha Antoine as the Representative of calypsonians on the Spicemas Corporation (SMC).
Scholar told a television programme last week that Andrews’ three-year term on SMC has come to an end, and that she continues representing the calypso fraternity illegally. The seven times Calypso Monarch said a letter was sent by G-PACT to Sen. Hood asking that Events Planner, Sylvan Chan be appointed as the new representative, but the minister has failed to act.
“It is time for Scholar and these guys and them who we see as people who (are) supposed to have some kind of stature and some kind of prominence in music here to stop this bickering and stop this petty-like fish market vendor thing and only quarrelling over nothing.
Up to now I have not seen what Scholar and these guys have done for the upliftment and the betterment of calypso”, Papa Jerry said.
“I haven’t seen it from Ajamu, I haven’t seen it from Scholar, I haven’t seen it from Black Wizard, I haven’t seen it from none of these so-called iconic figures that we put on this pedestal like they are God’s gift to the artform,” he added.
Baptiste accused the former monarchs of not doing anything to lift the artform except to rape it.
Baptiste also had a tongue-lashing for Ajamu.
He said he sees Ajamu as being on a personal venture and that he is not someone who is really trying to uplift the culture.
The seasoned artiste believes the gripe that GPACT has with Antoine is based on the selection of judges for the various calypso competitions.
He stated that when the Judges Association was responsible for the selection of judges it was felt by some artiste that there was not a level playing field, and the “lesser artistes” were at a disadvantage.
“The adjudication over the years has not been a fair process,” he quipped.
It is believed that Papa Jerry was one of the Calypsonians who influenced the Keith Mitchell Administration to have foreign judges adjudicate the calypso competitions in 2007.
GPACT felt it was a political move on the part of the government to bring in foreign judges to adjudicate the calypso competitions in 2007 in order to stifle Calypsonians who sing biting political commentary that was not in favour with the administration.
The association filed an application before High Court Judge Justice Kenneth Benjamin claiming that the Grenada Cultural Foundation (GCF) had acted outside of its jurisdiction in making the decision to use foreign judges.
Justice Benjamin ruled in favour of GPACT, ordering the Attorney General’s Office to provide the organisation with the relevant information pertaining to the country of origin, experience and character references of the judges that were being used to judge the calypso competitions.
GPACT felt that there were procedural breaches committed in the appointment of the regional judges.
The group claimed that it was not informed about the origin of the judges nor was it provided with information about their qualifications.