Director of Calypso at the Spicemas Corporation (SMC), Silvan Chan, has cleared the air surrounding the hotly debated issue of whether or not a standby artise should be selected for the three major shows at the annual carnival – soca, groovy and calypso competitions.
Prior to last year, a standby was never judged but served the purpose of being there on the night of competition just in case one of the competitors was forced to withdraw from the competition.
In an exclusive interview with THE NEW TODAY on Tuesday, Chan said that a change to the format came about as a result of a “new arrangement” between the Calypso Associations and SMC.
The agreement, he said that came into being since 2016 is for the standby in all three shows to be included as a competitor in the final round of the contest.
“Because you have standby(s) who are being provided with an appearance fee (without competing), it is believed that preparation is not being done in terms of the standby (actually) competing in the competition like the others, yet still they are being given an appearance fee”, he told this newspaper.
“So it was decided to let them (the standby(s) compete and work for the appearance fee,” Sylvan said, noting that “most of the time, a standby doesn’t do anything but come on stage and appear after the competition and collect equal amount of money as the others.”
According to Chan, the decision to “eliminate the naming of (a) standby would ensure that they are part of the competition, so at least they would show some level of representation for the appearance fee that they would be receiving”.
He pointed out that this trend has taken root in some other Caribbean countries such as neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago.
Director Chan was not in a position to disclose to THE NEW TODAY the amount of monies paid out as appearance fees to those standby artistes.
It is also understood that the SMC was able for the second year in a row to pay appearance fees on the same night as the semi-final round of the three competitions.
Chan also spoke to THE NEW TODAY about another arrangement between the Carriacou Carnival Committee and the SMC.
He said: “The Calypso, Groovy and Soca Monarchs from the sister isle of Carriacou are automatically entered into the national Calypso, Groovy and Soca monarch finals…making it unnecessary for them to go through the preliminaries”.
This year the monarch winners from the sister isle were Gerard “Slatta” John, the reigning Carriacou Soca Monarch, Groovy King, Matthew “Gold’n” Thomas and Calypso Monarch, Anderson “Leftist” Matheson.
According to Chan, these three monarchs “would come straight into the final stage of competition”.
The major carnival shows in Spicemas 2017 will be held from August 10 until Dimanche Gras night on August 13.