Foreign Judges for local competition

Local calypsonians will have to brace themselves since the authorities are planning to bring in foreign judges for this year’s calypso competition.

Minister of Culture Senator Brenda Hood who made the disclosure said that the calypso competition which is an integral part of Spicemas will be adjudicated by foreigners.

However, Minister Hood who recently became a full-fledged Cabinet Minister did not give details.

Foreign judges were first brought in to judge the local competition during the reign of the 2003-08 New National Party (NNP) when Minister Hood was also a senior Cabinet minister.

The competition was boycotted by a number of top calypsonians who felt that the then Keith Mitchell-led government was trying to get judges to rule in favour of those calypsonians who were known to be anti-government in their lyrics.

In addition, the pro-NNP singers were claiming that the local calypso association was controlled by persons who were supportive of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Last year, foreign judges were brought in to judge the Dimanche Gras competition much to the dismay of the local Judges association.

Former calypso monarch, Findley Jeffery whose stage name is Scholar, at the end of the competition, spoke of the judges who came from Trinidad and Tobago not being aware of the issues that were contain in the local calypso.

Sen. Hood who was a guest on GBN’s “To the Point Program” also voiced her concern about the growing number of J’ouvert activities taking place around the island.

She said when there are too many J’ouvet celebrations this will create some problem for persons who have to take part in other carnival activities.

This, according to Minister Hood is something that is currently being discussed at the Spicemas management level.

The annual Carnival celebrations is due to be officially launched next week Saturday (May 31).

Carnival planners had earlier announced that the theme chosen for SpiceMas 2014 was “Uniquely Rooted In Our Ancestral Tradition: Spicemas, The Mecca Of Soca and Calypso.”
The chosen theme has sparked off many debates in the country which has now resulted in the Spicemas Corporation being forced to return to the drawing board to do some modification.

Speculation is rife that some local calypso pundits took objection to the theme on the grounds that Trinidad and Tobago, which has a more spectacular carnival, is already known at the international level, as the mecca of soca and kaiso in the English-speaking Caribbean.

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