Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell says he did not influence the decision of the judges to award the 2014 calypso monarch title to the island’s most decorated kaiso artiste, Edson “Ajamu” Mitchell.
The Prime Minister used the last sitting of Parliament to scoff at accusations made that he and the ruling New National Party (NNP) administration made sure that the judges ruled in favour of “Ajamu” to help him win the title for a record eighth time.
“I attended the Calypso competition and of course listened to many of the calypsos. I understand it was said that I helped to influence the judges’ decision. Mr. Speaker, I have no skills in the artform, so I can’t influence anyone”, he told Parliament.
“In fact, I won’t want to influence, because, Mr. Speaker, remember for 13 years calypsonians spent their entire time singing on me. In fact it is said that if I withdraw from politics some (calypsonians) would not be able to compete again”, he said.
Prime Minister Mitchell did not call any calypsonian by name but Seven time monarch winner, Scholar has often penned a number of biting political commentaries against the NNP regime.
The Prime Minister told the sitting of Parliament: “…Since they spend their time singing and winning crown on me, it cannot be said that I’m trying to influence the decision. In fact the more they sing on me is the stronger the NNP get, so I recognise this. So Mr. Speaker all I would say is (I want) to compliment all calypsonians for their wonderful service to the country as a whole”.
Another local newspaper that is known to be close to the Mitchell regime quoted veteran calypsonian, Randy Isaac as saying that he believed that the current leaders brought back Ajamu into the competition to crown him as the island’s calypso monarch.
There are unconfirmed reports that Isaac who is a regular singer on the NNP political platform during election campaigns met with PM Mitchell to express his concerns about the judges’ decision in the calypso competition.
Isaac could not be reached to confirm reports that he told the Prime Minister that many persons consider him as a “frontline calypsonian” for the NNP at political rallies and that he feared better financially in competitions when the rival National Democratic Congress (NDC) was in power.
According to the source, Isaac is alleged to have told PM Mitchell that he was not happy since he and several calypsonians have been doing the work for the NNP over the years and that Ajamu who did nothing to aid the party at the polls was brought back home from the United States to be crowned as the new calypso monarch.
THE NEW TODAY also understands that another NNP frontline calypso singer, Inspector has vowed to stay away from the political platforms in future since that might have affected his professional career.
Inspector has also complained that the organisation of the 2014 carnival season by the Spicemas Corporation was the worst he had ever witnessed in his over 20 year career.
In the lead up to the Calypso Monarch competition held on August 10 at the National Stadium, rumours circled throughout the country that the Mitchell-led administration was putting structures in place to make sure that calypso monarch crown was placed on the head of Ajamu and not Findley “Scholar” Jeffrey who has been accused of being close to Congress.
Ajamu also commented on the controversy when he was questioned by reporters at the end of the Dimanche Gras show.
The new monarch said he changed his mind about picconging on “Scholar” during his performance after listening to the accusation of his main rival that the Mitchell regime had brought him (Ajamu) back to Grenada to get the crown.
According to Ajamu, he felt that the diatribe from Scholar was not worth his time and energy on the stage.
He said that his decision to return to Grenada and participate in the competition was backed by his family and did not involve the politicians.
“When I listened to Scholar, I think this brother, he is off the rail. This whole thing about Ajamu (coming back because of politicians), he’s missing the concept. Ajamu is not that – what you are saying – this whole thing about the government bring me down to give me crown (is not true)”, he remarked.
“This was my plan (to come back home), this was my initiative. I sat down with my family and they gave me the green light to come here, he said.
The Scholar Camp is said to be pointing an accusing finger at some powerful forces who were able to manipulate the judging process by allegedly selecting five of the seven judges used on the night from the Eastern side of the country where Ajamu is located.
Scholar has also alleged that the selection of the judges were not done in keeping with directive given a few years ago by a high court judge that the persons must be selected from among the Association that groups judges on the island.
Ajamu walked away with the crown and the cash prize of EC$35,000.00 on offer with his two songs – “When Calypso was Calypso” and “Tune in You Rukunkutuntun” to win by 38 points from “Scholar” who sang,
“This Is The Promise Land” and “Asphalt”.