Filandi wins CCF Ribena Junior Calypso Monarch

Ribena Junior C…pso MonarchOut of a cast of 11 young calypsonians, Filandi Jeffery captured the CCF Ribena Junior Calypso Monarch crown with his tune, “Don’t call me a big man”.

The youngster who attends Mac Donald College in St. Patrick highlighted the negative behaviour of men.

His song dealt with the abuse shown by men to women and little girls, while at the same time appealing for his aunty, and others, to call him small or tall boy but not big man.

Young Jeffrey is the son of 2012 calypso monarch, Finley Jeffery “Scholar”.

Filandi walked away with the title, and a cash prize of $2500, sponsored by Ribena represented locally by Geo. F. Huggins & Co. (G’da) Ltd.

The presentation was made by Manager Corporate Marketing, Denise Parke – Langaigne, and George “Porgie” Cherebin, Ribena Brand Manager, at Huggins.

According to Parke-Langaigne, “Huggins is the agent for many wonderful products and her company feels proud to be in a position to assist Spicemas Corporation with our major festival, Carnival, for yet another year”.

“Supporting culture is big on our agenda and we have always been on board with carnival at various level”, she added.

Parke-Langaigne went on to say: “This year, our focus on calypso is part of our plan to associate products of the company that children love, while at the same time helping to build the children’s Carnival Frolic.

“Our sponsorship includes prize monies (inclusive of appearance fees) uniform for the band and background singers accompanying the calypsonians and refreshments”, she said.

Placing 2nd, in the competition last Saturday, was Alana Boca with her rendition, “Ah can’t go back”. Her song spoke of big people interfering with little children. She amassed 235 points.

The 3rd place went to Jolabb Joseph who sang of the need for women to educate themselves, and don’t let a man control their destiny. She too examined the issue of domestic violence and amassed 232 points.

The 2012 winner, Nathan Johnson, who goes by the singing name Nathan Jay, with the selection “Looks can be deceiving”, had to settle for fourth scoring 221 points.

Huggins says it will continue its efforts throughout the carnival season by ensuring patrons are energised with Lucozade, at discounted prices, at all major carnival activities.

The company, for the third consecutive year, will be paying prize money to the winner of the Road March title – “Lucozade king of the road”.

Biko released from jail

Calypsonian Biko Lewis is out of jail.

The former calypso monarch of Chantimelle, St. Patrick’s was incarcerated at the Richmond Hill Prisons after he was found guilty last year on a charge of unlawful carnal knowledge of a 15-year old secondary school girl.

The incident happened on April 17, 2009 at what is known as the Mountain Road in Marli, St. Patrick’s.

Madam Justice Margaret Price Findlay had imposed a 20-month prison sentence on Lewis, who won the National Calypso Monarch titles in 2008 and 2010.

King Scholar is ready

Defending Calypso Monarch, Scholar – I will savagely do my thing

Defending Calypso Monarch, Scholar – I will savagely do my thing

Grenada’s reigning Calypso Monarch, Findlay Jeffrey who goes by the stage name “Scholar” is ready to defend the title he won for the seventh time last year despite being aware of moves by some of his fellow artistes to prevent him from winning on Sunday night.

Scholar who is a secondary school teacher by profession told THE NEW TODAY Newspaper he has taken note of the comments coming out of certain quarters about the need to end his reign.

“I know that the odds are high. I have had the uneasiness in me, I’ve heard people, relevant people in the calypso fraternity, they have a watchword now ‘that is our time,’ and they will do anything to manipulate the judging system because as far as they are concerned, their belief is that we had a time and when it was my time, I manipulated the judging system together with Neil Ferguson,” he said.

Ferguson who is from Chantimelle, St. Patrick’s is one of the persons who assist Scholar with his props on stage.

Ferguson is also a prolific songwriter and recognized as one of the best in the country.

Radio Announcer, Foopy – challenging the King for the title

Radio Announcer, Foopy – challenging the King for the title

The defending Calypso Monarch believes that the attacks being launched on him is due to the fact that he was able to cop the coveted title seven times – the same as King Ajamu, the only two artistes to have achieved that feat.

Scholar attributes his success to his artistry in being able to compose “good songs,” unlike most of his competitors who are now attacking him.

“They are not looking into themselves and writing and producing good songs. They would think that it is not because of their failing, but it is some other external factor,” he said.

According to the defending monarch, he has received information that one of the finalists at Sunday’s Dimanche Gras Show has allegedly gone forward to present a list of judges to the Spicemas Corporation that is headed by Arthur Hosten, a known operative of the ruling New National Party (NNP) Government.

In addition, he said there are also some finalists who are seeking to have foreign judges brought in to judge the local calypso competition.

In the preliminary stage of the competition, two Trinidadians were among the panel of judges.

The defending Monarch has confessed that his fellow artistes are pushing him to the limit.

Carriacou Calypsonian Nashanda – one of the two women in the final

Carriacou Calypsonian Nashanda – one of the two women in the final

“Any time my back is against the wall as they are pushing me, then this is when I am at my most dangerous. I will go into Dimanche Gras and I’ll do my thing, savagely do my thing, savagely put it down,” he said.

Scholar stressed that the moves being made to try and prevent him from capturing the monarch title is nothing new to him.

He recalled that in 2007 foreign judges were brought in to judge the calypso competition and he was able to rise above that and win the crown.

The seven times Calypso Monarch said he is not bothered about the moves being against him, as he has nothing to prove in calypso any more.

He noted that he could proudly stand and say that he is the only Calypsonian to have won the Calypso Monarch Title when Grenadians did not judge the competition.

Scholar will be presenting the songs, “Invoke” and “Cannot Deliver” in the Dimanche Gras show as he seeks to be a part of history in winning the title for an unprecedented eight times.

Scholar is also in the final of the Groovy Competition, which he won on a previous occasion, as well as the National Soca Monarch, which takes place tonight (Friday, August 9).

The defending kaiso monarch said that his decision to take part in the two other competitions is aimed at showcasing the full range of his versatility.

“It’s vintage Scholar in 2013, it’s versatile Scholar in 2013. It is not the Calypsonian Scholar, but the soca and the groovy artist Scholar,” he quipped.

The other finalists in the calypso monarch competition on Sunday night are Sheldon Douglas, Rootsman Kelly, Pappa Jerry, Randy Isaac, Smallies,

Foopy, Sour Serpent, and the two ladies – Nashanda, and Ketura.


Fun-time at CCF

King of the Band, Flashback

King of the Band, Flashback

The spectacle of Spicemas 2013 was showcased last week Saturday as the nation’s children had their time in the annual national cultural activity through the Children’s Carnival Frolic (CCF).

The true aspect of everything relating to Carnival came alive as the various categories were on display through pan, mas and calypso.

Six of the nine local steel bands, which played locally, composed songs presented their junior sides whose ages range between 6 and 19 years, which ensured that the Caribbean’s gift to the world remains alive.

Three of the steel bands came from the Parish of St. John’s, while the other three are from St. George’s.

Although many patrons did not witness their presentations, the junior pan players were very energetic and conscious of their delivery.

For yet another year, the Junior Panorama Championship that was sponsored by the National Lotteries Authority was sealed by Republic Bank Angel Harps for the eighth time.

The Junior Harpers who played “Sweetness” by King Ajamu, which was arranged for pan by Andre Skeete, edged out Coyaba New Dimensions by a mere two points. They scored 280 points.

The band, which was the biggest in the competition, had 87 members and 170 pieces of instrument.

New Dimensions, which took to the stage in position number five with 72 players and 142 pieces of instrument presented Mario Castle’s version of “August Is The Time” as they scored 278 points.

Coyaba New Dimensions had already won the first title of the season, the Bomb Tune. The band last won the junior title in 2004.

The third position was taken by Lime Commancheros from St. Paul’s with 257 points. They played “Love Thy Neigbour” by King Ajamu.

Digicel Florida All Stars played, “Green Carnival” by Flying Cloud, and had to settle for the fourth position with 237 points.

Coast Guard Youth Shortknees

Coast Guard Youth Shortknees

In fifth position with 230 points was Island Catering Grand Roy Pan Angels, which played Wizard’s “Pan Man.”

Huggins Pan Ossia which is out of Gouyave, St. John’s and was the first to take to stage with its song, “Do You want to Party,” by Mr. Killa had to settle for the sixth position with 224 points.

The bands were judged on arrangement – 40 points, general performance – 40 points, tone – 10 points, and rhythm – 10 points.

A display of ancestry, artistry and creativity came alive as the various mas bands, both traditional and fancy paraded through the streets of St. George’s making their way to the Grenada National Stadium under brilliant sunshine.

In the traditional mas band category, there were seven bands showcasing the ancestral nature of the carnival.

The mas included the maypole dancers, vie couer, wild Indian, and shortknee.

Two individuals who were not attached to a band treated the patrons with their display of the jab jab.

In first position in the traditional mas with 505 points was Demonic Angels, followed by Coast Guard Youth with 463, while St. John’s Waterloo Shortknee took the third spot with 453 points.

Legends Mas Band, which scored 432 points, took the fourth position, and Red Rose Wild Indian took the fifth spot with 409 points.

Hermitage Shortknee with 246 was in the sixth position, while Telescope Apache occupied the seventh spot with 211 points.

Six bands showcased their creativity in the fancy mas section.

Helen Marie and Associates with a presentation of “The Marching Band” walked away with the top position with 529 points.

In second place was Commancheros and Associates, which scored 517 points with their Fun and Games presentation.

Eskate and Associates, with a presentation of Fairies, secured 467 points to occupy the third spot while the fourth position with 450 points went to Lazarus Antoine and Associates.

Spices Dance Theatre (425 ) ended up in the fifth position, while the sixth position was occupied by Marie Kirton and Associates with 366 points.

Jaime Stewart was crowned as King of the Band, while Britney Bowen took away the title for the second consecutive year as Queen of the Band.

Another aspect of the CCF was the Junior Calypso Monarch Competition, which stunned patrons.

The 11 Calypsonians, three of which are children of seasoned Calypsonins touched on the social issues that are facing the country.

The 2013 Junior Calypso Monarch Title went to Filandi “Stunner” Jeffrey, the son of the reigning Calypso Monarch, Scholar.

Stunner got everyone’s attention with his song, “Big,” which looked at ways in which men who claim to be big engage in distasteful acts. He tallied 241 points.

Patrons knew that a high level of calypso was in the making when Alana Boca who opened the show with her song, “I Can’t Go Back,” had everyone listening attentively to her lyrics.

She placed second with 235 points. The third position with a score of 232 was awarded to Joliba Regis.

Nathan J, the son of Calypsonian Croquetta could not hold onto the title he won last year with his famous “Facebook.”

The Presentation Brothers College Student who placed fourth with 221 points with his presentation of “Looks Could Be Deceiving” was advising a young lady against getting involved with marijuana.

Kate Richards took the fifth position with a score of 201 points, while Akel Charles placed sixth with a score of 194 points.

Three Calypsonians tied for the seventh position, each scoring 190 points. They are Jeloni Flemming, Lorenzo John, and Kadisha Mohan.

Kevon Morain with 185 points finished eighth and bringing up the rear was Heidi (155 points) who fell short of completing her song, “Climate Change.”

Grant aid from China

G'da-China MOUGrenada has received millions of dollars in grant funds from China on Monday that will be used for budgetary support.

The agreement for RMB50 million (reminbi) was signed during a press briefing at the Office of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell in the presence of Minister for Foreign Affairs Nicholas Steele.

Chinese ambassador to St. George’s, Ou Boqian signed the agreement on behalf of the People’s Republic of China.

Prime Minister Mitchell said that the grant funds were provided in keeping with a promise from China following a meeting in Trinidad and Tobago earlier this year of several Caribbean Prime Ministers and visiting Chinese President, Xi Jinping.

According to Dr. Mitchell, he indicated to the Chinese President that Grenada was facing serious economic challenges and that whatever grant support is being offered within the few years of the agreement, he needed immediate access to the finances.

Prime Minister Mitchell said that he also informed the Chinese President that he would like to look at a specific agreement for the next four to five years, where the country will have additional grant support from Beijing.

This will be in addition to other project support available to Grenada and other countries in the region.

The Grenadian leader noted that the assistance received from China will go a long way in sending the right message to Grenadians to improve their stocks, provide opportunities and hope for the people and the country’s economic survival.

Dr. Mitchell said his administration since taking office in February has invested heavily in several programmes particularly in the area of youth development.

The assistance from China, he added will help to meet that commitment as well as other services government will embark upon in the near future.

In response, the Chinese ambassador said that the monetary gift is an example of her country’s fraternal relationship and was hopeful that the grant will be of great help to Grenada’s economic development and national reconstruction of the island.

She pointed out that both countries witnessed rapid development in bilateral relations since re-establishing diplomatic relations in 2005.

Ambassador Ou Boqian mentioned some of China’s assistance to Grenada in the areas of agriculture, housing, and sports with specific reference to China’s commitment to begin work soon on the athletics stadium at Queen’s Park.

“I hope that this kind of exchange in economic corporation between our two countries will be further strengthened,” she said.

The Chinese envoy said she is confident that the bilateral relations now existing will be further developed.

Dr. Mitchell moved way from the Republic of China on Taiwan and re-established ties with Beijing soon after the island was devastated by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

The Chinese on the mainland offered St. George’s a lucrative package including the rebuilding of the cricket stadium at Queen’s Park and hundreds of low-income houses.


The Russians are coming with a ship

It looks like the Russians are preparing to explore for oil and gas in Grenadian waters.

The Russians had made available millions of dollars to the previous New National Party (NNP) government of Dr. Keith Mitchell as part of an oil deal that was signed prior to the 2008 general elections.

The deal was put on hold when the 2008-2013 National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration of Tillman Thomas decided to probe a controversial payment that the Russians had asked former Energy Minister, Gregory Bowen to give a full account.

With the NNP back in power following the February 19 general elections, a new release out of Cyprus said that the Russians are planning to bring a vessel into Grenadian waters to start exploring for oil.

Following is the full text of the release:


LIMASSOL, Cyprus – SeaBird Exploration (OSE:SBX) will use its 8-streamer 3D vessel Geo Pacific offshore Grenada for Global Petroleum Group.

The program follows assessment of 2D data recently processed by TRICON Geographics that indicates significant hydrocarbon deposit potential.

“By finally acquiring modern 3D, followed by state of the art data processing, GPG is looking forward to confirming what we believe to be prospective areas, and immediately thereafter proceeding with drilling operations,” said Eduard Vasilyev, president and CEO.

GPC and Blackwater Subsea are in talks about the final design of a development plan and project management for drilling scheduled in 2014.

Lavaman not defending title

LavamanI Marcus “Lavaman” James the reigning soca Monarch king wish to inform the general public that I will not be defending my title at this year’s Soca Monarch Final come Bacchanal Friday at the National Stadium.

My decision to stay away from competition this year, was made on the backdrop of what is best for me now as an artiste.

I would like to say thank you to all my fans for the support you have shown and continue to show me as I move to taking my musical career to another level.

“As an artiste, I will continue to contribute to carnival with my style of music, all in an attempt to making you my fan base happy”.

As to my future and whether or not I will be returning to competition it is left to be seen”.

I wish the 15 finalists vying for the title on Friday, August 9th the best of luck and a successful carnival season.

CCF winners speak out

The Children’s Carnival Frolic was able to attract the best of the juniors in the Calypso artform.

However, at the end of the competition, which was sponsored by Ribena, the son of the seven times National Calypso Monarch, Findlay “Scholar” Jeffrey was judged as the 2013 Junior Calypso monarch.

Filandi Jeffrey who has adopted the stage name, “Stunner” scored 241 points to dethrone the 2012 Junior Monarch,, Nathan J who finished in the fourth position.

Speaking to reporters after the victory, Stunner said he was feeling very excited and happy over the success although he had mixed feelings about the competition.

The 15-year old Mac Donald College Student said he just felt the inspiration to sing and he brought it to his father’s attention.

He indicated that it took him just over one month to prepare himself with the coaching of his father to prepare for the competition.

However, he spoke of being anxious and happy to have taken the stage in position number five since he had prepared very well.

“It was very tiring, but I am seeing the success that came from it,” he added.

The 2013 Junior Calypso Monarch admitted that he now has to work hard in his schoolwork as he enters Form 5 at the start of the new school year in September,

“It (the competition) shows me that I have to work harder in my school work. With hard preparation comes great success,” he said.

Although there was no ceremonial crowning of the 2013 Junior Monarch by the Spicemas Corporation, Stunner was presented with a trophy and a mock cheque of $2,500.00 by Chairman, Arthur Hosten.

Meanwhile, Republic Bank Angel Harps Drill Master, Andy Chichester attributed the band’s success in copping the title at the junior panorama championship to hard work and dedication on the part of the Junior Harpers.

The band which is based on the Carenage, St. George’s secured its eight junior title during Saturday’s Children’s Carnival Frolic.

Chichester told Newspaper that musical education played a critical role in getting the dedication and commitment of the children for the continuous practice sessions that were held.

He said the band is structured to have practice sessions throughout the entire year.

“We practice when there is nothing else to do. We practice rather than go and lime elsewhere. We practice when kids will go to the movie,” he remarked.

The Drill Master indicated that the junior Harpers who have enough senior arrangers to guide them are well educated and that they know what should come out musically of the band.

Chichester said the senior band will now start focusing on the national panorama competition that takes place tomorrow night (Saturday August 10) at the national stadium.

Junior Arranger Andre Skeete echoed the sentiments of the Drill Master about the children’s dedication, saying that hard work was the formula used to secure the eighth title for the band.

He said on a daily basis they would engage in about two and a half hours of practice and that would intensify when school closes.

The Junior Arranger said since last December they were learning the normal verse and chorus of the winning song for the pan.



by Dexter Mitchell


Although the awarding of road march winners pre-dates 1981, this piece will focus on the winners of what is considered the most popular and important carnival title, since carnival was moved to August in 1981.

During that period another extremely popular competition, with the advent of a national soca monarch competition, emerged, in 1994.

The first ‘August’ road march winner was Timpo who did the double in 1981, by also capturing the national calypso competition. The road march title went to St. John in 1982 with Snakey Boy and his catchy ‘Charmiane Darling’. African Teller, Flying Turkey, Inspector, Black Wizard, and Skylark complete the list of Road March winners during the 1980’s.

That era introduced Grenada to Elimus Gilbert, the Inspector, as he won consecutive road march titles in 1985 and 1986. In fact, Inspector had the distinction of having his 1986 winner – No Kicks for 86 – banned for airplay but still being popular enough to capture the road march title.

Ajamu won his only road march title in 1990 and Moss International’s evolutionary Jambalassie took the honors in 1991.

Thereafter, began a ten-year streak of double winners – meaning that all the winners between 1992 and 2001 won consecutive road march titles. The streak began with Flying Cloud (92, 93), then Inspector (94, 95) followed by Tangler (96,97). Sheldon Douglas won his double in 98 and 99, with the final double winner being Tallpree in 2000, 2001.

Japs , Super P and General PP won the next three road march titles, with Boogie B doing a different double, by winning the soca monarch and road march titles in 2005. Soca Banton in 2006 and Berbice in 2007 preceded the first road march title by a female- Miney in 2008. Mr. Killa in 2009 and Otis in 2010 achieved the soca monarch and road march double, with Lava Man winning his first national title, road march in 2011. Boyzie has been the latest road march winner (in 2012).

The efforts of Brian Pitt and Troy Garvey in 1992 and 1993 at the Sugar Mill Nite Club gave birth to what is now the national soca monarch competition.

The first national competition took place in 1994 with Black Wizard wining the inaugural soca monarch title. In fact only Black Wizard, Inspector and Ajamu have won the three major titles – Calypso, Road March and Soca Monarch.

Sheldon Douglas and Mr. Killa are tied for the most Soca Monarch titles with 3 and Luni Spark and Electrify joins Sheldon as the only soca monarch winner to successfully defend a soca monarch title.

Veterans such as Randy Isaac, Tallpree and Zingo joins the likes of Terror Kid, Otis, Lava Man and Boogie B, in the esteemed group of persons to shake-up the national stadium on carnival Friday night and walk away with the coveted and lucrative soca monarch title

Both the road march and soca titles continue to represent the popular music, performers and performances of any particular carnival season. Many of our recollections of a carnival season are based on the road march song of that year or the spectacular performances we witnessed at soca monarch.

2013 should be no different.

National Health Insurance on the horizon

Chester Humphrey and Clarice Modeste-Curwen – in support of National Health Insurance

Chester Humphrey and Clarice Modeste-Curwen – in support of National Health Insurance

The much talked about National Health Insurance scheme for the country could likely come on stream next year.

Chairman of the committee, trade unionist Chester Humphrey said the National Advisory Health Insurance Committee believes that within the first quarter of next year it is feasibility and possible to introduce the health insurance in Grenada.

Humphrey updated the media last week Wednesday on what the broad-based National Advisory Committee is doing in putting together a proposal that would ultimately lead to the National Health Insurance.

If implemented, he said the initiative can lift the quality of health care and health services for the entire population.

Humphrey believes that there is a crisis of health sector financing throughout the region and that in Grenada itself, the crisis is experienced daily through the shortages of basic medical supplies at the main hospital in St. George’s.

However, he could not provide the media with the likely contributions to be made by persons towards health insurance but added that the time has come for the State to modernise its services through a National Health Insurance.

Humphrey is mindful of the fact that the country has a depressed economy at the time with an unemployment rate nearing forty percent.

The committee sees public consultation as being a key driver in making the National Health Insurance becoming a success story.

According to Humphrey, his members are conscious that the project would spark a lot of debate, and sufficient time has to be given to the population.

“Once people are asked to pay for something it could be quite miserable,” he said.

Humphrey stressed that the Committee members believe that National Health Insurance can play the same role as the National Insurance Scheme.

The President-General of the Grenada Technical and Allied Workers Union spoke of the proposed National Health insurance having the blessings of his union and the wider trade union movement.

Health Minister Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen who also addressed the media is hopeful that the Health Insurance could be addressed in the 2014 National Budget expected to be presented in December.

Dr. Modeste-Curwen indicated that health care financing is costly and if the government has to provide quality health care it must be accessible, equitable, and it must be sustainable.

The senior government minister believes now is the perfect time to establish the National Health insurance as many people are now becoming ill from various medical diseases.

“We know we have to step up on the quality and the efficiency of what we do. We have to provide services for our people, but as a government working through the Consolidated Fund, we just cannot do it,” she said.

The Committee mainly comprises members of the health sector and the insurance industry.

Some members of the committee joined their Chairman in expounding on the benefits that can come from a National Health Insurance.

Deputy Chairman of the National Advisory Committee, Kennedy Roberts indicated that their work falls in line with a recommendation coming from the World Health Organisation (WHO) through a resolution that was passed in 2005 recommending to countries that they move towards universal health coverage.

Roberts spoke of the WHO indicating that paying for health care from one’s pocket is unfair since the poorer class are the ones who have to dip into their pockets, and that the proportions of their earnings is substantially higher than the proportion of the people who earn a lot.

He said locally, the country is spending approximately six percent of its Gross Domestic Product on the health system.

Former President of the Grenada Medical Association (GMA), Dr. Debroah Ann Stephens-John examined the cost of health care in Grenada.

Dr. Stephens-John who is a medical practitioner in private practice announced that through the GMA medical practitioners operate through a fee schedule.

“We have a fee schedule which range what a general medical practitioner could charge verses what a specialist could charge… A regular attendance with a GP (General Practitioner) will range from $70.00 to $125.00,” she said.

The Medical doctor spoke of the cost of health care in Grenada being lower than in most places in the region.

Dr. Stephens-John said doctors would not refuse to attend to someone if he cannot pay for the service.

However, she indicated that a National Health Insurance will ensure that the doctor receives payment.

The medical practitioner said that in some cases certain conditions are laid down for persons having private health insurance especially where premiums are set on an individual basis

She disclosed that if someone has an existing medical condition or disability that may affect the premium, the person may not obtain the insurance coverage.

In its deliberation, the National Advisory Committee will look at the package of benefits and things that would be covered through the National Health Insurance.