The latest comments have come from Antigua’s reigning calypso king “De Bear”, who last Saturday, (6th August, 2011), represented his adopted country in the 15th annual edition of the contest, which was staged at the Landsome Bowl, in the Valley, the Anguillian capital.
De Bear, who is originally from Montserrat, is reported to have said during an interview with the Antigua Observer Newspaper, that calypsonians from Antigua and other countries, should, ““Leave their show alone, simple. They’re not going to come with the level playing field to a certain degree, let them go. Let them have their St Kitts/Anguilla show ‘cause it is not a Leeward Islands competition the way they’re running it.”
De Bear, whose real name is Keithroy Morson, criticized what he considers to have been poor quality judging. He went as far as to tell the Observer reporter that Antigua and Barbuda should boycott the competition unless radical changes are made in time for the next contest.
According to the Observer Newspaper, De Bear said there was an obvious bias from the onset, with the master of ceremonies stating that the crown would remain in the country, and this continued with the judging.
He told the Observer, “It was a blatant attack on Antigua’s calypso, because the whole grounds were saying I should have won the show.”
“It’s a bias against our calypso, because I just don’t understand only St Kits and Anguilla could win for the past three years, so it seems as it’s only their show.”
“I’m not saying because I lost, I’m a sore loser. I’m just saying it’s not a level playing field. From 2009 it’s been local judges,” said De Bear in his Observer interview.
According to the Observer article, the calypsonian questioned the use of an 18 year old to judge the regional competition, stating she scored him 15 out of 25 for diction, and 16 out of 25 for clarity.
“The judging standard was not to up to standard and the committee made a pledge that they were going to fix that,” he stated in his newspaper interview.
The calypsonian explained that he has already spoken to Carnival Development Committee Chairman Vaughn Walter about the matter, as well as the show’s organisers, said the Observer.
Despite De Bear’s criticism, it should be pointed out that he and fellow Antiguan, Lena “Queen Ivena” Phillip, have won the contest on previous occasions and during those victories, there were also claims of poor judging, with some fans disagreeing with the results.
Last year, (2010), when St. Kitts’ King Konris won, he blew all competition way across the Caribbean Sea, with no chance of recovery to lay claims to the crown. This therefore could not have been a case of bias for a Kittitian calypsonian, representing a country that in no way, has any responsibility for the selection of judges.
De Bear is apparently upset that since Ivena won in 2005 and he winning in 2007, the crown has been captured on two occasions by Konris, (2010 and 2011), with Anguilla’s Dr. Splinter taking the 2011 title; Konris First Runner-up and De Bear Second Runner-up.