Deputy Premier Objects to Dis N Dat Representing Nevis

Steps have been taken by senior government officials on the island to prevent the controversial but very popular calypsonian, from participating in this weekend’s Leeward Islands Calypso Competition, in Anguilla.

The contest, which is held each year as part of Anguilla’s annual summer carnival has become a major sub-regional event, involving the reigning monarchs of calypso from Anguilla, St. Maarten, USVI, BVI, St. Kitts, Antigua, Nevis, Montserrat and Statia.

The representatives are normally selected by the Carnival Committees of the respective countries, and in the case of Nevis, the Culturama Committee. However, apart from providing the finance for the airline ticket, not much other assistance is provided by the franchise holders of the respective territories. Most other expenses are shouldered by the host agency in Anguilla.

However, the Minister of Culture and Deputy Premier of Nevis, Mr. Hensley Daniel, who is also the minister responsible for the Culturama festival, has made known his objections to having the Nevis Culturama King, Dis N Dat, as an official representative of the festival and by extension the government and island. Efforts are therefore afoot to prevent the king from travelling to Anguilla to join his other counterparts in the show, slated for Saturday night.

Some media reports have indicated that one source close to the organizers of the competition in Anguilla has confirmed that they were approached by the representatives in Nevis, enquiring if they would be willing to accept the First Runner-up of the Culturama contest, instead of the King.

All this is connected to one of the popular but hugely controversial calypso songs that the King performed one week ago, on Saturday 4th August, 2012, to capture the crown.

According to Nevis’ Deputy Premier, Mr. Hensley Daniel, “The song was very disrespectful of the Premier (Joseph Parry), referring to him as a dum dum.” Daniel went on to suggest that it was in poor taste and should not be allowed in calypso or should be encouraged. Parry was at the time of the performance, sitting in the front row of the VIP section.

For many callers to local radio, the stance of the minister is tantamount to censorship of what calypsonians could and could not sing.

Joseph ParryThe 2012 Senior Calypso competition in Nevis has been filled with much controversy. The initial focus was on the participation of Kittitian calypsonians who had made it to the Finals; with some sections of the Nevisian public suggesting that they should be barred from entering the contest. This year there were 3 Kittitian calypsonians but only one, the former Culturama King, I-Soursop, made it to the finals, with no place being found for Big Lice and Aloumoula.

After that controversy was allowed to quiet down, the focus shifted to the lyrics of the song performed by Dis N Dat, on the final night of the contest. Though he was considered the strongest contender of the evening, many in the audience were still shocked that he was allowed to win the competition, despite the scathing attacks and references in his song, to the Premier of Nevis. He was actually crowned by the Deputy Premier, Hensley Daniel, but many in Nevis always speculated that there was a “quiet storm” brewing, knowing the political differences.

Dis N Dat is the longest serving calypsonian on Nevis and had won the crown on numerous occasions. He has always attracted controversy though and many can still remember his unique masterpiece, “God Son”, in which he criticized some of the actions of the incumbent Prime Minister of St. Kitts & Nevis. However, as a consequence Did N Dat was never even selected for the Semi-Finals, with many suggesting that this was under the instructions of government officials.

Now, back in his own island, Dis N Dat has again come in for sanctions, for the potent lyrics of his calypso, though there are no rules in the contest that prevent such renditions.

In the 2011 Island Assembly elections in Nevis, Dis N Dat, whose real name is Keith Scarborough, contested the St. Thomas Constituency, running against Premier Joseph Parry. Scarborough was soundly defeated.

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