The competition has been keenly contested in the past, with St. Kitts calypsonians taking the crown on several occasions. However, over the years of the competition, separate calypsonians have represented the two islands, but this year, a unique situation exists. King Astro is the reigning National Carnival calypso monarch, and he recently became the calypso monarch in the recently concluded 2015 Culturama Festival in Nevis.
Some calypso fans took to the airwaves with a decidedly split support for a federal representative and others for separate representatives to the Anguilla hosted show. The conversation raged for several days, even after a collaborative decision was taken. MiyVue.com spoke with Antonio ‘Abonatty’ Liburd, the executive director of the Culturama Festival Office. He explained the reasoning behind the decision that was taken.
“We are a federation, St. Kitts and Nevis, and we have a very unique situation where the King Astro is the reigning St. Kitts-Nevis National Carnival Calypso King, and over the last week, he captured the local Culturama calypso competition. It is the first time that a calypsonian achieve such a feat as this one,” Abonatty explained.
He opined that if separate calypsonians were sent to Anguilla, there would be discontentment in at least one of the affected countries. He cited the situation in a nearby island, similar in nature, yet different in outlook. Liburd indicated that a similar situation exists in Antigua and Barbuda, where De Bear is calypso king for Antigua, where he currently lives, as well as for Montserrat, the land of his birth. But, Liburd explained that Antigua is not in a federation, so their decision is that De Bear will represent Antigua and Barbuda, while Montserrat will send its own representative – their first runner-up.
Liburd stated, “When we sat and looked at who would represent Nevis in Anguilla, we thought it best that we should allow the King Astro to represent the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis in Anguilla, rather than sending him to represent Nevis, or the St. Kitts Carnival Committee sending him to represent St. Kitts.
“However way, the other country would feel slighted by the decision of the committees,” Liburd said, adding, “In the interest of all parties involved, we thought it best to come to a compromise and let the King Astro represent the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. We are a federation. Antigua is not. So, we took the wise decision to allow King Astro to represent the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.”