In the end however, it was the representative from the twin-island state of Antigua and Barbuda, De Bear, who was given the nod of the judges and crowned King of the Leeward Islands.
This was the 16th year of the contest, sponsored by telecommunications company, LIME.
The Second Runner up was Anguilla’s “Shay Shay, followed by King Konris-St. Kitts, in First Runner up position and De Bear-Antigua & Barbuda, as King.
For most pundits and commentators following the contest, the second songs for both De Bear and Konris were considered weak and not at the usual high standards expected from these top performers.
The countries that were represented in this year’s contest were Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Montserrat, USVI, St. Kitts and the BVI. The reigning king was Splinter of Anguilla but he did not defend his title.
Though Nevis was to be represented by the newly crowned King from Culturama, Dis N Dat, he was barred from participating by local government officials who objected to his involvement, over a controversial song he performed to win the local competition in Nevis.
In that song he is accused of referring to the island’s Premier as a “dum dum”. Deputy Premier and Minister of Culture in Nevis, Hensley Daniel, said that given those circumstances he did not feel that Did N Dat was an appropriate island representative.
A cash prize of US$4,000 was awarded to the new Leeward Islands King. De Bear was fresh from his Three Peat victory at the Antigua carnival, giving him his fourth Antigua crown overall.
A few years again when he was beaten by King Konris in the Leeward Islands competition, the Montserrat born De Bear had vowed never to compete again in the contest, accusing the judges and organizers of bias towards Anguilla and St. Kitts. Calypso pundits are now wondering if he would either retract that statement now that he has won again, or if he would now claim that the judges have turned their biases in favour of Antigua and him in particular.