The centerpiece of the latest debate is connected to a request from King Meeko who was unable to perform in the recent Semi-Finals due to poor health, but has subsequently requested of the organizing committee that he be allowed to compete in the Finals of the contest.
That request when it was first made public drew sharp criticisms from fellow calypsonians and fans who felt that there could be no accommodation for Meeko to be involved in the final show, when he failed to appear in the Semi-Finals.
In an exclusive interview on Tuesday (30th July) with the Executive Director of the Culturama Festival Committee, Mr. Antonio “Abonati” Liburd, he explained that the decision not to accede to Meeko’s request came as a result of a joint meeting with those calypsonians selected for the finals and members of the Culturama Committee.
The Executive Director said that some of the calypsonians were adamant that if Meeko were allowed to compete they would have boycotted, not only the Senior Culturama Calypso Monarch Competition but also the St. Kitts & Nevis Kaiso Bacchanal, that was held on Monday night and won by one of Meeko’s biggest rivals, Dis N Dat, who also happens to be the defending calypso King.
During the meeting, as explained by Abonati, the effort was to come to a comfortable position that everybody would be happy with. As a compromise, it was the calypsonians who suggested that if Meeko wanted to perform on Saturday, he be offered by the Committee, the opportunity to appear as a guest artiste but not granted the request to get a bye to enter the Finals. Abonati said that there has never been a case in the past when such a request was made and granted.
When asked by MiyVue.com what may have prompted the popular calypsonian to seek a bye to the Finals, Abonati speculated that perhaps he thought that because he (Meeko) had a written request from his doctor, indicating that some consideration be given for him to be granted a bye into the finals, that the Committee would have complied. Abonati said the decision has been formally communicated to the calypsonians and to Meeko indicating the position of the Committee that while he would not be allowed in the Finals, he has the option to perform as a guest artiste.
Some calypso pundits have even gone as far to claim that all this controversy was predicted by Meeko, because of the lyrics in the first verse of his powerful song for this year, titled, “Sing to Win’. Meeko who has not competed for a number of years suddenly re-emerged this year attacking, as usual, his fellow calypsonians in his song…
“Since you leave and gone the calypso standard so low
Long time we ain’t hear a good piece ah calypso
Now that you proclaim that you coming back for king
They running, they begging the Committee, don’t ley he sing…”
This latest episode reminds us of the old saying, “There can be no carnival, no calypso competition and no Culturama without controversy.”
However, it is also recognized that despite the hurt, the confusion and mess usually created from such controversies, strangely, they are also the lifeblood of the celebrations. This is what keeps the fans talking and this is what brings out the crowds in their thousands.
There is no doubt that once Meeko takes up the offer to be a guest artiste, the size of the crowd will be much bigger, as fans would be keen to witness the “big showdown”. It would mean that there would be two competitions: the one with the official finalists and the other putting Meeko against the rest. Showtime is 8:00pm at the Cultural Complex in Charlestown, on Saturday 3rd August, 2013.