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TRINIDAD | St. Vincent singer dropped from finals of Calypso Monarch finals

Featured Lornette “Fya Empress” Nedd Reid removed from the Calypso Monarch finals scheduled for the Queen’s Park Oval Port-of-Spain on Sunday night. Lornette “Fya Empress” Nedd Reid removed from the Calypso Monarch finals scheduled for the Queen’s Park Oval Port-of-Spain on Sunday night.
KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Feb 22, CMC- The St. Vincent and the Grenadines government Wednesday described as “terrible” a decision by the Trinidad and Tobago Unified ­Calypso Association (TUCO), to remove the St. Vincent-born singer Lornette “Fya Empress” Nedd Reid from the Calypso Monarch finals scheduled for the Queen’s Park Oval there on Sunday night.

Culture Minister Cecil “Ces” McKie, speaking on a radio station here,  noted that the decision to exclude the singer came despite the fact that she has been competing and winning calypso competitions in Trinidad and Tobago for years.


“How could you have somebody competing in your country, winning competitions, not having changed her status, competed in your semi-finals, made it to the finals, you announced her in the finals, and then all of a sudden, you realise that she is not suited to compete in your finals?” McKie said.

“That really cannot stand. I can’t see that standing. You should have known that a long time ago. If it’s a loophole in the system, they will have to fix that after, not before. Certainly not now,” he said.

(TUCO), apparently bowing to a threat of legal action by calypsonian Lynette “Lady Gypsy” Steele removed Nedd Reid from the show.

Attorney Gerald Ramdeen said that his client, will now participate in the finals as Trinidad and Tobago celebrates the annual Carnival celebrations.

Ramdeen had earlier sent a pre-­action protocol letter to TUCO, giving it 24 hours to respond and which could have led to an injunction being sought in the High Court preventing Nedd Reid from performing in the finals.

In the pre-action protocol letter, Ramdeen had called for the immediate disqualification of Nedd Reid, who he argued did not fit the nationality criteria to perform at the competition.

“The nationality criteria for a competition such as the National Calypso Monarch Competition is a requirement that is grounded in logic and reasonableness having regard to the status and nationalistic persona of the person holding that title,” Ramdeen said, adding the “rules of the competition could not have been made to be honoured in breach”.

Steele, who contested the semi-finals last Saturday, placed 16th with a total of 389 points and Ramdeen, in his letter to TUCO, said Steele secured the same score as Anthony “All Rounder” Hendrickson who placed 15th.

Nedd Reid has hinted that she would be seeking a court injunction against the competition if her questions are not answered. She told radio listeners here that “all is not ended” despite the development on Tuesday.

The singer said she is married to a man from Tobago and has been living in Trinidad and Tobago for over 15 years and while she has applied for citizenship, she is yet to complete the process.

She said she has been a member of (TUCO) since 2007 and pays EC$250 (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) annually to be a financial member and that she has also won several calypso competitions in Trinidad and Tobago.

“So it was alarming to me yesterday, it was news to me yesterday, just like to anybody else when they told me that they have a handbook that states that you are supposed to be a national of Trinidad and Tobago in order to compete in calypso finals.”

The singer said the letter from TUCO to her did not mention nationality criteria for any other competition, but the calypso monarch.

“And that is still news to me, because I have been in the calypso competition since 2012, when I made national queen and then went on to win the monarchy in 2014 in Tobago. So, all of this is news to me. So I am getting a lawyer and seeing what could be done about the situation right now.”

The artiste, who has also won the national calypso monarch several times in her birth country, said she was never told before that she couldn’t compete for the crown in Trinidad and Tobago.

“This is so serious because I’ve touched every other stage. You know when you set things as an artiste and you want to make goals, this is one of them that I have on my book and it was the only one that I have not got onto… And it was the one I was putting all my eggs in…

“It’s sad to see the circumstances that are surrounding it now,” she said, telling radio listeners that the  letter she received on Tuesday asked her to provide proof that she is a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago.

She said she is taking TUCO’s letter to her lawyer, adding that she voted in the organisation’s elections a few months ago, using her St. Vincent and the Grenadines national identity card.

“And nobody said anything. So, how it is now, it’s ok to vote, it’s ok for you to take money from me every year to be a financial member and to compete in these competitions, only to get to the final stage and for them to tell me no, you can’t be a part of the competition, you are not a Trinbagonian.”

The singer said that if her questions are not answered, she will ask her lawyers to file an injunction against the competition being held.

  • Countries: Trinidad_Tobago

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