Sitting under a tree in Woodford Square, Port-of-Spain, secretary of Fisherman and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) Gary Aboud made a tearful plea to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to mediate with
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Sugar Aloes well within his rights
Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation’s (Tuco) president Lutalo “Brother Resistance” Masimba says the issue between calypsonians Michael “Sugar Aloes” Osouna and Roger “Bodyguard” Mohammed has been blown out of proportion. In an interview with reporters on Saturday, before a meeting of Tuco’s membership in Port-of-Spain, Masimba said Osouna had the right to choose who he wanted to sing in the tent as well as the kind of songs sung in the tent.
Masimba said that he had been in the business for many years and understood from both sides of the coin. He felt, however, the issue was too simple to be blown out of proportion. The issue reached a peak this week when Osouna rejected Mohammed from performing his song False Papers at the Kalypso Revue tent. Mohammed, in subsequent media reports, then said that Aloes had no moral authority to talk about racism since, “he almost single-handedly r[an] the majority of East Indians out of calypso tents.”
Several senior calypsonians defended Mohammed’s song, among them popular singer/songwriter and the song’s composer Gregory Ballantyne. “Whatever is between Sugar Aloes and Bodyguard we don’t know, but what I don’t understand is how a situation so simple could be, in my mind, blown so much out of proportion,” Masimba said.
“By that I mean, if you are the management of a calypso tent you have the right to select the songs that you want or the singers that you want because you feel this is the package you want to present to entertain the audience, and that is your right and responsibility. “If a calypso tent refuses a singer that is a normal thing. Look at how many singers did not get into the calypso tent this year. A calypsonian does not have a right that he must be in a tent.”
Tuco’s meeting focused on Carnival 2014. Masimba said it was a century since the first calypso was recorded. “It is a year, a point of reference for us, all calypso lovers,” he said. He said all the stops had to be “pulled out” to make calypso 2014 special. He said the prize package and judging system were also discussed.