It was the most talked about event during the Carnival season. It attracted the largest turnout of patrons to any event ever held in T&T. Judging from the reviews it got from Carnival stakeholders, sponsors, and Government officials at the Caribbean Prestige Foundation For The Performing Arts (CPF) Award and Prize Distribution Ceremony on Tuesday night, we can safely say the bmobile International Soca Monarch Competition is this country's official cultural platform for taking soca music to the world.
A touch of class
The ceremony held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Wrightson Road, Port-of Spain was reminiscent of BET's Soul Train Awards, or MTV's American Music Awards. From the decor, to the competent masters of ceremonies, to the speeches made, and even little Aaron Duncan's opening performance-it was all a touch of international class.That is the vision of CPF's founder William Munro-to take the culture of T&T and the wider Caribbean to an international status.
But Munro is no longer alone in his vision, as featured speaker Arts and Culturalism Minister, Winston "Gypsy" Peters vowed that his ministry will continue to support CPF and the artistes of T&T. He also declared that the 2011 Soca Monarch Competition was the biggest event the region had ever seen.Decked in their freshest and most expensive gear, artistes collected their prizes and special awards as their performances on Soca Monarch night were played on a large screen.
Sporting a low hair cut, Bunji Garlin (Ian Alvarez) collected his prize for third place in the Power Soca Category, while his wife Fay-Ann Lyons-Alvarez collected the prize for fourth place in the same category. Missing in action was Neil George (Iwer), who placed second. His award was received on his behalf.An elated Machel Montano, who offered a bit of tap dancing before he collected his award, said that next year he will be defending his title.
He thanked Munro and the Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism as well as the Government for giving him and his fellow artistes the opportunity to showcase their talent on a world stage.Meanwhile winner in the Groovy Soca category, Kees Dieffenthaller, vowed to keep flying the flag of T&T high. Other award recipients in the Groovy Soca category included Rodney Le Blanc (Benji), who placed second, and Destra Garcia, who placed third, and fourth place winner, Dexter Stewart (Blaax).Both Garcia and Stewart were absent, and had their awards accepted on their behalf.Denise Belfon also received and award for best presentation in the Groovy Soca Category. Machel Montano was awarded best presentation in the Power Soca Category.