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Stick-fighters strike for more money
On February 25, I received a call from my cousin Timmy who lives in Miami. He was in Trinidad for Carnival and wanted to go to a Carnival event. We agreed to take in some stick-fighting. At approximately 8 o’clock that night we paid $30 each at the gate and made ourselves comfortable. The African drums were very encouraging and most of the onlookers were dancing and enjoying themselves. Outside the ring the stick-fighters were dancing to the sound of the drums with their usual stick-fighters movement.
At approximately 9.15 pm, two stick-fighters took to the stage, the referee spoke to them and the first round began. Suddenly, one of the fighters put his stick on the ground and walked out of the gayelle, another two stick-fighters entered and did the same. The fighters were in front of the judges and they were engaging in a loud discussion.
Turns out the fighters were striking because the money being offered was not enough. They wanted more money and pointed out that the chutney, calypso and soca winners were receiving $2 million each and that they were getting much much less. The fighters complained that they could get a burst head, lose an eye or even die in the gayelle and they did not have any insurance coverage. I then understood the fighters’ concern.
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