Several songs about Police Commissioner Gary Griffith dominated the first half of National Calypso Monarch semifinals at Skinner Park, San Fernando on Saturday.
Several of the calypsonians based their compositions on the actions of the top cop who has been making headlines since his appointment last August.
Some frontline patrons waved posters of Griffith’s face during the performances.
Performing first on stage was National Carnival Commission chairman Winston “Gypsy” Peters to a almost empty field with the political commentary When Elephants Fight.
His decision to participate in the competition did not sit well with some calypsonians and other stakeholders who felt that he held an unfair advantage because of his position in NCC but Peters defended his position saying his profession was a calypsonian.
Under an overcast sky and backed by Errol Ince and Music Makers, a field of 40 calypsonians mounted the stage to win the judges’ nod to make the final 15 cut to compete in the finals at Kaisorama on February 28.
They are each hoping to dethrone reigning calypso monarch Hellon Francis at the Queen’s Park Savannah at the Night of Champions.
Melody and lyrics in the judging criteria carried the most amount of points at 30, rendition accounted for 20, presentation ten and originality ten.
The People’s Choice is based on text to code system for each calypsonian.
Making a comeback after being notably absent from the competition for a few years, Robert “Mighty Trini” Elias performed in position eight and was well received by calypso lovers.
Elias announced that yesterday was also his 76th birthday. However, the almost dormant crowd came alive when calypsonian Maria Bhola emerged in position 15 with her humourous rendition False Alarm, which was based on Griffith’s hospital scare.
Around 4.49 pm Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley arrived and walked through the crowd greeting patrons and took photos with them.
He was accompanied by Rural Development and Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein, Planning and Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis and San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello.
Some of the other performances eagerly anticipated by the crowd were reigning Young King Ronaldo London, Devon Seale, Kurt Allen, Michael “Sugar Aloes” Osouna, Duane O’Connor and Roderick Gordon.
Aloes, singing in the second half of the competition, performed his entire song with his eyes closed as members of the audience waved toilet paper. Aloes sang Wha Yuh Say, a tribute to Griffith.