Calypso icon Dr Hollis Liverpool better, known as Chalkdust, says he was dismissed as a primary school teacher from Nelson Street Boys’ Government school for teaching calypso in school.
He said he never gave up with his love for calypso and he continued with the artform. He said this is something many people were not aware of but it is true.
Chalkdust, who received the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (ORTT), the nation’s highest award last month, made this disclosure at Sangre Grande Regional Corporation on Wednesday where Pink Panther, also called Eric Taylor and himself were honoured.
Chalkdust recalled being asked by the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education to make an application to the ministry if he wanted to teach and sing calypso in school. He said he never adhere to the request until this day.
He said it was the first time he made this disclosure to show how people have to struggle to achieve what they want.
Chalkdust, who is also an Associate Professor of History at University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT), said receiving the ORTT award was a big struggle and “today everyone is happy for a cultural icon, an award which was long overdue to him.”
He added that people in T&T is not appreciated for their efforts in promoting and growing the culture.
He recalled that he and Dr Roy Cape were in Sweden and were promised a house and other benefits if they wanted to live and work, but in Trinidad is a struggle.
Chalkdust said he wrote calypsoes for many calypsonians and it is only Pink Panther who was honest to admit that he (Chalkdust) wrote the calypsoes that won him the Monarch Title.
He commended Pink Panther for his honesty and gratitude, something others should do.
The acclaimed calypsonian also visited schools at Valencia and Guaico Presbyterian where he sang Christmas Morning and listened to live steel pan music provided by 2019 Junior Panorama Champions.
Pink Panther in addition to being honoured had the Monte Cristo Park Band Stand at George Street, Sangre Grande, named after him.
Chairman of Sangre Grande Regional Corporation Terry Rondon commended Chalkdust, Pink Panther and Dr Roy Cape for their sterling contribution to the art form and their direct involvement in passing on their knowledge to young people.
Also in attendance were MP for Toco and parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of National Security Glenda Jennings-Smith and councillors of Sangre Grande Regional Corporation.