Rommel “Papa Mel” Lezama is the new Chaguanas Senior Calypso Monarch.
Lezama beat out nine fellow contestants on the big stage to take home the Chaguanas Carnival Committee crown at Ramsaran Street on Saturday.
Lezama impressed the judges with his rendition of Real Talk to earn 263 points. The song dealt about the level of crime and violence plaguing T&T.
Lezama, a resident of Enterprise, was released from prison in October 2023 after spending almost a decade in jail. He was a nine-time Youth Training and Rehabilitation Centre (YTRC) calypso monarch and reigning prison calypso monarch. He became the first inmate ever to qualify for a National Calypso Monarch semi-final in 2023.
Placing second was Kerien Figaro Williams with her rendition of Through the Eyes, while in third spot was Hammond Bruce with Trinidad is Not a Real Place.
Bruce used the vehicle of comedy to express what may seem as ridiculous situations that could only happen in T&T, such as people protesting and complaining for ketchup from a fried chicken outlet and the state of the roadways among others.
Last year’s winner Tamico Moore did not participate this season.
The Junior King title was won by Kurlise Benthan, who sang A Solid Foundation. In second place was Alaeja Gould-Fergusson, who sang Mr Radio Man, a song that explored the discrimination that Radio DJs express when it comes to giving airplay to local music in preference to foreign tracks. In third spot was the defending champion Marcus Mc Donald, who sang Read My Lips.
The winners will share in a total prize purse of $30,000.
CCC chairman Rene Bailey said the committee was working on plans to have a permanent Carnival venue set up at Connector Road. She said this may take two years before it can materialise. Bailey said this venue will also be used by all groups to host festivals. She said security will be in full swing for J’ouvert celebrations today.
1 Rommel Lezama - Real Talk (263 points)
2 Kerine Figaro-Williams - Through the eyes (249 pts)
3 Hammond Bruce - Trinidad is not a real place (245 pts)
1 Kurlise Benthan - A Solid Foundation (259 pts)
2- Alaeja Gould-Fergusson - Mr Radio Man (244 pts)
3-Marcus Mc Donald - Read My Lips (232 pts)