Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is not happy with the way soca artiste Neil “Iwer” George treated the National Anthem in his 2024 release Happy People.
When he was asked to comment on the issue during a media briefing at the Diplomatic Centre yesterday, Dr Rowley said, “Let me take off my prime minister hat and leave my baldhead and talk to you as a fellow citizen. Frankly, I am not ... what are verbs I should use ... I am not jumping up and down about the National Anthem being used that way in any calypso.
“There is something that ought to be special about your National Anthem and the reason why you stand when it is being sung. I don’t stand up for any hymn that is being sung or any other. You stand when the National Anthem is being sung for a reason and that gives it a profile and a place that no other song has and on that basis, I would say that the National Anthem not be treated in that way.”
For his part, Iwer said he wants to “let the people speak” amidst controversy generated by the song, which he co-wrote with Ken Marlon Charles (KMC).
Since its release last Friday, the song has had more than 46,000 views on YouTube.
“When the people are speaking, I don’t speak at the same time. The subject is a hot subject on social media, Trinidad and Tobago is having a discussion, for a very long time Trinidad and Tobago has not had a discussion,” Iwer said.
“So, let them have their discussion and when they finish talk then I will speak.”
The song has drawn strong reactions for and against. Retired Brigadier General and former national security minister Carl Alfonso said the use of the lyrics of the National Anthem in the song was disrespectful.
The issue has been widely debated on social media with memes and comments.
Iwer said he would make an official statement on the song in a week.