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South show ends in fiasco

It was billed as the greatest show ever, but the Pre Dimance Gras Night of the Sando Monarch which took place at Skinner Park, San Fernando, on Wednesday night ended in a fiasco.

The police band pulled the plug on the calypsonians and a light bulb in the dressing room fell, causing injury to one of the competitors’ two children who had to be taken to hospital.

In a night plagued with mishaps and organisers and performers blaming each other for the disaster, Rose Marie Kuru-Jagessar, one of the contestants competing for the San Fernando Queen title, almost toppled off the stage.

Gary Brown, a King competitor who did not realise that one of his wheels had fallen off, lifted his costume and walked off the stage after failing to get it moving.

Media photographers came close to being assaulted when they attempted to get pictures of Kuru-Jagessar both on and offstage following her mishap.

Two guest artistes scheduled to perform, Bunji Garlin and Stalin, also failed to appear.

The police band hired to provide musical accompaniment for the nine calypsonians vying for the South Monarch title packed up their instruments at 1 am at the end of the first half of the competition.

Alderman Junia Regrello, one of the organisers, said the event should have taken place over a four-hour period, starting at 8 pm and ending at midnight.

He cast blame on the police band, saying they arrived late and caused the show to begin almost two hours after the scheduled time.

Acting Inspector Villafana and Inspector Stephens yesterday insisted they were at the venue on time and blamed the late arrival of the sound engineers and a problem with the sound system for the delay.

Further delays resulted as they had to hastily scamper to secure microphones for the performing artistes.

“We were contracted to perform until midnight. My officers had to work the following morning. I was not prepared to go past 1 am,” Stephens said.

When the clock struck one o’clock, an hour past the contracted time, the police band refused to play another note for the contestants to perform their second song.

This prematurely ended the contest which was the highlight of the event and sparked verbal protest from Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (Tuco) South Central chairman Ras Kommanda.

Kommanda and others demanded a fresh competition, defiantly stating they would not be accepting the results which were handed to San Fernando mayor Ian Atherly.

Atherly said yesterday that the calypso results, which were not announced, are locked in a vault.

“We are fed up with this dog treatment,” Kommanda said yesterday, adding that a news conference will be held this morning to air their concerns.

“Every year it is the same thing. No respect for the calypsonians.”

Similar sentiments were expressed by Calypsonian Lady Adana who had to forego the competition to take her two daughters to the San Fernando General Hospital to remove shards of glass and splinters from their heads, faces and eyes.

The two children, Kernisha Charles, nine, and her 19-year-old sister Whitney Joseph, were sitting with Adana in the dressing room when a light fixture fell on their heads.

Atherly who accompanied them to the hospital said, “It was unfortunate that they were brought there in the first place.”

A visibly upset Adana who is attached to Kaiso Showkase said the children are part of her act.

Atherly responded with very strong language questioned about the fiasco yesterday.

“We are trying to lift the standard of culture in San Fernando and the people in the culture are trying to pull it down,” he said.

He blamed Tuco for the fiasco saying they failed to send a representative to the planning meetings for the show.

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