Dear Editor: Where is good governance when NCC chairman, ‘Gypsy’, appears in Extempo final?

I raised one brow when Colin Lucas moved from being Chairman of the National Carnival Commission to becoming the Acting Chief Executive Officer. But my both eyebrows raised when he was succeeded by former UNC Minister of Culture Winston “Gypsy” Peters.

Seamlessly moving from director to executive is not a new phenomenon in sweet T&T but that doesn’t make it palatable. We have come to a new normal which flies in the face of good governance.

Photo: Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith (left) makes a point to NCC chairman Winston ‘Gypsy’ Peters.
(Copyright TTPS)

From active politician to Commissioner of Police, and alleged ‘gang leader’ to stormer of the President’s House and back to being arrested by the Police; the stench is suffocating and the behaviour shameful.

The judges of the 2019 Extempo competition will have to engage in deep compartmentalisation to not see their chairman on stage but only an Extempo artiste.  They would have to forget on whose behalf they are paid to judge the competition and see it only as an art form meant to promote one genre of the cultural milieu that is Carnival.

They would be required to engage in a level of maturity and objectiveness that will not be influenced by their prior feelings or opinions about their chairman.

To be clear, here’s my concern. The Chairman according to the “State Enterprises Performance Monitoring Manual” is responsible for “ensuring at all times the recognition by the Board of the distinction between Board issues and Management issues.”

The judging of the Extempo competition is a management issue for which the NCC chairman has ultimate responsibility. As a participant in the competition, will he be able to carry out his responsibility if there is a challenge?

Maybe he will, given the ease with which he has been able to traverse both the red and the yellow political parties.

Photo: NCC chairman and former Calypso and Extempo champion Winston ‘Gypsy’ Peters.

One unintended consequence is the sending of the message that once you are in power you can flaunt the rules to suit your every whim and fancy. Gypsy being in the extempo competition may be seen as ‘a small thing’ since the financial rewards are small; but it isn’t.

The message is wrong from a governance viewpoint. It unfortunately represents a prevalent attitude by those in power that ‘we are in charge’ and—no matter what you think—we will run this place as we see fit, even if we run it into the ground.

I do hope for his sake that Gypsy is not crowned the Extempo king but the data suggests otherwise. It is likely that the King and the Chairman will reign in 2019 in the same body.

More from Wired868
Demming: Commendable that Gov’t proclaimed Procurement Legislation; but keep Lalchan!

“[…] The theft of billions of dollars could have been prevented if we had a fully functional [Office of Procurement Legislation] according Read more

Daly Bread: Has Farley caught the maximum leadership disease?

Despite the short-sightedness of those who should be deploying our artistic and cultural output to diversify the economy, my depictions Read more

Demming: Despers’ hard gift—how will they fund operating and maintenance costs?

Congratulations to Despers on receiving their second multimillion-dollar gift from the people of Trinidad and Tobago. Their first theatre gift Read more

Daly Bread: Many Emperors, no clothes—T&T suffers from decades of poor governance

During an Easter Sunday break from my column, I was forcibly struck by the disconnect between the official messages about Read more

Daly Bread: Are we seeing a Carnival evolution, or a free-for-all?

The hyped-up Carnival 2023 has concluded, but the lack of changes in the traditional infrastructure and other provisions continue visibly Read more

Demming: Pan should be part of education curriculum, to maximise its value

“Pan is in good hands,” they said—after experiencing the energy and exuberance of the Junior Panorama finals at the Queen’s Read more

About Dennise Demming

Dennise Demming
Dennise Demming grew up in East Dry River, Port of Spain and has more than 30 years experience as a Communication Strategist, Political Commentator and Event Planner. She has 15 years experience lecturing Business Communications at UWI and is the co-licensee for TEDxPortofSpain. Dennise holds an MBA, a B.Sc. in Political Science & Public Administration and a certificate Mass Communications from UWI.

Check Also

Demming: Commendable that Gov’t proclaimed Procurement Legislation; but keep Lalchan!

“[…] The theft of billions of dollars could have been prevented if we had a fully functional …


  1. Warning: Undefined variable $userid in /www/wired868_759/public/wp-content/plugins/user-photo/user-photo.php on line 114

    Dennise Demming that is one hilll that you shouldn’t die on. Judges are never members or employees of TUCO, nor are they calypsonians. They are also not part of NCC.

    They are actually outside folks who are trained in the judging system by TUCO and judge independently. You yourself as a member of the public can volunteer to be a judge. You attend the seminar that is held annually by TUCO to train judges and they select you or not.

    If you want to make noise about the appearance of evil, fine. But the actual process, nah!

  2. Don understand this. the NCC is the official disbursement body for all the carnival organizations……. tuco, pantrinbago, north and south mas etc. And we have the president of the NCC, who distributes GORTT funds fighting in a final of a TUCO event, who they are supposed to give money too…………wayz boy

  3. Gypsy is also a finalist in the National Calypso Monarch Competition. I agree with the writer. Same khaki pants!

  4. The writer seems to either forget or not know that TUCO runs the Extempo competition. But ok.

  5. he is as wrong as anyone else who did similarly and got away with it

  6. Chalkdust competed as Director of Culture

  7. You guys seem to be putting forward arguments based on emotions and wrong assumptions rather than on anything based on logic and facts. This interview here that Gypsy did on the Morning Brew deals with most of your wrong assumptions.

    CNC3 television1, Uploaded on 22 Feb 2019

    Hema Ramkissoon interviewed Winston Gypsy Peters on the Morning Brew today.

  8. Gypsy should know better. But then again, is TT we taking about

  9. The Extempo competition as well as Calypso Monarch competition are not run by the NCC but rather by TUCO.
    Gypsy like all other Calypsonians who take part in TUCO run Calypso competitions is a member of TUCO but is not involved in running TUCO.

  10. If he enter as a competitor he should be treated as such .

  11. Just another conflict of interest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.