Dear Editor: Calypso Fiesta should be only road to Big Yard—not Tobago Monarch!

“[…] It is totally unfair to all semi-finalists that a calypsonian who won a competition in Tobago months before, under completely different circumstances in a completely different environment and possibly judged by a different panel of judges, can be automatically ushered into the Calypso Monarch Final on Carnival Sunday night.

“[…] I hope that this injustice meted out by TUCO will never be repeated as the only rite of passage to De Big Yard is Skinner Park! […]”

The following Letter to the Editor on TUCO’s decision to give the reigning Tobago Calypso Monarch an automatic spot at the 2024 Calypso Monarch final was submitted to Wired868 by calypsonian Roger “Bodyguard” Mohammed of Oropune:

An overhead view of the Skinner Park crowd for the 2024 Calypso Fiesta show.
Photo: TT Event Photography

Could you imagine a calypsonian qualifying for the Calypso Monarch Final on Dimanche Gras night without performing at Skinner Park in the Calypso Fiesta? Dr Hollis Liverpool aka ‘Chalkdust’ immortalised in song the experience of competing in ‘De Park’ for the semi-final as ‘De Acid Test’.


Chalkie sang the refrain: “When Skinner Park say yuh good, yuh good!”

An ace musical arranger once told me that, sometime in the 1980s, a semi-finalist who was preparing to go on stage to perform at the Calypso Fiesta, jumped into his car and drove straight out of Skinner Park just before he was introduced by the MC.

By the time Sprangalang was introducing the calypsonian, he was already on the north-bound lane of the Solomon Hochoy Highway, never to return to Skinner Park. That is how intimidating the experience was for him!

Patrons pack Skinner Park in San Fernando for the 2024 Calypso Monarch semifinals.
Photo: TT Event Photography

You have to be made of a certain kind of stuff to face that Skinner Park crowd, and many calypsonians would have faced their wrath if they didn’t find favour with any competitor.

So, it is totally unfair to all semi-finalists that a calypsonian who won a competition in Tobago months before, under completely different circumstances in a completely different environment and possibly judged by a different panel of judges, can be automatically ushered into the Calypso Monarch Final on Carnival Sunday night.

It is my understanding that this decision was made by the General Council of the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) and was not ratified by the general membership.

Tobago Calypso Monarch Dillon “Dilly Suede” Thomas.

I hope that this injustice meted out by TUCO will never be repeated as the only rite of passage to De Big Yard is Skinner Park! No Calypso Monarch finalist, with the exception of the defending monarch should be given an easy ride to the Queen’s Park Savannah on Dimanche Gras night.

All finalists must first face De Acid Test—because when Skinner Park say yuh good, yuh good!

More from Wired868
Early Bird: Machel’s Monarchy triumph; mafia or merit? Mission for the media?

“What shit you talking, bro?” Bobby asked, his jaw literally dropping. “We talking bout the same song?” Even before Calypso Read more

Dear Editor: Why was Thomas-Felix moved? Industrial Court owes T&T transparency

From the onset I wish to indicate that I hold no brief for either the outgoing office holder or the Read more

Dear Editor: Senator Richards must prove allegations against Alexander, or apologise!

“[…] Dr Paul Richards is not only an independent senator, but also a very experienced journalist. He ought to know Read more

Dear Editor: Despite “Santa Clausing”, Panday’s legacy is same as other PMs

“[…] Yes, Basdeo Panday was much kinder to certain individuals and organisations than PNM ever was or will be, but Read more

Orin: Parisot-Potter vs Massy; why I’m inspired yet unconvinced by tales of bizarre rituals

“[…] It’s not hard to see where (ex-Massy Holdings general counsel) Angélique Parisot-Potter is coming from. She considers the training Read more

Dr Gopeesingh: Panday was a trailblazer and probably T&T’s greatest patriot

“[…] Basdeo Panday’s life itself is a story of incredible greatness and inspirational heroism—a poor, rural, Indo-Trinidadian boy, consigned to Read more

About Letters to the Editor

Want to share your thoughts with Wired868? Email us at editor@wired868.com. Please keep your letter between 300 to 600 words and be sure to read it over first for typos and punctuation. We don't publish anonymously unless there is a good reason, such as an obvious threat of harassment or job loss.

Check Also

Early Bird: Machel’s Monarchy triumph; mafia or merit? Mission for the media?

“What shit you talking, bro?” Bobby asked, his jaw literally dropping. “We talking bout the …

3 comments

  1. Generally, the contestants for the calypso monarch were all vvery good. And the Dimanche Gras show was well put together. The results? A different story. The results of the calypso monarch is questionable. Again Kurt Allen has been wrongfully judged. There seems to be a bias against this man. Aside from that: The judges got it wrong again by placing Machel Montano over Karene Ashe. What was that really based on? Is it that Machel “must win” to pull the crowd to an event that normally has lack lustre support? If we are having a true competition let us be fair. Ms. Ashe song was absolutely stronger. DNA 4th as also questionable. Additionally, what is the bias with Gypsy? No way that nonsense deserved anything but 12th place.

  2. Does it follow, Bodyguard, that yuh NOT good unless and until Skinner Park say so?

    I should add that I too don’t agree with the move to give the Tobago monarch special status but my reason is different. Where do you draw the line? Why not also give the Young King, the Calypso Queen, the Junior Calypso Monarch, the San Fernando Monarch, the category winners from the previous year, anybody who has ever won a major title, etc., etc., etc a free pass?

    • The overarching point the writer is making is that all finalists should have the same Skinner Park experience before advancing to the Calypso Monarch Finals.

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.