June 29, 2012
PM: Don’t use calypsos to defame people

People must not use calypsos as a medium to defame people and get involved in political abuse.{{more}}

That is the opinion of Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, who on Wednesday, during a morning radio program, said that in all his years as prime minister, he has never called anyone at the Carnival Development Corporation (CDC) or at any radio station to complain about any lyrics of any calypso.

“You may make a criticism or you may have humorous political lyrics,” Gonsalves explained.

But if a calypsonian writes a song based on a speech made and includes falsities, then the individual was not being a calypsonian, but was degrading the artform, he opined.

Gonsalves referred to a prior incident where Calypsonian Errol ‘De Man Age’ Rose was being asked to change lyrics out of fear that they were defamatory to him.

“The lawyers felt it was defamatory and it was in fact defamatory,” the prime minister said.

However, when contacted by a journalist about the issue, the prime minister responded that he would call the CDC and Rose and indicate to them both that he had no intention to sue.

This, according to the prime minister, was acknowledged by Rose just before his performance, for which Gonsalves said he was grateful.

In 2009, Alvin ‘Zion I’ Dennie’s calypso ‘Sing leh we hear’ came under scrutiny and had to be restructured before the calypso finals, after it was felt that the song was defamatory of certain individuals. (DD)