February 28, 2017
Fya Empress finishes in 15th place in T&T Calypso Monarch competition

After having to go to court to be reinstated as a finalist in the Trinidad and Tobago Calypso Monarch competition, Lornette “Fya Empress” Nedd-Reid placed 15th out of a total of 17 calypsonians, with a total of 370 points.

Last Tuesday, the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organization (TUCO) received a pre-action protocol letter from attorneys representing calypsonian Lynette “Lady Gypsy” Steele, stating that Nedd-Reid was not supposed to have taken part in the competition because of her nationality.

Nedd-Reid is a Vincentian by birth, but is married to a Trinidadian. She is currently undergoing the process of becoming a nationalized Trinidadian.

The drama came as Steele narrowly missed out on a place in the finals after placing 16th in the semis and being listed as the first reserve. One of the ways of getting into the finals was to have Nedd-Reid blocked.

TUCO agreed with Steele and gave her Nedd-Reid’s place, but the Vincentian, with the aid of attorney Keith Scotland, took TUCO to court and as a result was allowed back into the competition.

The bacchanal between Nedd-Reid and Steele saw TUCO upping the number of finalists from 15 to 17 and a follower of the art form in Trinidad said that the fact that both Anthony ‘All Rounder’ Hendrickson and Steele had scored the same number of points during the semis, but one was included, while the other was relegated to ‘stand-by’ was ridiculous.

“TUCO erred in its decision making process”, said the follower.

In response, public relations officer (PRO) of TUCO Steve “Ras Kommanda” Pascal told the Trinidad Guardian on Sunday that they will consider amending the rules to open next year’s Calypso Monarch competition to non-nationals.

Pascal said they will consider transforming the event into an international calypso monarch, while revisiting the rules in light of things like the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and its guidelines for regional integration.

“So, it may be good for the art form, because maybe we might see the stands being filled if we have an international calypso monarch,” Pascal said to the Guardian, while admitting that TUCO may have made an error in not verifying Nedd-Reid’s nationality and in allowing her to compete over several years before the issue was raised last week.

He said that the incident can possibly open the door for Trinidadians to compete in St Vincent and the Grenadines’ National Calypso Competition.

Sunday’s competition was eventually won by Dr Hollis “Chalkdust” Liverpool with 439 points. He took home TT$700,000. In second place was former Calypso Monarch Karene Asche with 423 points. She got TT$400,000. In third place was Heather Mac Intosh. She took home TT$200,000.

Terri Lyons was fourth with 415 points. She got TT$75,000.

The other results are, in order, Rondell Donawa, Devon Seales, Roderick “Chucky” Gordon, Victoria “Queen Victoria” Cooper, Lynette “Lady Gypsy” Steele, Anthony “All Rounder” Hendrickson, Weston “Cro Cro” Rawlins, Winston” Gypsy” Peters, Kurt Allen, Sasha Ann Moses, Lornette ”Fya Empress” Nedd-Reid, Miguella Simon and Marsha “Lady Adanna” Clifton.

Steele beat Nedd-Reid by 30 points in the finals.