February 16, 2024
A conflict of interest Carnival?

An ethical issue involving a possible conflict of interest arose during the 2024 Carnival celebrations in Trinidad and Tobago causing some controversy and heated discussions.

At the centre of the controversy is veteran calypsonian and former Calypso Monarch, Winston “Gypsy” Peters.

He was also a Member of Parliament and former Minister of Government as well as a seven-time winner of the extempo calypso competition.

“Gypsy” is currently the head of the National Carnival Commission, which is in charge of the organization and administration of carnival in Trinidad and Tobago.

However not only is he still an active calypsonian, but he also continues to participate in national competitions organized by the NCC. The controversy has arisen out of charges of conflict of interest for it is the NCC which is responsible for selection of judges in both the Calypso Monarch and extempo competitions.

Those who raise the matter of ethics claim that he should not be in such a position while still an active competitor in competitions organized by the body he heads. “Gypsy” has however rejected the charges saying that he has been a bona fide calypsonian for many years and continues to sing in calypso tents,

giving him the right to compete like any other calypsonian. He also says that he has no influence over the judges and has rejected the charges of conflict of interest.