St. Maarten Carnival Bacchanal begins with music sheet row

POSTED: 03/15/11 12:09 PM

St. Maarten – Carnival 2011’s first bit of bacchanal boiled over Monday as Andrew Richardson aka Baker Jr. accused the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation of “playing mind games” and “trying to pull a hoax on calypsonians.” In a tersely worded post on Facebook he also chided the foundation for saying calypsonians were late with music sheets, while they had yet to pay junior and senior calypso competitions for 2010 and 2009.

“They should be the last to talk about late when they still owed Junior/Seniors calypsonian and more participant since last year and year before, yet crying late now,” Richardson said.

The submission of music sheets is at the center of what seems a one sided row. Richardson charges that the foundation has rejected calypsonians’ attempts to submit their sheets because they don’t want to pay the 250 dollar fee. He says he now feels compelled to pen a song titled “Where the money went” and put it on his forthcoming album.

“I could care less who vex at this point they need to be thought a damn good lesson for underestimating the calypsonians, thinking we are slow mentally,” Richardson said in his post.

In his post Richardson said two of the calypsonians he wrote for had already pulled out of the competition over when the song sheets could be submitted. Both the SCDF President – Stuart Johnson – and the SCDF Secretary – Micheal Granger – denied this on Tuesday, saying their records show 23 calypsonians registered as they head into the eliminations on April 1.

“We had first indicated March 4, then we extended to March 10, then we extended to March 14. This was to give them ample time to be prepared. We have more than 20 and now practice sessions with the band can commence and the public can wait in high anticipation for the show,” Johnson said in a statement.

Asked about the development he said, “Baker Jr. needs to also state that the deadline was moved twice, that the SCDF has never shied away from its responsibility to pay the calypsonians and that he along with several other seasoned Calypsonians have already been paid. We also have not heard anything about anybody pulling out.”


The controversy bubbles to the surface as the SCDF continues preparing for what it expects will be a “hot night of social commentary” at the eliminations.” The eliminations will determine the 10 calypsonians who will try to dethrone reigning Calypso Monarch Kaiso Brat. The event will be held at the St. Maarten Festival Village, which turns into Carnival Village for the official period of Carnival.

The eliminations are still considered a pre-Carnival event, but unlike previous years will not be held outside of the Village because “the show has outgrown the smaller venues and deserves to be in the Village.”

“Carnival doesn’t open until April 25th, but we thought that this pre-show, headlined by veteran calypsonians, deserved to be held in the Village. So we are looking forward to the public coming out in full force to support the calypsonians,” Johnson said.

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