Amid a bitter rivalry that threatened to mar the Calypso competition on Virgin Gorda last night, Chairman of the Virgin Gorda Calypso Committee Orlando Stevens has tried to clear the air on the issue that appears to be at the heart of the divide.
Some Calypsonians born here in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) have been fuming over the fact that a native of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Chico B, was allowed to compete and win the competition despite not living in the BVI for a certain number of years.
Chico B, in the prelude to one of his songs last evening, said some local Calypsonians even planned to boycott the contest as a result of his win last year.
The two local Calypsonians who are said to be unhappy with Chico B’s victory in 2016 are Sistah Joyce and Queen Shereen.
Queen Shereen – during a guest appearance at the competition – gave the impression that organizers of the Calypso contest had allowed their rules to be broken. She added that she did not compete this year because one of her children is ill.
Queen Shereen, whose real name is Shereen Flax, further explained: “One of my children had a medical situation, and that prevented me from competing. Most of you would know I am not afraid of competition; I am not afraid to sing. But, when you don’t stand for something, you would fall for anything. And rules are rules.”
“In the BVI, somehow, I think that we are living in a lawless society. But, at the end of the day, we are all Caribbean people and we are going to still work together. No love lost with any of the calypsonians. But right is right, wrong is wrong, rules are rules,” added Queen Shereen.
No rules broken
When contacted, the head of the Virgin Gorda Calypso committee, Stevens, told BVI News Online that no rules were broken in relation to Chico B’s involvement in the Calypso competition last year.
He said persons appear to be confusing the rules that govern the Virgin Gorda competition with those that exist on the island of Tortola.
On Tortola, an expatriate has to reside in the territory for a minimum two years to be eligible to compete, Stevens said. He noted that the number of years stipulated for the Tortola was reduced only recently from five to two.
Back to the Virgin Gorda contest, Stevens explained that anyone living on the island for at least one year is usually made eligible to compete.
He said, at the time Chico B won last year, he was living on Virgin Gorda for more than a year.
“They had a policy in Tortola where, in the BVI Calypso competition, they were saying that the person has to be [living in the BVI for at least] five years… This year now, they have changed it to two years. Once you are here two years or more, you could compete [on Tortola],” Stevens told BVI News Online.
“We [on Virgin Gorda] never followed that [Tortola] criteria. We have our own application form that we use and, once you are living here [on Virgin Gorda] a year or more, we allowed them in. Our application form didn’t have anything about you got to be here two years or five years,” added the Virgin Gorda Calypso committee head.
Meanwhile, Chico B, amid the controversy, titled one of his entries into this year’s competition ‘Outsider’.
In the song, he said the expatriates have contributed immensely to the development of the BVI, adding that the territory could not have done it alone.
He further sang that, in the final analysis, each person in the BVI is an outsider.
“Most of your parents are outsiders and your fore-parents are outsiders; some of your husbands are outsiders,” Chico B sang. “Outsiders and [British Virgin] islanders, we have to continue work together. I know it’s your home, but you cannot build it alone… So you not to diss the outsiders; let’s work with this outsider… Real love from this outsider,” Chico B further sang.
Sistah Joyce, who performed after Chico B, stated that she does not dislike outsiders, but outsiders should abide by the rules in foreign countries.
She, in her lyrics, also declared that she would have beaten Chico B in the competition. “I want you to know, I am the Vybz Kartel of Calypso,” Sistah Joyce sang and whipped the crowd into a frenzy. She added, “Too late shall be your cry, Chico B, you should never mess with [Queen] Shereen and I.”
When the results were announced, Chico B finished second and Sistah Joyce, whose real name is Joycelyn Searles, was placed third. The winner is Reynold Phillip, who uses the stage name King Paido.
Don’t be ungrateful
Meanwhile, Queen Shereen did not complete her guest performance last night without taking another swipe at Chico B.
“Chico B you can’t be ungrateful; in the BVI you belly full…. Who say I fraid to come on the stage? We waiting for you boy!” she shouted.
Queen Shereen also made it clear that she is proud to be ‘born here’.
She told the audience: “I born here and I will tell you I proud to say I born here. I admire a lot of the people from the other islands – Antigua, Jamaica, you name it. They are proud of their country. So why when we as BVIslanders say we proud to be born here it is being taken on the other side? I love my BVI.”
She then performed a ‘Born Here’ song and urged members of the audience born in the BVI to raise their hands.
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