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Minister hints at permanent Saturday Finals

Next year’s Foreday Morning jam could be held on a separate day to the Pic-O-De-Crop Finals.

Indication of this from Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley, who has been quick to point out to reporters this past weekend that any such decision would be subject to “the usual consultation”.

However, Lashley noted that “through an act of God”, the organisers were forced to postpone this year’s Finals competition, which is usually held on the last Friday of the Crop Over Festival, just before Foreday.

As a result of an adverse weather forecast that never materialised, “ . . . it ended up that the Foreday morning was in fact on a separate day”.

“I was in a band on the road Foreday morning . . . and I was able to get a bird’s eye account of what took place and I think we are onto something that is very interesting,” said Lashley, adding that the NCF [National Cultural Foundation], along with the stakeholders, will look at this, and we might very well see us moving into having a second day for Foreday morning”.

His comments come on the heels of an announcement made at the beginning of this year’s Crop Over season, that the Foreday morning would have been on a separate day. However, after concerns were loudly expressed by the masqueraders and promoters a decision was made to revert to the status quo.

But Lashley told reporters during Sunday’s staging of Cohobblopot, the separation, which came about this year, actually “worked well”.

He also suggested that such a change could work to the benefit of the security forces in the future.

“I think the security services will tell you they have not been as stretched as if they had the Finals and the Foreday morning on the same day. This is something that I believe has been an interesting development and I believe that next year, the NCF, after the consultation with the stakeholders, will most likely be inclined to having Foreday morning on a separate day and the Finals on a separate day as well.

“I don’t think any of the calypsonians complained about having the finals on the Saturday night.  You know the Finals [are] traditionally held on a Friday and that at one point there was a concern that the calypsonians may believe that you were moving away from traditional Friday, but I think it has worked out exceedingly well and I believe that this is something that will most likely be adopted,” he said.

The minister also commented on last Saturday’s Pic-O-De-Crop Finals, while urging the NCF to take a second look at the rules governing the competition.

He made the call after a bitter exodus by six calypsonians from the All Stars calypso tent earlier this year made its way onto the Finals stage with Ronnie De Announcer Clarke of All Stars and Adrian Clarke, now of Headliners, choosing to publicly address the volatile split.

De Announcer was especially acid on the night, descending to name calling in both his renditions.

“The line was crossed!  This is not the way that I would like to see the competition going.  I think that in the Pic-O-De-Crop competition there is always the anticipation of using picong to poke fun at your competitor, but I thought that [what happened Saturday] went beyond the line, and I would hope that there is no recurrence.

“Of course there is always the avenue of using the rules by the National Cultural Foundation to ensure that this does not recur and this is something that I would strongly suggest and recommend to the NCF; that they revisit the rules of the competition to ensure that what was heard, does not repeat itself.  It really is not necessary in relation to what I would have heard in the competition,” he said noting the Finals was otherwise extremely well contested.

“I would hope that we don’t have a repeat, but usually with these things it is best, if necessary, and if moral suasion does not work, to use the rules to avoid that and it was unfortunate,” Lashley added.

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