BAM wants NCF to strip Small of Best Junior Band award

The Barbados Association of Masqueraders (BAM) has written to the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) demanding an explanation for the results of last Saturday’s Junior Kadooment contest.

BAM Secretary Mackie Holder has confirmed that the letter was dispatched to the state agency responsible for Crop Over, although he revealed little about its content.

“It basically outlines the complaints and the reasons why a review should be undertaken and the rightful winner be put in first place. The letter should be in the NCF’s hands by now,” Holder said.

Some bandleaders, including veteran Gwyneth Squires, have refused to accept the results, contending that 25-year-old Kevin Small’s Fifth Element band, Candy Land 246 was not deserving of the Best Junior Band award. Squires has threatened to take the matter to court, if necessary.

BAM President Chetwyn Stewart had earlier this week announced plans to write a formal letter of complaint to the NCF, requesting an official investigation.

At issue is the fact that Squires and Trevor Nicholls placed behind Small in the competition despite capturing most of the category prizes.

Stewart had told Barbados TODAY the association simply needed “to understand how it works.

“There should be some clarity to it. I don’t think it is asking too much to see how they arrived at the winner. I think that is straightforward. I don’t see why it should be an issue.”

However, BAM has now left no doubt that it is on the side of the veterans, with Holder claiming the results were flatly wrong.

“It is clear from the rules that the positioning is very wrong. It’s just a matter of what is fair and what is not. The fact that it may or may not have happened in the past does not make it right and that does not mean it should continue. So I’m a little lost by the comment made by the person who was put in first place,” he said.

That was a reference to Small, who told Barbados TODAY on Monday he was somewhat disappointed with the position taken by his fellow bandleaders, given that in the past he had walked away with more awards than others who had won the competition.

In addition to winning the Best Junior Band award, Small’s Fifth Element, which had six sections and 221 masqueraders, also won the prize for Most Colourful masquerade band.

On the other hand, Squires’ larger band, which portrayed Kites at De Garrison Savannah, captured the Junior King and Best Flag Person awards, while Nicholls’ Young Spirit Community Group band Colour Me Crop Over captured the Community Costume, Fantasy and BMA Brands of Barbados awards.

“Nobody who has won one first [place award] can ever beat somebody who has won nine first places. And the person who did not even place in any of the five major categories, which are traditional, topical, fantasy, historical and environmental, just cannot beat someone who would have placed in those categories. It’s just not possible, it’s not logical,” Holder said.

“We don’t want to make any big fuss. BAS usually doesn’t. We try to work behind the scenes and we hope that this will be resolved in the proper way, which is to do the right thing. We feel that on the evidence that Trevor Nicholls should be the winner. There is no way the result can stand,” he added.

The NCF release a statement this week stating that the rules for Junior Kadooment made provisions for a process of arbitration to resolve any dispute or matters that require clarification by the participants in the competition.

“The band leaders are well aware of this process and have sought arbitration on issues in the past,” the statement said. 

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