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Caribbean

Published on January 1st, 2016 | by Joan Rampersad - TandT Newsday Newspapers

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Mixed bag of culture

IN 2015, culture and entertainment were a mixed bag. Starting with what many termed as the vexatious two-horse race for National Panorama competition, between Phase II and Massy All Stars, then adding insult to injury for them, the naming of All Stars as Mas Band of the Year. The ‘blues’ continued with the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA) president, David Lopez being sacked by Arts and Multiculturalism Minister Lincoln Douglas, while the Calypso king of the world the Mighty Sparrow (Dr Slinger Francisco) is still waiting for the money promised by the People’s Partnership Government.

On the brighter side, popular radio announcer and DJ of the 70s and 80s, Rennie Bishop, returned to local airways much to the delight of thousands, and a couple months later came the hosting of the first International Conference and Panorama (ICP) by Pan Trinbago.
Then as the General Election campaign heated up a number of nicely-crafted songs were created to define the moment.
Jazz and reggae show, film and fashion also maintained their spotlight in the sector. However, the year ended on a sad note with the passing of Herman Guppy “Brown”, master pan tuner and Raf Robertson, musician extraordinaire.  We being with: January Roy Cape took the stage for the first Carnival fete of the year since being diagnosed with prostate cancer three months prior. He said “cancer won’t stop me”.

His dear friend Stalin’s (Leroy Calliste) health was improving with therapy after suffering a stroke four months before.  Early in the year Sen Helen Drayton suggested a cut in Carnival expenditure in a belt-tightening exercise given the plummeting oil prices. At the same time, Arima Mayor George Hadeed called on the Arima Carnival Committee to cut budget by $.1 million.  The trend followed as the National Carnival Commission’s (NCC) total budgetary request of $588,094,661 was cut to $314,135,369.  Senator Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie finally produced the Machel Montano $5-million CD commissioned by him in 2012 in recognition of the nation’s 50th Independence anniversary.  TTPost stamp celebrated 100 years of calypso recordings.

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