KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – The Carnival Development Corporation (CDC) did not have any particular concern about possible litigation resulting from Zion I’s hard-hitting rendition “Brave”, Chief Executive Officer Ashford Wood told I-Witness News on Monday.
“The CDC’s position with every song … that comes to the Carnival Development Corporation [is that] they are forwarded to our lawyers to be vetted. We have sent on all the songs to our lawyers and we are awaiting a response from them not just as it relates to Zion I but as it relates to all songs submitted for the Calypso Semi-Finals,” Wood said.
“Until we get something from our lawyer, I can say that at this point, we are simply waiting,” he further stated, adding that the CDC was expecting the legal advise on all of the songs by the end of Monday.
I-Witness News was unsuccessful in its attempts up to 9 p.m. to reach Wood for a comment on CDC lawyers’ assessment of the song selected for the semi-finals.
The state-owned National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC Radio) decided not to air Zion I’s song while the station awaited a legal opinion and its announcers spoke over the lyrics when the artiste faced the judges during the Preliminaries two weeks ago even as other stations continued to play the rendition.
Anthony Dennie, the CDC’s coordinator of shows and co-host of “Morning Scoop” on the ruling Unity Labour Party’s Star FM, spoke to the issue during a programme Monday morning on June 12.
“… the calypso in question, I heard it. I was there at the park. … And boy some hard-hitting lyrics; name-calling and certainly, it was a hair-raiser so to speak indeed. A no-holds-barred kind of calypso and it’s like is this guy serious? And I agree with NBC Radio. You can’t put yourself in a position where you open yourself to legal battles and lawsuits and anything of that nature,” Dennie said.
In the 4 minutes, 40 seconds calypso, the “Bad Man Calypsonian” singer who was first runner-up three years ago, sang about the murder of “Jackson”, thieving down of “NCB”, Cubans eating out “food city”, thieves from the government seemingly banking money in St. Lucia, and, among other things, the use of drug money to run “campaign”.
And while the calypsonian did mention some names in his rendition, in many instances he referred to the subjects of his commentaries as “them”, “who”, and “Yo” (you).
“Man, if this song mean me grave, I brave./ Ah say brave./ Is so I brave./ Man I brave./ E (the) Rasta man brave,” he sang in the chorus.
Wood said that the CDC is not exposed to any litigation that might result from calypso before the Semi-Finals since calypso tents hold those shows, under the auspices of the Calypsonians Association.
“Anything before the Semi-Finals, that is for the calypsonians and its tent,” he said.
He said that the CDC is supposed to inform bard three or four days before the Semis “if there is anything we would like them to take a second look at”.
“… this weekend we have the calypso Semi-Finals. We have some very, very good calypsos this year. I know the judges would have been very challenged in terms of making a selection,” Wood said in explaining what patrons can expect for Vincy Mass 2012.