St Vincent-born calypsonian Lornette “Fya Empress” Nedd-Reid was yesterday disqualified from participating in Sunday’s Calypso Monarch competition due to her nationality.
The Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) made the decision late yesterday, hours after it received a pre-action protocol letter from attorneys representing Lynette “Lady Gypsy” Steele, who narrowly missed out on a place in the final after placing 16th in last Sunday’s semis with her rendition of Plight of my People. She was listed as first reserve and will now compete due to the disqualification of Nedd-Reid, who placed eighth in the semifinal.
In the letter to TUCO, Steele’s lawyer, Gerald Ramdeen, noted Rule 2.7 of TUCO’s adjudication handbook, which states only T&T citizens over age of 16 are allowed to participate in the competition.
“The nationality criteria for a competition such as the National Calypso Monarch Competition is a requirement that is grounded in logic and reasonableness, having regard to the status and nationalistic persona of the person holding that title,” Ramdeen said in the letter.
Steele, whose brother is former government minister and fellow calypsonian Winston “Gypsy” Peters, was threatening to sue TUCO and seek an injunction preventing Nedd-Reid’s participation if TUCO had failed to rectify the situation within 24 hours.
A couple of hours after the letter was issued, Ramdeen confirmed he was contacted by TUCO’s lawyer and told his client’s request had been complied with, negating the need to continue to pursue the claim.
In a brief telephone interview yesterday, before the decision was taken, Nedd-Reid, who is married to a man from Tobago, confirmed that while she has been residing in T&T for over 15 years and has applied for citizenship, she is yet to complete the process.
“Yes, we went through that process and as a matter of fact it is wrapping up right now,” she said.
Nedd-Reid also questioned the timing of the lawsuit, noting she had been a financial member of TUCO since 2007 and was never banned from participating in competitions.
“If this is the case, why was I allowed to be a financial member of TUCO and was allowed to perform in various competitions over the years? I even won the T&T Calypso Queen competition in 2012,” she added.
Nedd-Reid, who sang Guilty to earn a place in the final, said she heard about the lawsuit yesterday evening but reserved further comment until she actually saw the letter.
“I am just waiting to see what they are really saying and see what is going on,” she said.
Ramdeen had also noted that after his client raised the issue with TUCO officials on Monday, she was told to provide evidence of Nedd-Reid’s nationality to support her claim.
He noted that his client made the allegation after consulting the Election and Boundaries Commission (EBC), which confirmed that Nedd-Reid was not registered on the electoral list. Steele was also seeking a declaration that TUCO’s decision to allow Nedd-Reid to compete in the semifinals was unreasonable and procedurally unfair.
Contacted yesterday moments after the lawsuit was served, TUCO president Lutalo “Brother Resistance” Masimba declined to comment on the lawsuit.
“I have not seen it yet, so I would not like to comment,” he said. (Guardian.co.tt)