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HomeNewsArchives'Mighty Pat' Wins Calypso Competition Amid Controversy

'Mighty Pat' Wins Calypso Competition Amid Controversy

Jan. 5, 2007 –- Samuel “Mighty Pat” Ferdinand won his 13th Calypso crown Thursday night at the Island Center for the Performing Arts, beating out the reigning Calypso Monarch and besting his closest competitor, who that evening won two significant calypso awards.
“Everybody came in with one intention: to win,” Ferdinand said shortly after he was presented with a monetary award, large trophy and the red velvet-and-gold crown along with a red velvet cape.
Morris “King Generic” Benjamin, who won best social commentary and most humorous calypsonian took second place, while last year’s Festival Monarch Karen “Lady Mac” McIntosh, came in third.
Ferdinand’s 13 wins include monarch competitions on St. Thomas and other Caribbean islands. He last won the Festival Monarch crown three years ago, he said.
His win Thursday night — before a packed crowd that stayed through the nearly five-hour show amid repeated sprinkles — was not without controversy.
Some audience members believed that Benjamin should have won the crown. Benjamin indeed put on a spirited performance during Round One of the competition, waking up the dozing crowd, which responded with boisterous applause and laughter.
Benjamin took to the stage dressed in a navy blue suit and white hat to sing "Scandidates,” a spoof on the past election's negative campaign ads. Pointing to campaign posters of all three gubernatorial candidate teams on stage, he sang that much of the mud-slinging between candidates were untruths.
“Election gone nasty – melee, rumor,” he sang and suggested that next time, a huge hole be dug and put all the candidates to slug it out in a mud fest.
The judges did not divulge their scores, but at least one person was overheard saying that Ferdinand — whose initial song “Congratulations” was a tribute to Gov. John P. deJongh Jr. and Lt. Gov. Gregory R. Francis — bested Benjamin with his second song, “Parenthood,” a strong lyrical rendition on child molestation.
As Ferdinand sang, former senatorial candidate Gosnel Matthew and his two daughters (Valencia, 10, and Vanessa, 11) crisscrossed the stage to help illustrate how young people can be molested by adults who appear to be well-grounded.
Each of the 13 calypsonians was judged on lyrics (which accounted for 70 points), melody (40 points), clarity (30 points), presentation (10 points), originality (30 points) and rendition (20 points), for a total of 200 points.
“I know I did my best, and the folks around thought that I should win, but the judges’ decision is final,” Benjamin initially conceded. However, when pressed, Benjamin acknowledged his disbelief.
“I’m human. I have two significant trophies for best social commentary and most humorous; and when a calypsonian gets that, they end up the winner,” he said.
The other calypsonians each gave spirited performances. They were Joseph “Joey B” Brown, Lariel “The Teacher” Gerard, Kasaun "K-Force” Baptiste, Allan “King Herring” Clarke, Campbell “King Kan” Barnes, James P.G. “Monarch” Wakefield, Chester “Mighty Groover” Brady and Beaugeste “Beaugeste” Joshua.
However, from the onset, the competition was between Ferdinand, Benjamin and McIntosh. During intermission following the first round, James Weekes, who has been coming to the monarch competition for over 30 years, chose Ferdinand out of the three to be victorious by night’s end.
“I think Pat takes the running. To me, he’s No. 1,” Weekes said. “Lady Mac is good too. I like them because their lyrics are strong.
Weekes said he enjoys the social commentary from calypsonians. “This is the best part of the festival,” he said. “If I don’t go to anything else, I got to go to the calypso show.”
Politics reigned supreme Thursday night with the November election on the minds of all but one of the 13 calypsonians vying for the crown. The only calypsonian who did not mention politics was Louis “Quiz” Richards. He is the son of former V.I. resident and Antigua’s renowned Calypso King, Paul “King Obstinate” Richards.
Thursday night, in his song “Congratulations,” Ferdinand called on the new administration to stop the recycling process that puts the same people back in office who are responsible for a lot of the problems in government.
“The people from the old government – listen carefully, Turnbull gone home, so send all of them home with he,” he sang, adding that the new administration will be congratulated again, if they bring in fresh faces.
McIntosh, the first calypsonian to take the stage, sat on a throne in a red halter-top dress for her first song, “It Only Takes One,” a tribute to women who change the course of history. “I pay homage to women of strength, and courage … from Queen Mary to Oprah Winfrey,” she sang.
Clement “General B” Chiverton, who took away a trophy for Most Improved Calypsonian, moved the audience with a tribute to the homeless. Large trash cans were used in his stage décor to depict people picking through the bins for food. During the selection, Wingrove Fenton acted as Gov. deJongh, whose campaign platform addressed plans to improve the plight of the homeless and less fortunate in the territory.
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