Reigning two-time calypso monarch, Luther B and several other calypsonians are planning to boycott this year's calypso show over a number of unresolved issues between the singers and the new sub-committee of the Virgin Islands Festivals and Fairs Committee.
BVI Platinum News has been reliably informed that 12 calypsonians signed a petition and submitted it to the committee, hoping to have the issues resolved.
Among those signing the petition were Luther B, King Henry, Reddo, Sistah Joyce, Queen Makisha, Ojinga, Mighty Cloud, Mighty Rockey, Rankin Joey, Nazarene, Shamazz and Mighty KP.
In the petition, the calypsonians are contesting the decision by the sub-committee not to offer any prize money to calypsonians eliminated at the semi-final show and calypsonians prohibited from singing songs used at the Virgin Gorda Festival this year.
Other issues being challenged are the provision that requires the monarch to perform for free at all VI Festivals and Fairs events, a provision that suggests the number of verses a calypsonian should sing and a provision that that requires the monarch to be granted permission by the VI Festivals and Fairs Committee to enter overseas competitions.
On July 1, the calypsonians met and a framework for a VI Calypso Association was formulated.
In a letter dated July 3, which accompanied the petition, it was suggested by the association that performers at the semi-finals who do not make the finals should be given a $500 performance fee, while calypsonians who do not place at the finals should be given a $1000 performance fee.
The committee has also requested that the singers perform two new songs and not use any of the songs performed at the Virgin Gorda Festival this year. In previous years, some calypsonians performed at least one song from the Virgin Gorda competition in Road Town.
Among the songs which were planned for the Road Town show was Virgin Gorda monarch, Sistah Joyce's 'Honourable Man of Power', a tribute to Opposition Leader and Ninth District Representative, Hon. Ralph T. O'Neal.
However, BVI Platinum News understands that Sistah Joyce is planning to perform in Road Town despite the several unresolved issues and despite signing the petition.
Further, BVI Platinum News understands that the new committee has taken a firm position on the issues and is not wavering, which has led to an impasse.
Marvin Williams was identified as the chairperson of the new sub-committee. When contacted via cellular phone, someone else answered and promised to have Williams return a call. However, up to the time this report was published, Williams had not returned the call.
BVI Platinum News understands that the usual semi-finals elimination competition will not be held.
On Saturday, July 28, the calypso finals will be staged at the Festival Grounds in Road Town. The winner will drive home with a new car, an initiative announced earlier by Minister for Education and Culture, Hon. Myron Walwyn.
With many of big name performers planning to boycott the show, it remains to be seen which other performers will take the stage with Sistah Joyce on July 28.