President Anthony Carmona was given a lifetime membership in the Trinbago Unified Calypsonian Organisation (TUCO).
The award came during his Calypso History Month reception for calypsonians at NAPA. During Carmona’s welcome address, he spoke of the erection of a permanent national calypso tent where local people as well as tourists can come and experience the artform year round.
Carmona said, “When the big ships come as tourism and people come to the Botanic Gardens, there is not a calypsonian or anybody to meet them. I have been so grieved by what I see when tourists come to the Botanical Gardens. There is nobody there to greet them. I sometimes come out of my office and greet them, welcome them to Trinidad, talk to them and tell them they can come back for Trinidad Carnival. The same should go for pan: there should be a national steelpan tent where people can go to listen to the national instrument every day of the week. We have so much conferences here, political, cultural and international, and when the conferences are finished there is no place for the people to go. There is nothing wrong with greeting them with moko jumbies and dancers, but we have kaiso and pan, and kaiso tells our stories.”
TUCO’s president Brother Resistance said his organisation was pleased that the head of state had seen fit for there to be a gathering and celebration of Calypso History Month. Resistance said, “We do not take this signature event for granted. It is a time when we can come together and celebrate friendship, love for each other and love for what we do. We now have to move forward, taking our music to the world, and reclaim our space.
“Since the 1930s calypso has been on the world stage, calypso music has established world music and the world of music, and we must not take it for granted. God has given us calypso music and we have to praise his for that. Calypso has come too far to turn back now. The journey continues.” Carmona performed as a calypsonian in the past under the sobriquet Prophet of Sisyphus.