THERE will be no National Schools Soca Monarch this year. Instead an abridged version of the competition, put on by the Ministry of Education, will be held on Monday, when the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) holds its National Junior Calypso Monarch Competition.
There was doubt whether the competition would be held at all, since last year’s finalists have not been paid their prize money. Peter Scoon, chairman of Caribbean Prestige Foundation (CPF), said at the Soca Monarch preliminaries this year that he was only given $30,000 last year by the Ministry of Education, which could not cover the prize money. Scoon said he found it so disrespectful he did not cash the cheque and had made overtures to the Ministry of Education and NCC to host the competition.
Enrico Camejo, father of reigning junior and senior National Schools Soca monarchs Stefan and Sergio, said, “I think the ministry found that soca needed to be represented at the junior Carnival level, because everything else was being represented.
There was nothing for the children of soca, because of CPF being unable to have a competition this year.”
Camejo said the ministry has given $30,000 for the full show, which includes prize money. This is a significant reduction for a competition which once gave its senior winner a prize of $40,000.
“I guess the Ministry of Education could not afford the infrastructure, which is why they are piggybacking on the TUCO Junior Calypso Monarch, which is being held on Monday,” he said.
Six participants, including Camejo’s eldest son Sergio, will compete in Monday’s abridged version.
A preliminary round was held at which the songs of 11 contestants were played on CDs and from which the six finalists were chosen.
Camejo said there may be no live band, and the participants have no idea how the $30,000 will be split for prize money. He feels disappointed, but was not sure whether to blame CPF or the ministry — but was more inclined towards CPF.
He said his children were performing for the love of soca and the music, and going forward, once justice is done concerning last year’s competition, his sons would have no problem performing.
TUCO’s National Junior Calypso Monarch Competition will take place from 10 am at the Queen’s Park Savannah.
The six finalists for the Junior Soca Monarch are: