Southex CEO: Chutney Soca Monarch not about making money

One of the reigning Chutney Soca monarchs Nishard Mayhroo, from left, Southex CEO George Singh, artistes Kenneth Salick and Ravi B, at the launch of the 2020 Chutney Soca Monarch competition at Paprika Bistro, Gulf City Mall, La Romaine on Friday.
 - CHEQUANA WHEELER
One of the reigning Chutney Soca monarchs Nishard Mayhroo, from left, Southex CEO George Singh, artistes Kenneth Salick and Ravi B, at the launch of the 2020 Chutney Soca Monarch competition at Paprika Bistro, Gulf City Mall, La Romaine on Friday. - CHEQUANA WHEELER

THE Chutney Soca Monarch (CSM) competition is not about making money but is meant to provide a platform to develop local culture.

Southex CEO George Singh made this point at the launch of CSM 25 at Paprika Bistro restaurant at the Gulf City Shopping Complex, La Romaine on Friday. The CSM's semi-finals and finals have been free to the public for the last four years, and this will continue this year as the competition marks its 25th anniversary.

"When we started this, I never thought it would grow to what it is today," he said.

He said sponsorship pays for the event, but could not provide a figure for this year as yet as these details were still being worked out with the sponsors.

However, the National Lotteries Control Board (NLCB) has been primary sponsor for the last 16 years and will continue to do so. Also, CSM also has Community Development, Culture and the Arts Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby Dolly's support, said Singh, although he does not know how much the organisation will receive as a subvention.

"I am hopeful that we will continue to get the support that we normally get," Singh said. The prize structure is also yet to be determined but will be announced before the semi-finals at Space Night Club in Gulf View, La Romaine on January 18. The names of the semi-finalists will be announced on January 8. The first prize reached a high of $2 million in the last decade until plummeting to $300,000 in recent years.

Singh said artistes have always received their money, and should there be a tie in the finals there is a written rule that the first and second place prizes are divided equally between the winners.

The finals takes place at Guaracara Park in Pointe-a-Pierre on February 8. Singh said Guaracara Park and the Space Night Club were suitable venues for the competition, and did not foresee smaller crowds attending either event because CSM is not taking place at Skinner Park, San Fernando, which is currently being upgraded. Singh also noted Calypso Fiesta, the semi-finals of the Calypso Monarch competition, also takes place at Guaracara Park.

He also said CSM Toronto 2019 winner Veekash Sahadeo will compete in the finals. In addition to being broadcast live on CNC3 and Sangeet 106 FM, Singh said CSM25 will also be available live on YouTube. There will also be five live viewing parties in New York, Orlando, Toronto and Fort Lauderdale. He said this will allow the audience at the finals and the audiences at these venues to crossover at different times of the night. He believed this was the first time that a live two-way viewing event has ever happened in TT.

Singh said governments, state companies and sponsors who supported CSM for the last 25 years can be proud to see that "these monies have not been handouts but investments in our music industry."

Ministry representative Marlon De Bique pledged Government's continued support for the competition.

Nishard Mayrhoo, who won last year's CSM with Navin Chatelal, encouraged all stakeholders to promote unity to ensure the competition's success. Chutney soca artiste Ravi B (Bissambhar), a former winner, added, "CSM is very important to our industry."

CSM25 will also see the presentation of awards to Mungal Patasar, Teddy Bissambhar, Moonesar Chanka, Ajeet Priamsingh, Fareed Mohammed, Rikki Jai, Shamoon Mohammed, Purushotham Singh, Verendra Persad, Mohan Jaikeran, Rishi Mahatoo, Big Rich and the Punkalunks Factory, Drupatee, NCLB and the Community Development Culture and Arts Ministry for their contribution to the chutney soca industry. The awards for Fareed Mohammed, Chanka, Priamsingh and Jaikaran will be done posthumously.

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"Southex CEO: Chutney Soca Monarch not about making money"

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