While it is not unusual for Vincentian calypsonians to provide entertainment during political meetings, it is also not customary for many of them to significantly intersperse addresses with renditions and social commentaries.
Sunday night, therefore, was extraordinary, as a handful of Vincentian calypso bards entertained an appreciative crowd, at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center in Brooklyn, during a town hall meeting of the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Former national calypso monarch De Man Age, Bob MC, Patches Knight, I-Madd and Fabulous T were on hand, injecting biting social commentaries on issues of the day in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. As expected, they all received rave reviews from the largely partisan audience.
Bob MC sang “Comrade, the Ship is Sinking,” alluding to Prime Minister Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves, popularly called “De Comrade;” I-Madd claimed that “Somebody Going to Jail” and “Ah Want De Country to Win;” and Knight urged “Free Yuggi,” referring to the former actress, who was hospitalized at the Mental Hospital at Glen after allegedly making derogatory remarks about the wife of Finance Minister Camillo Gonsalves, the eldest son of Prime Minister Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves.
Yuggi also alleged that she had a sexual affair with the younger Gonsalves.
De Man Age reminded the audience at the town hall meeting, and those listening and viewing on radio and live stream, respectively, that “We Have a Country to Build.”
Echoing the theme, “One Nation, One People, One SVG (St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” I-Madd prefaced his rendition of “Somebody Going to Jail” by proclaiming: “We have a democracy to restore.”
“If you have anything to say, use the microphone,” he urged the crowd. “Dr. Friday (Goodwin, the leader of the opposition) is not going to the basement and hide (loud laughter).”
The latter statement was a clear jab at Prime Minister Gonsalves, who did not hold a town hall meeting in Brooklyn, as is customary, after addressing the United Nations General Assembly in September.
Instead, the Vincentian leader told reporters, after returning home, that he was very busy with official meetings while in New York and had met with Vincentians in their homes in Brooklyn. It was not clear whether he had met with any national in basements in Brooklyn, as is being alleged.
Critics, however, say the prime minister was fearful of any disruption at a town hall meeting in Brooklyn, as was the case last year when a female member of the audience — reportedly an NDP supporter — accused him of sexual assault many years ago. Gonsalves has vehemently denied the allegation.
After offering “Ah Want De Country to Win,” I-Madd said: “If you look at St. Vincent and the Grenadines, everything is falling apart.
“I’m just trying to inspire our people,” he said. “We all want St. Vincent and the Grenadines to win.”
Knight sang that it was “a conspiracy to discredit Yuggi,” adding: “Free Yuggi/Set the damn girl free.”
“We have to ensure the people like the New Democratic Party,” he said afterwards. “The time has come to stand up for morality and ethical behavior.”
In his introductory remarks, Dr. Friday expressed appreciation for the unusually large gathering for an NDP town hall meeting in Brooklyn, quipping to loud applause: “This couldn’t be in a basement, two basements or three basements.
“As De Man Age said, ‘We have a country to build,’” he added. “I’m so happy to see such a large crowd. What a blessing!”