The Barbados Association of Masqueraders (BAM) is calling for a formal investigation into the results of last weekend’s Junior Kadooment contest, following objections raised by some of the bandleaders.
Last Saturday 25-year-old Kevin Small walked away with the coveted Best Junior Band award for his Fifth Element band, Candy Land 246, beating out veteran bandleaders Gwyneth Squires and Trevor Nicholls, who had to settle for second and third place respectively, despite capturing most of the category prizes.
Budding bandleader Sanka Price also captured a number of category prizes with his Blackbird Productions band A Living Legend and His Music – A Tribute to the Mighty Gabby.
However, since last weekend’s event some of the bandleaders have expressed surprise over the result while calling on the organizers to explain how the decision was reached.
Squires has also threatened to take the matter to court if necessary.
After meeting with members of his association on Monday night, BAM President Chetwyn Stewart, who was only made aware of the situation after he returned to the island on Sunday, told Barbados TODAY it was decided that a formal letter of complaint would be lodged with the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) requesting an official investigation, given that some bandleaders received a number of awards but still could not place in the Best Junior Band competition.
“We just need to understand how it works. There should be some clarity to it. I don’t think it is asking too much to see how they arrived at the winner. I think that is straightforward. I don’t see why it should be an issue,” Stewart said.
While acknowledging there was a point system in place, Stewart said it was now a matter of “just looking and seeing how the points were given” with a view to determining “who should have won and who shouldn’t have won.
“The rule apparently is clear that it is an aggregate of points so the person with the most points should win,” he stressed.
Small’s Fifth Element, which had six sections and 221 masqueraders, was not only adjudged Best Junior Band, but also won the prize for Most Colourful masquerade band.
However, Squires’ larger band, which portrayed Kites at De Garrison Savannah, captured the Junior King and Best Flag Person awards, while Nicholls’ Young Spirit Community Group band Colour Me Crop Over captured the Community Costume, Fantasy and BMA Brands of Barbados awards. He also placed second in the Environmental category while Price’s band won in the Folklore, Tropical and Historical categories.
In light of the controversy, Small, who secured his third win in four years and who has been participating in the competition for the past 11 years, told Barbados TODAY on Monday that he was somewhat disappointed with the position taken by his fellow bandleaders, given that in the past he had walked away with more awards than others who had won the competition.
“I don’t judge myself, I am a participant in the competition. None of us is sure what the judges are looking for at any given time. For me, I gave it my best, I came out and delivered a fantastic presentation in my eyes and the people looking on enjoyed it totally and I achieved a goal.
“I am a little disappointed in my fellow bandleaders because there have been years gone when I would have been placed second and I would have probably walked away with a few more prizes than the person who would have walked away the winner, and I for sure did not keep any noise,” he said.
When contacted Wednesday, Chief Executive Officer of the NCF Cranston Browne said he could not comment publicly on the matter at this stage because there was a process of arbitration that must be followed.
“The rules for Junior Kadooment make provisions for a process of arbitration to resolve any matter in dispute or requiring clarification by the participants in the competition. The band leaders are well aware of this process and have sought arbitration on issues in the past. They are also aware that they can submit their concerns in writing, in a sealed envelope and address it to The Arbiter, the National Cultural Foundation,” the NCF said in a subsequent statement in which it noted that the aggrieved bandleaders intended to file an official objection to the NCF.
“Until such time and until an arbitration process is complete, we are unable to comment on this matter,” it added.