The Organization of Calypso Performing Artists (OCPA) and calypsonian ‘Panman Pat’ McNeilly have settled a dispute arising from last year’s Calypso Monarch final.
The two-time champion abruptly pulled the plug on his performance midway through his second presentation, handing the microphone to Ossie Gurley & the Truth band bass player, Estaban Carvalho, before nonchalantly leaving the stage. He later told Share that a technical problem with the drum machine resulting in an audible feedback was too distracting for him to continue.
To add to the confusion, McNeilly finished fourth, much to the dismay of the audience, many of whom felt he should have been disqualified. The Juno award winner received his fourth $1,000 prize, but his performance honorarium was withheld.
Each finalist receives $300.
At a recent OCPA general meeting, the decision was made to present the calypsonian with the honorarium.
“We as a board felt we should have given him a chance to explain his position and we did not do that,” said OCPA president Colin Benjamin. “We held back his $300 based on what we observed and heard. We have written Panman Pat explaining the decision we have taken and his money is forthcoming. Moving forward, participants have to sign a code of conduct which we have drafted. This is new and it basically says you have to respect your fellow calypsonians and the paying public. If a calypsonian walks off stage again without completing their two renditions, due process is in place to deal with that. What happened last year will not be tolerated again.”
McNeilly, who holds a Diploma in Education from Queen’s University and is a member of the Ontario College of Teachers, has already signed the code of conduct.
OCPA, meanwhile, has established a new summer event. With support from the Festival Management Committee (FMC), Calypso Riddims – a three-day festival – will take place from July 11-13.
“This will incorporate various genres of calypso, including soca, gospel and chutney and it’s something to showcase our calypsonians and raise some money for our organization,” said Benjamin.
This year’s Calypso Monarch final takes place on July 26 at Burrows Hall Community Centre, 1081 Progress Ave.