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Artistes want more prize money

John Sealy

Artistes want more prize money

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THE NEWLY touted representative body of local calypsonians – the Barbados United Calypsonians Association (BUCA) – is putting the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) on notice.
And one of the first issues on the agenda will be a call for increased prize monies in the NCF’s annual Pic-O-De-Crop calypso competition. 
“Our membership is spreading quickly,” said Anthony Mighty Gabby Carter, reigning calypso king, who spoke on behalf of the new entity.
Gabby, an eight-time calypso monarch, said BUCA’s membership got bigger with every meeting, and it was hoped that the Barbados Association of Tent Managers (BATMAN) would come on board to put a united front to the NCF.
“I anticipate a cordial relationship between our two associations.” 
When contacted, BATMAN was willing to throw its support behind the fledging BUCA since “any united front would serve the interest of the calypsonians and the tents because they go hand in hand”, its president Sinclair Gittens said.
“I don’t think that we would be at loggerheads. We used to work before with United Artists of Barbados (UAB) and I don’t see working with BUCA as any conflict of interest,” Gittens added. 
Gabby said BUCA had not met as a general body, but it would be seeking an increase in prize monies for calypsonians “not necessarily this year, but for sure next year”. 
In making his case for increased fees Gabby said: “The disparity between what happens in Trinidad and what happens with us [Barbados] is a joke.” 
During the last Trinidad Carnival, soca competitions saw significant increases in prize moneys for participants.
“What I am saying to you is that we have not had an increase in ten years in the prize money for the monarch and other competitions. Those things will change, and drastically so, in the not too distant future when we negotiate with NCF.
“But right now in this year what we need are small things done: like passes for all calypsonians, recognition of our semi-finalists and writers at our finals.”
Gabby said BUCA, now operating as an ad hoc committee, was not on “any warpath with the NCF, but we just want to go and negotiate and make things better overall and get a fairer share of the reported and estimated  $85 million to $100 million that come into Barbados at [Crop Over] time. We want all our [artistic] players in the Crop Over festival to benefit”. 
“BUCA is not self-centred or selfish. We are looking after all the players in the festival.”
Gabby is confident that BUCA will not fall by the wayside as happened to many efforts before to form a body to representing the calypsonians.