Judges of Calypso in Saint Lucia came together last week Thursday, March 24th to establish the first ever Calypso Judges Association of Saint Lucia.
The Association, which has been in planning for the past two years, held their first Annual General Meeting via zoom where they approved a constitution and elected a four-person executive to run their affairs for the next two years.
Among the 22-member body is veteran Calypso Judge and retired Human Resource Development specialist Martin Weekes who was given a resounding mandate to Chair the Management Committee of this new body.
He will be ably assisted by a Secretary, another long-serving Calypso Judge and professionally trained Psychologist (with experience in personal and professional development) Constance-Ann Paul-Akuffo.
Yet another long-serving Calypso Judge, Musician and Secondary School Teacher, Jacqueline John will assume the role of Treasurer; while Tourism & Entertainment veteran,
long-serving Calypso Judge, General Manager Mervin S. Joseph, is taking up the role of Public Relations and Communications Officer.
The objectives of the Association are to:
(a) organize existing Judges into a membership association to represent the interest of its members.
(b) improve the capacity of the judging fraternity to acceptable levels or the prescribed standards.
(c) provide high standards of effective adjudication services to Calypso, Soca and related song competitions both during the Carnival Season and otherwise.
(d) collaborate with other affiliated groups and agencies, including Performing Artistes and or their representatives.
(e) Seek to engage relevant stakeholders in on-going processes of improvement of operating standards, etc.
During the planning phase of the Association, which began in late 2019, the committee has developed via consultation with key stakeholders and professional songwriters and musicians, new judging criteria for Extempo which uses the “Santimanitay” melody; as well as an updated judging framework with detailed criteria for Calypso.
Calypsonians have been asking for this for years and the Association is anxious to share and discuss this new detailed framework with stakeholders.
Newly elected Chairperson of the Calypso Judges Association Slu, Martin Weekes says the Association is expected to embark on training for all interested new Judges and also refreshers for veteran judges, as a priority activity.
The Association is expected to submit its credentials, this week beginning March 28th, to the Ministry responsible for Creative Industries and to the Cultural Development Foundation.