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Grenada’s Culture Minister Norland Cox believes that if a foreigner wins the International Soca Monarch (ISM) it would be a win for Trinidad and Tobago.
Hollis “Mr Killa” Mapp – the best known of the local artistes for the big show in TNT carnival.
Cox, who was in T&T ahead of last Sunday’s semi-final round of the ISM, told a local media outfit in TNT that should a foreigner win the title, it would show the world that the event is truly an international one.
“It removes any thinking or perception that someone outside of Trinidad cannot win the Power soca monarch and it will create new hope because the thinking is that no one but a Trini could win,” he said.
“Trinidad will say hey we have an international event, once you come with the best product you can walk away with the title. It will add value to what you have here,” he added.
Grenada’s Mr Killa and Natty and Thunder, who both made it into the finals, are among those heavily favoured for the Power Soca Monarch title.
Mr Legz, also of Grenada is also into the finals of the ISM as well while V’ghn and Mandella will compete in the final of the Groovy category.
Commenting on a proposal by ISM Chairman Fay Ann Lyons that the winner of the ISM be allowed to compete in regional Soca Monarch competitions, Cox said that is difficult since theirs is only open to Grenadian nationals.
He said, however, that he is open to supporting the winner of all major events in Grenada as a guest artiste in the Trinidad shows.
Acknowledging the popularity of the Jab Jab sound in T&T, Cox said the rhythm is one of Grenada’s signature cultural assets.
Minister of Youth, Sports, Culture and the Arts, Norland Cox addresses a media conference at The Normandie at St Ann’s in Trinidad
“We do not believe we should keep anything for ourselves, it is an opportunity to share it and allow people to know more about Grenada.
We do hope that persons can enjoy it wherever we have it,” he said, revealing a documentary outlining the history of the sound was recently released.
Extending an invitation to all Trinis to visit Grenada for its SpiceMas in August, Cox said T&T is to thank for the growth of the festival as the twin-island continues to be the measure by which Grenada bases its own festival.
Minister Cox also announced that the Trinidad-based Caribbean Prestige Foundation (CPF) is working on creating a relationship with Grenada that would give both local and Grenadian artistes greater career opportunities.
Cox said the CPF and the Spicemas Corporation were working on the logistics of “some sort of exchange” for the monarchs from each country to visit the other and experience what each had to offer in terms of soca products.
He said his government was open to any of the TT monarchs to visit Grenada to perform as a guest artist at any event for Grenada carnival.
“We have the opportunity here for our artistes to have a platform in Trinidad, we will provide that opportunity for Trinidad calypsonians to have a platform in Grenada by way of performing as a guest artist at one of our premiere shows.
“We don’t see soca as just Trinidad, we don’t see soca as just a Grenadian product but as a regional and Caribbean product and it’s important for us to walk together because we have different styles, we have different approaches, and (because of) the culture itself… the sound has its own uniqueness. We believe by meshing that, both countries are going to benefit from us coming together.”
Cox admitted that the world looked to TT to “certify” a soca artiste so performing at the ISM could do that for those Grenadian artistes in addition to being excellent exposure to the bigger soca market of TT, and opening opportunities for them to partner with local artistes.
Cox said he was happy Grenada could be part of Carnival in TNT as he believed they would add value to it.
Prior to the semi-final show on Sunday, the Grenada Minister said he hoped that some, if not all of the artistes from the Spice Isle would make it to the finals on Fantastic Friday on March 1.
“We want to commend them and wish them all the best in… (the) semi-finals. We know they are going to do great. We know that they have a good product”, he said.
All five made it into the finals – Hollis “Mr Killa” Mapp, Hector “Mr Legz” Thomas, and Dingaan Henry and Nyelon Williams, aka Lil Natty and Thunder, in the Power Soca category; as well as Mandella “Mandella Linkz” McDonald, and Jevaughn “V’ghn” John in the Groovy category.