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BARBADOS - National Cultural Foundation

Crop Over 2006- Mount Gay/Cable & Wireless Party Monarch

Mount Gay/Cable & Wireless Party Monarch Finals.

by RICKY JORDAN Compliments of the Nation news 31/07/06

Mount Gay/Cable & Wireless Party Monarch 2006 A NEW CHAMPION set the Mount Gay/Cable & Wireless Party Monarch aflame, six-time king Edwin bowed out in second place, while the biggest crowd ever packed the rolling East Coast hills of the Calypso Bowl yesterday.

Barry Chandler, the 22-year-old former Richard Stoute Teen Talent winner, copped the 2006 Party Monarch title with a song called Flames to become the youngest winner in the 11-year-old competition that has become Crop-Over's largest mass event.

"I feel great," said the overwhelmed vocalist who also leads nightclub band Jabae alongside his identical twin brother, Bruce.

"Being in a competition with Li'l Rick and Edwin, I didn't know what to expect," Chandler added, noting his routine – a display of delightful singing, a bevy of dancers and his own timbales playing – had been co-ordinated by friends Dwayne Grazette and Neil Bernard.

Yesterday's successes, which saw prize payouts of close to $90 000 for competitors, also overwhelmed chairman of the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) Anthony "Al" Gilkes, who said confidently that the crowd had surpassed the previous largest one of 30 000 patrons in 2004.

Following last year's disappointing audience of 7 000, he described yesterday's turnout as "fantastic" and congratulated the estimated 32 000 people on their exemplary behaviour, since there were no major incidents.

"We have become carried away by a misguided few, but Barbadians are traditionally . . . 99.9 per cent well-behaved people," he said at the end of the eight-hour show.

The event, which was also six-time Party Monarch winner Edwin's swansong and a "test run" for next year's Cricket World Cup, was generally peaceful, with police, transport and emergency services reporting relatively "smooth sailing".

Police reported the arrests of eight men and a woman: five of the men and the woman for drug possession, two for causing a disturbance, and the other for obstruction; while at least one man was assisting the police with a reported robbery.

No accidents or incidents of disorderly behaviour were reported up to last night, according to the police.

Word from the state-owned Transport Board, meanwhile, was that the four-hour waits that characterised shuttling patrons in 2004 had vastly improved since 75 buses were deployed. However, the usual traffic jam of public and private vehicles was evident last night after the show ended at 7.

Most of the crowd, who had waited to see the performances of Contone, Pong, krosfyah and Machel Montano before the eagerly-awaited results were announced, tried to leave the venue at the same time, snarling traffic between St Andrew, St Joseph and St Peter.



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