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Put the rumours to rest: Red Plastic Bag will not be competing this year.
Confirmation of this came yesterday from the National Cultural Foundation (NCF), when chief executive officer, Ian Estwick, responding to questions from the Press, said the NCF received a letter that same morning stating the reigning monarch would not be defending his crown.
“We got a letter from him this morning [Thursday]. He will not be defending his crown. He has given adequate notice and we have accepted his situation. He will be performing on Saturday at the Opening Gala,” Estwick added to the statement made by the NCF.
“The NCF is aware of the fact that every individual has a right to make his or her choice with respect to competition. And over the years this has been the norm where calypsonians enter when they wished.
“There is nothing strange about it, it is the choice of the individual. The NCF is there to facilitate the competition and to make sure that the choice is there for the calypsonians,” the NCF statement read.
RPB himself could not be reached for comment, but he had said as early as last year during his 21st anniversary celebration in calypso that he might not have been performing.
A source close to RPB said, however, that Bag was trying to avoid making the announcement before the Headliners tent faced the judges tonight. “He is taking a break to reassess his position considering that he had put in 22 consecutive years of participation in the festival, but the decision to reassess is particularly in light of the controversy surrounding piracy and all the rumours for the year,” the source said.
“He had good material, he had been recording before the controversy reached its peak and had enough for his annual album,” the source added.
Reaction from the calypso community was very matter of fact. A number of people contacted did not want to comment, while some quickly accepted RPB’s decision not compete.
“I think every man must decide what he wants to do and live by his decisions. It is Bag’s choice — no one else’s,” was all manager of the Headliners tent, Adrian Boo Husbands would say.
President of the Barbados Association of Tent Managers (BATMAN), Peter Boyce, was equally succinct.
“It is unfortunate that Bag is not competing and I feel that his contribution will be missed for Crop-Over 2004. His absence will be felt at the Pic-O-De Crop Finals,” Boyce said.
RPB joins the growing list of “shareholders” who are not competing. This includes Invader and John King and Colin Spencer.
Compliments of the Nation News
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