Winston “Gypsy” Peters, Trinidadian calypsonian and politician, said he would not back the prime minister’s defamation suit against calypsonian Lena “Queen Ivena” Phillip nor would he support the approach taken by the Festivals Commission on the matter.
“As a calypsonian, that is not something I’m going to sanction at all,” the calypsonian said about Prime Minister Gaston Browne’s lawsuit over words that he alleges defame his character in the artist’s song called Nastiness. Gypsy admitted to not knowing the full story behind the lawsuit, including the lyrics in question, but added that he had never heard of any such action being taken by anyone against a calypsonian.
“We, in Trinidad and Tobago, sing about the prime minister, the president, the king, the queen and everybody. In fact, when they sang so much on Eric Williams, Eric Williams said let the jackass bray and ended it right there,” he said. According to the calypsonian, taking legal action against calypsonians for the lyrical content of their songs is not ordinarily a good move for any government minister.
“I don’t know if that kind of action would do any prime minister or any government minister any good. I think that is going to do him more harm than good. If calypsonians all turn on that particular person, what they gonna do, tell them they can’t sing?” he reasoned.
At the same time, he reiterated that to be fair to the country’s leader, he did not have all the details. But he also said there could have been other ways to deal with the gripe over the lyrics. “It is not something I can sanction but again I am saying I don’t know all the happenings behind it.
I don’t even know the song that you are talking about even though I heard about it. So, I don’t know if the song is libellous or if it is so offensive that the prime minister will take offence to it where he would want to sue a calypsonian,” he said.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)