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Judge rules in favour of O’Connor
Former calypso monarch Duane O’Connor was allowed to compete in last night’s Calypso Monarch finals following a last ditch legal challenge yesterday evening.
Delivering an oral judgment at the Hall of Justice in Port-of-Spain almost exactly an hour before the Dimanche Gras show was due to begin at 7 pm yesterday evening, High Court judge Ricky Rahim ruled in favour of O’Connor in his lawsuit against the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation (Tuco).
Under Rahim’s order Tuco was instructed to allow O’Connor, who won the competition in 2012, to perform his song No Front Page in position 17 after reining monarch Dr Hollis “Chalkdust” Liverpool.
In a brief telephone interview after the decision was handed down, O’Connor said he felt happy after a week of legal wrangling with Tuco.
“After all the pressure I have been through this week, I feel elated and so happy,” O’Connor said.
He said he was disappointed with Tuco as it repeatedly refused to accede to his requests resolve the dispute without having to go to court.
Asked about how his chances in the competition, O’Connor said: “I am now going home to change but I ready for them tonight.”
In his lawsuit, O’Connor was challenging a judge’s decision to change his score for melody, from 28 to 25, during last Saturday’s Calypso Fiesta semifinals at Skinner Park in San Fernando.
O’Connor claimed that the change was unjustified as melody is constant and does not change during the song.
He alleged that the three point change resulted in him narrowly missing out on the finals.
O’Connor initially challenged the decision with Tuco’s Adjudicating Review Committee, which dismissed his claim earlier this week.
The committee also stated that there was no express rule preventing judges from changing scores provided the error was acknowledged and corrected on the score sheet as done in O’Connor’s claim.
O’Connor’s lawyers sent a pre-action protocol letter to Tuco on Wednesday indicating the committee was wrong as the rules required it to summon the judge to explain the error when it was queried by their client.
While O’Connor’s lawyers acknowledged that he could have appealed the decision with Tuco’s general council but such a process was impractical due to time.
O’Connor was expected to file the lawsuit on Friday but it was eventually filed shortly after midday yesterday, after Tuco refused a last minute appeal from O’Connor for a compromise.
O’Connor’s son Duane Junior won this year’s Junior Calypso Monarch title.
O’Connor is not the first person to gain entry into the finals through legal means. Last year, St Vincent-born Lornette “Fya Empress” Nedd-Reid was allowed to enter the finals after she won her lawsuit over being barred from the competition due to her nationality.
Tuco was represented by Tim Cherriandie.
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