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Fyah Empress turns up heat on Carnival hosts, as lawyers file injunction in T&T

Fyah Empress turns up heat on Carnival hosts, as lawyers file injunction in T&T


At press time yesterday, Lornette “Fya Empress” Nedd-Reid and her attorney Keith Scotland had filed an injunction to reverse the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organization’s (TUCO) decision to throw her out of the Trinidad and Tobago Calypso Monarch competition, scheduled for this Sunday.

Scotland told SEARCHLIGHT that they are now awaiting an appointment from the court to meet with a judge either Thursday or today, Friday.

Nedd-Reid, who made the finals for the first time since her move to Trinidad 15 years ago, qualified for the calypso finals in position number eight, but calypsonian Lynette “Lady Gypsy” Steele filed a pre-action protocol letter through her lawyer Gerald Ramdeen, stating that Nedd-Reid was not eligible to take part in the competition because of her nationality.

Nedd-Reid is a Vincentian by birth, but is married to a Trinidadian. She is currently undergoing the process of becoming a naturalized Trinidadian.

The drama has come as Steele narrowly missed out on a place in the finals, after placing 16th in last Sunday’s semis. She has been listed as the first reserve, so one way to get into the finals was to have Nedd-Reid blocked.

Steele has now taken Nedd-Reid’s place in Sunday’s finals and TUCO said in a letter to Nedd-Reid said that unless she is able to provide proof of her citizenship, she is disqualified.

Steele’s lawyer, Gerald Ramdeen, in the letter to TUCO, said that Rule 2.7 of TUCO’s adjudication handbook states only Trinidad and Tobago citizens over the age of 16 are allowed to participate in the competition.

“The nationality criteria for a competition such as the National Calypso Monarch Competition is a requirement that is grounded in logic and reasonableness, having regard to the status and nationalistic persona of the person holding that title,” Ramdeen’s letter stated.

Steele was threatening to sue TUCO and seek an injunction preventing Nedd-Reid’s participation if TUCO had failed to rectify the situation within 24 hours.

The Trinidadian Guardian said that a couple of hours after the letter was issued, Ramdeen confirmed he was contacted by TUCO’s lawyer and told his client’s request had been complied with, negating the need to continue to pursue the claim.

When contacted on Wednesday, Nedd-Reid, who has lived in Trinidad for the last 15 years and has won St Vincent and the Grenadines’ Soca Monarch, Calypso Monarch and Road March titles said that she was saddened by TUCO’s decision, as she has been a financial member of that organization since 2007.

“How come they were taking my dues if there was a problem with my nationality,” questioned Nedd-Reid via telephone on Wednesday.

She said that she is seeking to have the matter addressed legally.

“I can’t give you anything right now until I finish with my lawyer. We have sent in a letter to them threatening an injunction…so right now I’m back and forth doing stuff and getting other information that they need so I can’t give you an answer right now into what will happen,” Nedd-Reid told SEARCHLIGHT, adding, “We have to do it the legal way”.

She said that she has been competing in Trinidad and Tobago since 2007 and this is the first time that her nationality has come up.

“I’m at a loss, I won competitions under their (TUCO) belt”, commented Nedd-Reid, who was Trinidad and Tobago’s national calypso queen in 2012 and who is a three-time Tobago Soca Monarch, a four-time International Soca Monarch semi-finalist and a four-time Trinidad and Tobago calypso semi-finalist.

Nedd-Reid said that she was having problems with TUCO since the beginning of the season as when she made the semi-final cut they said that she had sung the song two years ago and when they could not prove it, “that was washed under the carpet.”

“Now I make it to the finals, they are saying my nationality is a problem,” said Nedd-Reid.

Ronald Berkley, one of Nedd-Reid’s supporters said that the claim is not fully TUCO’s complaint, but Steele’s and her lawyer’s (Ramdeen).

“TUCO know what taking place…so all of this happening, but they claiming they don’t know what happening.

“I think we have a lawsuit for the lawyer (Ramdeen) for defamation of character because they dragging her name with everything they doing,” said Berkley, who worked at the Tobago branch of TUCO when Nedd-Reid signed up in 2007.

On Wednesday, Scotland wrote to the TUCO demanding that they “immediately and forthwith” reinstate Nedd-Reid as a finalist.

Scotland said that Nedd-Reid should be put back into the competition before 12 p.m. on Thursday, February 23 and TUCO should pay costs “to date in the sum of $5,000.00”.

“If you fail to comply with any of the above-given demands, we have firm instructions from our clients to thereafter and forthwith and without more to file for injunctive relief, against you, without further notice to compel you so to do,” said Scotland in his letter to TUCO’s president Lutalo Masimba.

But at 1 p.m. yesterday TUCO had not responded and Scotland and Nedd-Reid told SEARCHLIGHT that they they were on their way to court to have the matter addressed.

“Not because she is from St Vincent, she is a dog,” said Scotland angrily.

Nedd-Reid said on Thursday that the dilemma is taking a toll on her, while costing her a lot of money.(LC)