~ SCDF clarifies its position ~PHILIPSBURG--On Sunday, the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) announced the disqualification of Roxanne “Roxxy” Webster and another finalist via its social media page on Facebook and the news media. According to a press statement on Monday from Webster, the organisation had not made any direct contact to update her or share any concerns or queries in regard to her disqualification.
She learned of her dismissal from the 2023 NAGICO Senior Calypso Finals via social media. She noted that she made it to the finals on Friday, March 24, and ranked number two amongst the top 10 selected calypsonians.
Webster said that shortly after the announcement she learned that her dismissal was the combined decision of the Soualiga Kaiso Artiste Foundation (SKAF) and SCDF which advised that her song “Woman doing that too” had been entered in a previous calypso competition.
This song was performed at a female regional competition in December 2022 which consisted of females only. She said that this was not a national calypso competition.
Via her personal Facebook page, Webster shared her thoughts on the events soon after learning of the disqualification. In her post she questioned whether a song composed in July or August 2022 and used as part of a talent segment for a queen or king pageant is invalid to be used for the 2023 Calypso Monarch competition.
“A song sung in a competition outside of St. Maarten in December of last year, having never been entered before or was never utilised in any of our national monarch competitions, is now rendered used or old,” she questioned.
Webster stated that it was the SCDF’s responsibility to ensure that, on registration, a copy of the competition rules and regulations is given to all contestants. “Once this is done, whether or not the contestant reads it, SCDF can stand clear of any incidence of breach, as its responsibility and mandate to ensure the rules and regulations are explicitly known to all was carried out,” she continued.
“Each year's competition is a new competition with a life of its own, and should be treated as such. SCDF should not perceive on its own that, well, he/she is accustomed to competing so they should know. Rules are fluid and can change. If they do, state this to all participants and stakeholders clearly and if they have not, reiterate the existing rules to all stakeholders, inclusive of participants, the media, sponsors and the public.”
Webster said it is SCDF’s responsibility to carry out its necessary checks and balances to ensure that all entrants meet the required criteria for entry into the competition. She said there was more than enough and sufficient time from the open to closing date of the registration process to the date of the eliminations to ensure that all procedures and guidelines governing entry into an SCDF sanctioned competition is adhered to by all.
“If you, the SCDF, drops the ball, don’t penalise someone innocently to pick up the ball for you. Due diligence to be followed is, has and will always lie in the hands of the SCDF. Failure to do so then lies with you.
“A song was allowed to be registered, entered and sung in competition by the SCDF. Had this participant or song as per the judge's decision not qualified, or placed ninth or tenth and not in the position it finished, I ask myself, would we be having this conversation today? Who knows? ...
“The SCDF has allowed each participant, through participation in the eliminations, to have a legitimate expectation to go on to be crowned winner of its competition. Once you would have been successfully allowed to register, enter, compete and progress, this expectation by ALL participants cannot be taken away by the SCDF for any reason other than not having progressed from the elimination stage of the competition.”
In an invitation for comment from the SCDF, the foundation noted that the two calypsonians are members of the Soualiga Kaiso Artiste Foundation (SKAF). When asked by The Daily Herald whether the foundation had informed the singers of their disqualification, SCDF explained that by agreement with SKAF, they are not allowed to contact its members directly.
“As such, SCDF has kept to this agreement and informed SKAF accordingly about the status of the singers,” the foundation said, further noting that SKAF had registered all of its members with SCDF as a group.