Machel sentencing in February

Soca star Machel Montano and Kernal Roberts as they left the Port of Spain Magistrate’s Court earlier today. (Trinidad Express)


Magistrate Maureen Baboolal-Gafoor intends to sentence soca superstar Machel Montano on five criminal charges on February 25.

Montano, the headline act for several Carnival 2013 fetes, including his own show Machel Monday scheduled for February 4, had previously assured his fans that he would be performing this Carnival in the face of his court hearing today.

For almost three hours this morning, lawyers representing Montano and his co-defendant, songwriter and producer Kernal Roberts, who was found guilty on two assault charges, and those representing the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, made legal submissions to the magistrate before a packed to capacity courtroom, at the Port of Spain Magistrates Court.

The legal arguments surrounded whether or not the two defendants can be sentenced to community service for the offences.

“There was a mini-stampede to get into the courtroom,” Express reporter Rickie Ramdass said, adding that at times police officers had to lock the doors to the courtroom to prevent fans and other people from entering.

Montano, the reigning Power Soca Monarch and Road March king, along with Roberts, the son of legendary Calypso icon Lord Kitchener, Joel "Zan" Feveck, a member of Montano HD Family, and Rodney "Benjai" LeBlanc, best known for his patriotic song, Trini, were all charged with a series of criminal offences arising out a fracas outside the Zen nightclub, in Port of Spain in April 2007.

Montano and Roberts were found guilty on December 10, last year.

Montano was found guilty on four charges of assault against Gerard Bowrin, Brandis Browne, Janelle Lee Chee and Russell Pollonais.

Montano was also found guilty of using obscene language during the same incident.

Roberts, the composer of several of Montano's hits, was also found guilty on two charges of assault while Benjai, who was charged with two offences of assault and Feveck, who was charged with a single offence of assault , were found not guilty.

Benjai is currently on trial before a San Fernando Magistrate on the unrelated charge of assaulting a police officer in the execution of his duty at an event on December 18 last year. (Trinidad Express)

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Soca Monarch shocker

By Wayne Bowman

Bunji Garlin and Fay Ann Lyons-Alvarez have both bowed out of the International Groovy and Power Soca Monarch competitions, respectively.

The couple announced this last night, saying they decided to withdraw because they believe that fundamental clauses in the competitors' contracts were objectionable and demanded too much of the winners.

They were therefore advised by their management and legal representatives that it was best they pull out of the competition before the semi-final round on Sunday at the Arima Velodrome. Bunji had pulled position number 15 and Lyons-Alvarez number 20.

Among the elements in the contract with which Bunji and Lyons-Alvarez took exception to was the rule that winners must give back to the Caribbean Prestige Foundation (CPF) five per cent of the winnings.

Also, the winners must defend the respective titles the following year, or they will have to pay back 90 per cent of the prize money.

Another clause the artistes are objecting to in the contract is that the winners must attend the prize distribution ceremony wherever it may be, here at home or abroad.

Chairman of CPF William Munro, said last night he was saddened and very hurt over Lyons-Alvarez and Bunji pulling out only two days before the semi-finals, and he was hoping they would reconsider.

"There was never any discussion. They could have even sent a letter, and I would have sat down with them to see how we could work things out. Last year, I had two meetings with many of the artistes at my home, and we presented the rules and they were agreed on."

"Fay Ann topped the Power in the preliminaries and Bunji topped in the Groovy. I am wondering how the public is going to take this news because everybody was so happy when they returned.

"I hope they will reconsider or at least meet with me. I have no malice and still love them. I will bend over backwards for them, but I can't change the rules to please only two people," Munro said.

Lyons-Alvarez and Bunji did not compete in the Soca Monarch competition last year and at that time announced they were considering not returning because they wanted to focus on taking their music directly to an international audience.

When Bunji ended up with a major hit with the release of the song "Differentology" in November last year, people began to call for his return to the competition. This was the same with Lyons-Alvarez when she released, among other songs, "D Stage Open".

After several weeks of saying they will consider returning to the Soca Monarch if that was what the people wanted, the couple's management registered them to compete, with Bunji in the Groovy and Lyons-Alvarez in the Power Soca Monarch.

Adding to the excitement of their return was the fact that Lyons' father, five-time Soca Monarch champion SuperBlue, had also made a comeback after an over-decade-long hiatus.

All soca music fans and the public at large were anticipating a grand showdown at the Hasely Crawford National Stadium on Carnival Friday between Lyons-Alvarez, SuperBlue, Iwer George and defending Power Soca champion Machel Montano, as well as the clash between Bunji and Montano in the Groovy category.

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Soca 21….The People’s Event!!!

Who will be competing on Sunday January 20th 2013 at the Arima Velodrome, to secure their places in the Finals on Fantastic Friday of the Play Whe International Power Soca Monarch & Digicel International Groovy Soca Monarch Competitions 2013? The names of the semi-finalists are as follows:

Digicel International Groovy Soca Monarch Semi Finalists 2013

Ian ‘Bunji Garlin’ Alvarez - Differentology
Neil ‘Iwer D Boss’ George - Bubble
Dexter ‘Blaxx’ Stewart - Nah Get Away
Destra Garcia - Call My Name
Nadia Batson - Manager
Denise Belfon - Wining Queen
Shurwayne Winchester - We not Stopping
Darryl ‘Farmer Nappy’ Henry - Stranger
Rodney ‘Benjai’ Le Blanc - Feter
Drupatee Persad - Indian Gyal
Kerwin Du Bois - Wettin
Kenneth ‘K Rich’ Richards - Wine Back
Patrice Roberts - A Little Wine
Terrin ‘Super Jigga TC’ Callender - We Liming
Ravi ‘Ravi B’ Bissambhar - Prescription
Stephenson ‘Shal’ Marshall - Wickedest Wine
Roderick ‘Chucky’ Gordon - I Never Wine
Akil ‘5 Star Akil’ Borneo - Partier
Sheldon ‘Sheldon Nuggets’ Bullen - Not Yuh Manager
Leslie ‘EL-Jay’ James - Trini Beauty
Denyse Plummer - Rock and Roll
Michelle ‘Michelle X’ - Xavier - Hold Somebody
Lawrence ‘Mr. Renzo’ Adams - Xrated
Nesta ‘Sekon Sta’ Boxhill - Stick It
Jenelle ‘J'Angel’ De Leon - Jook It
Charlene ‘Charli’ Griffith - Go Down Low
Kevon ‘Yankey Boy’ Heath - Rumors
Devon ‘Lyrikal’ Martin - 25/8
Santeney Rampersad - Movin Alone
Sean Daniel - Magnet

Play Whe International Power Soca Monarch Semi Finalists 2013

Fay Ann Lyons - De Stage Open
Austin ‘Super Blue’ Lyons - Fantastic Friday
Destra Garcia - Carry On
Neil ‘Iwer D Boss' George - Unfinished Business
Rodney ‘Benjai’ Le Blanc - Engoma
Shurwayne Winchester - We Control D Road
Nadia Batson - Gutter
Edghill ‘MX Prime’ Thomas - Rell Vibez
Wilt ‘Tallpree’ Cambridge - Muddy Jab
Dexter ‘Blaxx’ Stewart - In Charge
Gamal ‘Skinny Fabulous’ Doyle – Monster {Reigning Monarch in St. Vincent}
Lornette ‘Fya Empress’ Nedd-Reid - Rum Please
Marvin ‘Swappi’ Davis – Cha-os
Timel ‘BoyBoy’ Rivas - Put yuh flags up
Devon ‘Prophet Benjamin’ Samuel - No Lokani
Jeffrey ‘Peter Levels’ Biddeau - Ready Again
Rickey ‘Lil Rick’ Reid - Cyah Bother We
Trevor Gore - Once Again
Anslem Douglas - Bacchanal
Jason ‘JW’ Williams & Ancil ‘Blaze’ Isaac Jr. - Timing It
Devon Matthews - Start It Up
Megan Walrond - Full Flight
Marcus ‘Lavaman’ James - Psycho {Reigning Monarch in Grenada}
Shivonne ‘Lil Bitts’ Churche - Raise D Dust
Emmanuel ‘Chris’ Garcia - No Soup
I-Stan ‘Chosen’ Scott - Bring A Flask And Come
Anthony ‘Squeezy Rankin’ La Fleur - The Renaissance
Erphaan Alves - Doh Test We
Ronald ‘Natro Date’ Wickham - Masquerader Drunk
Olatunji Yearwood – Tunji Mantana

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