Dominica Calypso Association Address Libel and Slander
A recent court ruling that ordered calypsonian Checko, to pay E.C $130,000 to one government worker, has prompted members of the Dominica Calypso Association (DCA) to speak out.
Checko, whose real name is Abel Jno Baptiste, was ordered to pay the said amount to Venezuelan Ambassador to Dominica, Dr. Philbert Aaron, after he failed to file a defense in a libel lawsuit brought against him.
During the 2011 calypso season, the calypsonian had written the song; ‘Bug Her,’ which Aaron claimed defamed him, stating the song was directed to him.
According to Deryck “Hunter” St. Rose, President DCA, the Association will host a series of workshops and discussions as a result.
‘Calypso Class’ will seek to educate and inform calypso performers on what will and will not be accepted when producing the lyrics of their calypsos.
Luckily, the “unfortunate” situation, as described by the Treasurer of DCA, Kelly “Ras Kelly” Williams, spared the ruling from extending to the Association.
He said, “some of us because the crowd laugh at what we say we figure we safe, everybody enjoy it, so we safe, we can sing it”.
According to Ras Kelly, Checko denied several attempts by members of the Association, when they urged him to change the lyrics of his song.
Meanwhile, Attorney, Duncan Stowe noted, calypsonians have no special protection under the laws of Dominica.
“It is important to note that to date calypsonians, they have not special rights or privileges under the law”, he said during the meeting.
At present, no Defamation Act exists in Dominica; however, in cases where persons claim defamation or slander, trials are conducted under the Libel and Slander Act.