The Tobago Zone of the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation (Tuco) has won its lawsuit against the Tobago House of Assembly and Tobago Festivals Committee (TFC) chairman George Leacock.
Justice Jacqueline Wilson on Thursday ordered the THA and Leacock to meet with officials of Tuco’s Tobago Zone to finalise budget proposals for the Carnival season.
The THA has been given until February 19 to disburse funds to the calypso body.
Tuco was represented by attorneys Martin George, while the THA and TFC were represented by Kimba Anderson and Lesley Gray.
During the hearing, the role of the TFC and its relevance to the legislative role of Tuco was raised. George argued that the calypso events managed by the Tuco Tobago Zone are national competitions, not Tobago Festivals and do not come under the jurisdiction of the TFC.
George also questioned the legal status of the TFC. He had previously challenged the THA to produce documentary evidence to show that the TFC is a legally registered entity.
The meeting between Tuco and the THA was ordered to take place at 9.30 am on Friday to finalise Tuco’s $1.9 million budget.
The matter is set to be recalled in the court at 3.30 pm on February 20.
Commenting on the court’s ruling, George said, “Today was an excellent day because I think the court had an immediate grasp of the legal principles and concepts which we have espoused, which are that Tuco Tobago must have the autonomy and control over the national Carnival calypso events in Tobago.”
According to George, the presiding judge understood that national Carnival calypso events which Tuco Tobago Zone manages are national competitions taking place in the Tobago Zone and they are not “Tobago Festivals” and, therefore, Tuco Tobago Zone and its events do not come under the jurisdiction of the TFC.
President of Tuco Tobago Zone, Ainsley King, said his organisation followed protocol in its dealings with the TFC, by presenting its budget to the THA since last November.
“Today it was made clear what the parameters are and Tuco’s legal standing was cleared up today so I expect that as we move into the future, calypso in Tobago will get that freedom to execute and create and get out of the thing what we choose to.”
Chairman of the TFC George Leacock, in his response said that while he was unable to comment on the “serious civil matters” which will be heard next week, he was looking forward to meeting with Tuco.
“The court has ordered that we meet with Tuco to discuss the financing of the 2019 calypso season. We are very happy for that because we have been asking Tuco since November to meet with us and have that discussion.”
Reporter: Loyse Vincent