Bordelais Got Talent! Soca Stars join inmates in the name of Carnival

He has been on remand now for five years. He still has not had his day in court, at least not a full session; the constitution that insists all citizens be presumed innocent until proven guilty is being disregarded. Time after time after time, his case has been adjourned through no fault of his.

Meanwhile, Jonathan “Ninja Dan” St. Rose spends his time at the Bordelais Correctional Facility, trying to improve his education. These days he sounds like a parliamentarian as he spouts references to economics, finance and law.  He has also been busy keeping a journal on all aspects of his current existence. And of course he continues to write songs—mainly calypso and soca.

On Thursday, Ninja Dan was the commander-in-chief of the BCF Calypso Competition 2014. Not only was he the main organizer of the event that featured fellow inmates, he also penned a number of the songs performed.

The event featured three categories: Calypso, Groovy and Power Soca. Invited guests and a panel of judges were treated to a wonderful afternoon of music—some songs rivaling what earlier had been heard at the national competition.

The inmates from “India,” the small female population at Bordelais, gathered under a huge tent in front of the stage where guests were seated. So, too, were a few offenders and some of the performers under the watchful eyes of correctional officers.

Guests included Senator Stephen King as well as Justice Minister Philip La Corbiniere, who summed up the event as a good exercise, keeping in mind Bordelais’ mandate is to rehabilitate inmates. No surprise that he shied away from commenting on the problem of lengthy incarceration without trials.

One performer sang a number entitled “Too Much Remand.”  Another, referencing politicians, sang “They Lie.” Other compositions cited VAT, the economy, crime and domestic abuse. One performer “danced for Jesus” while another sang about one day being free.

There were guest performances by QPid, Superman HD and Teddyson John before the contest results were announced. Superman HD was almost moved to tears when Ninja joined him onstage to perform “D-Fence.”

At the end, an emotional Q-pid recalled she and Ninja “doing these events when he was free. We used to visit Bordelais, we used to go to the Boys’ Training Center, even the ghettos, to do free shows. It’s harder this time. We used to leave Bordelais together after a show but now . . . ”

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