Gypsy gets pre-action letter for gender discrimination
A pre-action protocol letter has been sent to Chairman of the National Carnival Commission (NCC) Winston “Gypsy” Peters, calling on him to rescind the decision to exclude the Divas Calypso Cabaret International from all Taste of Carnival events.
The letter, dated February 19, was issued by attorney Martin George on behalf of Dr Rudolph Ottley, who is the owner of the all-female tent which has been performing for the past 18 years.
Citing gender discrimination, nepotism, cronyism and self-dealing by Peters as NCC chairman as the basis for the lawsuit, George is threatening High Court action and the filing of an injunction if Peters fails to act in their favour.
George argued that the Divas Calypso Cabaret International has provided a forum via which female calypsonians can hone their craft in this male-dominated industry.
A copy of the letter issued to Peters was also sent on to the Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC), “to investigate whether the National Carnival Commission as an institution, has an inherent bias and ingrained discrimination against Females.”
George wrote, “It is clear that our client and his Divas Calypso Tent have been the victims of Inequality of Treatment by the National Carnival Commission.”
George directed Peters to look at Section 4 and 4 (a) (b) and (d) of the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago Chapter 1:01.
Section Four outlines, “It is hereby recognised and declared that in Trinidad and Tobago there have existed and shall continue to exist, without discrimination by reason of race, origin, colour, religion or sex, the following fundamental human rights and freedoms, namely: (a) the right of the individual to equality of treatment from any public authority in the exercise of any functions …”
Peters inclusion of his own Back to Basics Calypso Tent in the Taste of Carnival line-up also drew heavy criticism from George. He said the Divas Calypso Cabaret International was established in 2004 as a non-governmental organisation.
Peters has until Tuesday to include the all-female tent in the Taste of Carnival line-up, or face High Court proceedings by way of application for judicial review and an injunction to rectify the situation.
Contacted last evening, Peters declined to comment as he told the Sunday Guardian the, “Matter is in the hands of the NCC’s attorneys.”
By: Anna-Lisa Paul