Justice Frank Seepersad, presiding over an injunction filed by Nedd’s attorneys, in the San Fernando High Court, ruled at nine o’ clock last night, that the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) breached her legitimate expectation of being allowed to compete on Sunday, after she not only qualified in the competition’s Tobago preliminary stage but also its semi-final round last Saturday.
Attorney Keith Scotland made good on a threat contained in a pre-action protocol letter sent to TUCO on Wednesday, to fight the organisation’s decision to kick Nedd out of the finals based on objections raised by another calypsonian - Lynette “Lady Gypsy” Steele - that Nedd was ineligible to compete based on TUCO’s own rules that the Calypso Monarch competition is open only to nationals of this country.
Another calypsonian, Brian London who also took TUCO to court seeking to be placed in the finals on Sunday, failed in his court battle which was also determined by Justice Seepersad. Scotland was also London’s lead counsel.
As a result of the court hearing last night, yesterday’s draw for singing positions in the final was postponed to today and Nedd will be among the 16 finalists to pull for singing positions.
TUCO South/Central chairman Steve “Ras Kommanda” Pascall said the draw is expected to be held today at the Grand Stand of the Queen’s Park Savannah.
The injunctions (for Nedd and London) were filed in the Hall of Justice, Port-of-Spain and listed for a 7 pm hearing before Justice Seepersad in the San Fernando High Courts. Nedd placed 8th at the Calypso Fiesta at Skinner Park in San Fernando last Saturday, booking a spot in Sunday’s finals.
On Tuesday she was booted out after first reserve contestant Steele threatened to sue over TUCO’s decision to allow Nedd to participate although she is not a TT national.
On Wednesday, Nedd who is now separated from her one-time manager and Trini-born husband David Reid, threatened TUCO with legal action and demanded to be reinstated.
In her claim for breach of contract, Nedd asked the court to order that because of her long standing professional relationship with TUCO, she should not be required to provide documentation proving citizenship and immigration status. She said she has been registered with TUCO since 2007, and participated and won several titles in this country.
Justice Seepersad, in his ruling, said TUCO demanded Nedd produce evidence of her citizenship despite her being a financial member of the organisation and in good standing for the past ten years.
He added that at the time of the filing of Nedd’s injunction, no response came from TUCO.
The judge said Nedd and TUCO entered an agreement with her making it past the preliminaries in Tobago and the semis at Calypso Fiesta.
TUCO’s decision to bar her from the finals, he said, was in breach of the said agreement and deprived Nedd of a legitimate expectation to compete in the finals.
“These numerous acts by TUCO are sufficiently grievous and egregious as to warrant the urgent attention of the court,” Justice Seepersad said.
He added that Nedd had on several occasions provided TUCO with evidence of her Vincentian nationality and there is no evidence to indicate TUCO had in the past raised any objection to her performing in its sanctioned shows and competitions.
He ruled that TUCO allow Nedd to participate in Sunday’s finals and ordered TUCO to pay costs.
Commenting after the case, Nedd said she was happy and relieved to be heading to the ‘Big Yard’ for the finals. “I feel very happy and I am looking forward to performing on Sunday,” she said.
Central to London’s claim was a new rule introduced for this year’s semis, which reduced the time allotted for each performer from 11 minutes to nine.
He said he was penalised four marks and his lawsuit contended that the Master Score Sheet revealed he placed 17th which excluded him from Sunday’s final.
London’s score was 385 on the master sheet but the individual judges sheet, had his score as 389, which he said would have been a tie with Anthony Hendrickson (All Rounder) and Lady Gypsy, both finalists.
His injunction sought to restrain TUCO from prejudicing him relative to the scoring and placement of contestants for the finals and also compel the organisation to publish the scores relative to the second tie-break of the semi-finals.
However, Justice Seepersad ruled against London saying the court was “resolute” in its view that the balance of convenience and the interest of justice does not lie in favour of London.
He added that a greater injustice would occur if the court ruled in favour of London. The calypsonian was ordered to pay costs.