Robeson Benn defends intervention in calypso playing

Robeson Benn defends intervention in calypso playing

Written by Demerara Waves Friday, 01 March 2013 [see comments]

Public Works Minister, Robeson Benn on Friday denied ordering National Communications Network (NCN) to stop playing the 2013 winning calypso titled ‘God Don’t Sleep’ but said he found the song offensive particularly on a government station.

“I said it is not for me to tell you to stop playing it but I said I don’t think it should be played,” Benn told reporters. The minister also refuted reports that he had stormed into the station and instructed that all the 2013 calypsos be banned, saying that his intervention concerning one song had created a ripple effect and rumour-mongering.

Benn described the lyrics as abusive and slanderous and could not be proven in a court of law. He said he was not immune to criticism but at the same time he could not support such a song being played on the station.   

“I think that in respect of this particular calypso; I felt it was abusive, I felt it was slanderous and I felt that more importantly… I didn’t mind if it was perhaps played on other places which I was not associated with… I felt it should not have been played on the government radio station and I expressed that view and I still hold that view,” he said.

The minister said he entered the state-owned radio and television complex and has so far unsuccessfully requested a copy of the song for it to be discussed at the “highest level” and also with a lawyer. Benn recalled NCN’s Chief Executive Officer, Michael Gordon telling him that the Ministry of Culture had approved the songs.

The Public Works Minister said he did not know that any of the statements in “God Don’t Sleep” could be proven in a court. He said publicly funded events should be based on some fact that could be properly contested.

Benn said he hoped that the lesson learnt from that experience would be “proper, appropriate vetting” of calypsos.

He also rejected suggestions that he should not have gone to the station because he is not the Minister of Information. “I hold it as my right to go to the station to intervene in an activity which I think impacted me as a citizen and also as a government minister.”

[Hear The Professor’s winning, but banned calypso  “God Don’t Sleep”]

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  • Gloria Phillips  On March 2, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    Hammer Benn thinks he controls every ministry of the government and therefore can wheel his hammer wherever he wants.

  • jean cameron  On March 2, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    Too near the bone if you ask me……and whats all this “prove in court”

  • frank ferreira  On March 3, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    This is art reflecting the reality of its creators. I think potential tin pot dictators must realize that they will be identified and recognized for who they are.

    I do not know of, or have never met this Roberson Benn. Therefore let me be clear I hold no grudges for this human kind or do I support or is a member of any party.

    Robertson Benn attitude and approach towards this interesting art creation leaves a lot to be desired from those of us who relish in the democratic form of government. The question I would ask is why this Robeson Benn does not respond with a challenge to his government, ministers, ministries and persons involved to prove this piece of well thought of , reflective, creative art form delivered to the door step — wrong. Instead of wanting to Ban it. Why would he not consider the addition and encourage real active use and meaning of the word transparent.

    His aggressive action to want to ban I would also say could be an indication, there seem (and only seem currently) to be real aggressive competition with some government ministries, ministers and related persons for control to hide any suspected on going corruption(if there is) being talked about and if it is true?

    Further using logical thinking any medium that will bring light and focus attention to this activity, if it is being practiced will create indigestion for those involved, if there was indeed any truth in the ongoing suspicion.
    The name of this calypso and the questions asked in its song, are both very pertinent and relevant to what is being focused on broadly here – again regarding suspected ongoing corruption.

    Unfortunately this suspected behavior seems to be accepted ongoing by a large number of the Guyanese electorate, both at home and abroad. This sort of suspicion unfortunately continues to create an ongoing detriment and cast a dark cloud on us and our country .Guyanese often feel it is cute to accept this as a joke and to joke about this suspected reality, while ignoring the damage being done ongoing to both us and our beloved country. The other real reality remaining is – the only folks that can resolve this suspicion – which is only a suspicion are us Guyanese ourselves.

    Joking as some fellow Guyanese have indicated help them to deal with the reality. This doesn’t make any logic to me, as I see it more in the light of accepting and avoiding something these Guyanese do not really see as important or real to them, us and our beloved country. The thought process of this thinking trend indicates a choice was made by them of not being really interested in clarity, but do prefer the expensive gossiping involved. Further they do not want to face and deal with the reality of their focused suspicion and their expensive gossiping, or be accountable for such action that must be taken.

    Unfortunately while this goes on, it is logical to think the damage to both progress for us and our beloved country continues to happen. Along with the disrespect, and laughing at Guyana and it’s people internationally. This continues to live under the dark cloud of ‘just suspicion’ and the expensive gossip only this suspicion has created and fired up.

    So the real question is – what are Guyanese interested, prepared and really want to do to correct and resolve what continues to be just suspicion or are they just interested in the expensive gossiping being done????

    Finally if I was running for the next election in Guyana and wanted “Real Change” to occur, I would surely think it a privilege, if both the creators and artist of this calypso would allow me to use it as the party’s theme song. Something to think about! As I only see one race our human race.

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