No National Anthem in Happy People

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I said, ‘Oh God, George, you in trouble.’

Neil “Iwer” George

By Prior Beharry

TWO days after Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said he was “not jumping up and down” with the National Anthem being sung in Neil “Iwer” George’s newest song Happy People, the soca artiste has changed his tune.

In an Instagram post on Wednesday, George said he will release a new version of Happy People and remove the words of the National Anthem.

He said he made his decision after hearing Dr Rowley saying the National Anthem should not be used that way.

George posted, “I said, ‘Oh God, George, you in trouble.’ It was at that time I got the memo and said let me respond today,”

He said, “My use of the National Anthem was to express patriotism and the song then continued with expressions of ‘We are happy people,’ and based on people’s perception of Iwer George, I could understand that persons may think that when I hit the stage people will be jumping up when the Anthem is playing,”

George said, “The first word of the song is ‘attention’ and that was deliberately put there to signal to people the expectation to stand at attention while the national anthem is being played.

“My use of the national anthem at the start was to express patriotism and the song then continued with expression of we are happy people.”

He said the song’s aim was to bring Trinidad and Tobago back to a place of proudness, respect, love and happiness.

George said, “To show that regardless of what is going on in the country ­today Trinbagonian people are happy and proud people and we have to continue to show this to the world.”

He said, “Let us not forget to hold the flag with great pride and patriotism and show the world that we are more than just a place of adversity and let us continue to stand together as one,” George said.

On Monday at a press conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s, Dr Rowley was asked about George rendering the National Anthem in his song by AZP News.

The prime minister replied, ““Let me take off my prime minister hat and leave my baldhead and talk to you as a fellow citizen.

“Frankly, I am not, what’s the verbs I should use, I am not jumping up and down about the National Anthem being used that way in any calypso.

“There is something that ought to be special about your National Anthem and the reason why you stand when it is being sung, I don’t stand up with any hymn being sung or any other, you stand when the National Anthem is being sung for a reason and that gives it a profile and a place that no other song has.

“And on that basis, I would say, I would rather if, the National Anthem is not treated in that way.”

Happy People was released on YouTube last Friday and many people voiced concerned about the use of the words of the National Anthem.

Contacted for comment on Thursday, George said he will not be signing the National Anthem in the new version of Happy People to be release on Friday. He said he has about three more songs for Carnival 2024 but wants to focus on the good that Trinidad and Tobago has to offer with Happy People.


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