Cro Cro has to Pay Inshan $250K

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By Prior Beharry

CALYSONIAN Weston “Cro Cro” Rawlins has been ordered by the High Court to pay businessman Inshan Ishmael $250,000 for defamation.

In a judgment on Monday, Justice Frank Seepersad said that Rawlins and others like him who use calypso to divide citizens must be deterred.

Weston “Cro Cro” Rawlins

Ishmael sued Rawlins after he sang “Another Sat Maraj is outside again” during the preliminary round of the Trinbago Unified Calypso Organisation (TUCO) competition and from subsequent statements Rawlins made in a radio interview.

The song included the words:

“Is we who does buy all yuh pie and doubles and thing
Is we does wine in time when the chutney sing
Dais why I hurt because Ishmael doh have a heart
Is we who does line up buy allyuh double cart
So after that Ishmael wah the hell wrong with you
Is we does buy yuh stolen car parts in the Bamboo
And yet yuh try to destroy this fella name
Oh God Ishmael is like yuh have no shame…why…”

Ishmael also sued the Copyright Organisation of Trinidad and Tobago (COTT) but this claimed was dismissed with costs to be paid by him. COTT had stated that the song was not registered with it.

Justice Seepersad said, “The First Defendant (Rawlins) and others like him who demonstrate the desire to use calypso to divide and denigrate citizens, must be deterred.”

He said, “Although there was no express prayer for exemplary damages, the evidence in this case has established that the First Defendant acted with cynical disregard to the Claimant’s right to have his reputation protected against a scathing attack.

“The First Defendant had no empirical evidence which could have led him to form a genuine belief that the Claimant (Ishmael) sold stolen car parts and it is possible to conclude that the First Defendant’s decision to attack the Claimant was motivated by a desire to teach the Claimant a lesson and by a belief that salacious and derogatory statements and the jab against the wider Indian community, would resonate with his fan base and possibly win him favour with calypso judges, who in the past, rewarded him with lucrative first prize purses for compositions which were less than complimentary to persons of East Indian origin or heritage.”

The judge said Rawlins was no ordinary calypsonian being a former Calypso Monarch and with his compositions having a significant impact upon many citizens.

Justice Frank Seepersad

Justice Seepersad said, “Having considered the entirety of the calypso and having previously outlined its concerns as to other aspects of the calypso which made references to ‘allyuh doubles’ and ‘allyuh shouldn’t be living here’, the Court holds the view that there are aspects of the calypso which reflect and indicate that the First Defendant was actuated by malice and that the lyrics he performed were composed with demonstrable ill will.”

Appearing for Ishmael were Richard Jaggasar, Nigel Trancuso and Linda Gopeesingh.

Gilbert Peterson, SC, Keith Scotland and Kareem Marcelle represented Rawlins while Anthony Vieira, SC, Anil Maraj and Nicole de Verteuil-Milne, represented COTT.


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