Basseterre, St. Kitts (December 2, 2016) — Since it was launched 35 years ago, the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis (DBSKN) has positioned itself as the most important financial institution in the Federation, one that makes a sustained and positive difference in people’s lives.
The Development Bank has for a number of years been partnering with the National Carnival Committee in the promotion of the country’s culture through the sponsorship of contestants in the Miss Carnival Queen Pageant, and since last year added the Miss Carnival Swimwear Pageant.
“Our culture is dynamic and as a bank whose main mandate is development, the institution is a major sponsor of events put out by the National Carnival Committee, as they all have a direct linkage with our culture,” said the Bank’s Marketing Officer, Ms Vernitha Maynard. “We have this year decided to expand our mandate and have included calypso in the mix.”
Ms Maynard made the remarks on Wednesday December 1, as she handed over a sponsorship cheque of $10,000 in support of the Legends Calypso Tent this year to the owner, Mr Sylvester Hodge who is better known as King Socrates.
“Calypso is a way of life among our Caribbean people and the Development Bank’s General Manager Mr Lenworth Harris recently commended King Socrates and his Legends Calypso Tent for the role it plays in the development of our culture. King Socrates is a name that speaks for the man carrying the famous name and his contribution to the art form is legendary.”
Mr Hodge informed Ms Maynard that he has been in calypso for at least 40 years going back to his school days where he was involved in various cultural projects as a volunteer. As a calypsonian he has performed not only in St. Kitts and Nevis but also in the US Virgin Islands starting as a song writer for others and later taking part as a competitor.
“Last year I made a declaration that I would retire from active competition,” Mr Hodge noted. “Up to last year I was actively competing but last year I took a leave of absence from the stage. I sort of convinced myself that I was retired, but that didn’t last so I am actively back competing as a calypsonian in the competition.”
But his contribution to culture and the country’s art form is manifested by his launching of the Legends Calypso Tent some seventeen years ago noting that there was a growing number of calypsonians who did not have enough time to practise in the main calypso tents with the Grand Masters Band.
“I came up with a number of musicians to form the Legends Band to assist the calypsonians on the growing need for competition so to speak,” said King Socrates. “I would have to reach out to corporate sponsors because I did not have any equipment and annually to run the tents properly it costs $60,000 to $70,000.”
He pointed out that the challenges facing them include transportation, rental of equipment and sponsoring radio adverts. His early corporate sponsors were SL Horsford and Company, LIME/Flow, and Carib Breweries and Company who have been faithful over the years.
With the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis getting on board as a sponsor of the Legends Calypso Tent, Mr Hodge said that this has come at an appropriate time taking into consideration a recent misunderstanding stemming out of an announcement to the effect that the government would not subsidise the tents as it had done three years previously.
“A few weeks ago I was here at Development Bank on a different matter,” noted Mr Hodge. “I had an audience with the General Manager, and he expressed his gratitude to the role that we play in the development of culture and he said if there is any way the bank could assist, we write to the bank and let him know.
“As a result I wrote to the General Manager, Mr Lenworth Harris, and on Friday (November 25, I was called by Ms Maynard and was told that Mr Harris responded positively, there was a cheque here of $10,000 for that purpose so I am here to collect it with a big smile on my face.”
King Socrates explained that to date Legends Calypso Tent would have had eight events at various parts of the Federation and on Sunday (December 4) they will be taking the tent across to Nevis.
“It is in the history of Legends we go to Nevis at least once or twice during the carnival season. This time it will be at Ocean View Bar and Grill at Pizza Beach, and the event is supposed to start at 7:00 pm,” advised King Socrates.