second place: Ravi B in full flight during his performance of "Kyah Come/Wey yuh Dey".

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Crowd divided over Chutney Soca results

By Innis Francis South Bureau

Not all who went to fete at the 2011 Chutney Soca Monarch finals agreed with the results announced at 3 a.m. yesterday.

When Samraj "Rikki Jai" Jaimungal's name was announced, there was booing and shouting "nooo" from some sections of the massive crowd who packed into the Skinner Park, San Fernando ground.

Jaimungal, whose piece was titled "White Oak and Water", won the $2 million first prize days after suggesting that the State-sponsored money should have been split equally among the 15 finalists. It was his sixth Chutney Soca Monarch victory.

The second place went to last year's winner Ravi "Ravi B" Bissambhar, who won the $100,000 second prize for his rendition of "Kyah Come/Wey yuh Dey". Last week, Ravi B said he had spent $300,000 on his production for the final.

The prize was presented to Rikki Jai by an exuberant Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, but the booing began after the PM said: "Don't we have great singers in this land?"

Rikki Jai also seemed to have fainted after collecting his prize cheque and several men had to run to his assistance. He was given water to revive himself.

Speaking afterwards, he said the competition was hard but he was glad to be the one to win the "big money".

"This was no easy battle. This whole texting thing is not what people make it out to be, but at the end of it I am happy to be the champion," he said.

"The joy is unbelievable. This one is special. I feel good to be the first person to win this $2 million dollars. I can't say yet what I plan to do with the money right now. If people know me, I ain't going to waste this $2 million. I am a conscious kind of guy, but it will be put in the right place, right time for the right people.

"I don't make promises if I win something. When I win you will not even know what I do. In my village I am a Hindu and even in other religions charity should not be something of glory, if you want to do, you do it and take the blessing from the Lord."

Rikki Jai said this would be the last time he would be entering the competition and his next mission would be to compete in the Calypso Monarch competition.

The winners were chosen by fans in a text voting system through part sponsor bmobile.

Rikki Jai won a total of 18285 votes to Ravi B's 11181 votes.

Vishal "KI" Persad took third place with 10451 votes, while Rick Ramoutar and Lalchan "Hunter" Babwah got 4572 and 3318 votes for the fourth and fifth positions respectively.

The competition saw 15 artistes vying for the title with the first competitor hitting the stage at 9.45 p.m.

Arts and Multiculturalism Minister, Winston "Gypsy" Peters, described the artistes in the competition as "creative energies at work".

He said: "This is the kind of event we have to use when oil and gas runs out in our country. We will have to ensure that the only entity that will help to sustain us in this country would be our culture."

The show's promoter, Southex CEO George Singh, thanked Persad-Bissessar for the first prize, which generated an unprecedented level of interest in the final, with some singers even taking out full page advertisement in the newspapers and spots on radio and television.

This was the first national competition which benefitted from the PM's promised $2 million prize for the winner. The other three competitions to benefit from this incentive will be the National Calypso Monarch, Soca Monarch and National Panorama final.

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