Calypsonian Malcolm “Marshie” Marshall, left, and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Luis de Shong. (IWN photos)

A lawyer for Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Luis de Shong has written to calypsonian Malcolm Junior Marshall saying that his song, “Professional Bowlers”, defames the senior public servant.

The lawyer, Patina D.S. Knights, is demanding that Marshall, who uses the stage name “Marshie”, “with immediate effect cease and desist in continuing to publish such defamatory statements of and concerning my client”.

She is requiring that the bard tender in writing to de Shong, “a full and unequivocal apology and give and undertaking not to repeat these allegations”.

“If we have not received a satisfactory reply within seven days of receipt of this letter, my instructions are to institute legal proceedings against you,” Knights wrote in the June 22, 2015 letter, which Marshall said he received four days later, at 2:09 p.m. on Friday.

Marshall is among the 10 bards who were selected Friday night to compete in the National Calypso Monarch finals at Victoria Park on July 5 and is expected to sing the same song during the competition.

The song was a hit among calypso lovers at Victoria Park.

In the rendition, Marshall says that while the West Indies Cricket Team has good batsmen, it is suffering for bowlers.

The singer, who is a driver at the Ministry of Health, said he is asking the Unity Labour Party administration to search in the various ministries and send the bowlers to the West Indies.

In her letter, Knights said that de Shong is contending that Marshall is suggesting in his song that de Shong is “a homosexual”.

The lawyer said that she is instructed that Marshall in his song specifically makes reference to the Ministry of Health and the post “SPS”.

“… my client hold the host of Permanent Secretary, a post commonly referred to as ‘PS’. It cites that the holder of the post of SPS ‘is a bowler’. My client contends that this is a less than veiled attempt to indicate the post of ‘PS’.

“It is clear that the innuendo is targeted at the ‘PS’ and the reference is intended to mean that he is a ‘buller’. It is well known in Vincentian context that this meaning imports acts of homosexuality,” the lawyer wrote.

“These words you published mean and were understood to mean that my client is a homosexual and as such implies my client engages in unlawful acts, that being criminal offences.

“These words are calculated to defame my client, when performed in public constitute a slander, and when performed on the airwaves give rise to a cause of action in libel. My client is aggrieved and defamed. He feels embarrassed and his reputation tarnished. The song serves to lower in the opinion of others my client’s character, professional integrity and standing. It has caused him considerable distress and embarrassment,” the lawyer wrote and asked Marshall to cease and desist from publishing “such defamatory statements”.

“This letter is written in accordance with the pre-action protocol for defamation. We look forward to hearing from you without delay in respect of an apology,” she wrote, saying legal action will be taken again Marshall if a satisfactory response is not received within seven days of his receiving the letter.

The letter was copied to NBC Radio, Hot FM, Boom FM, Xtreme Radio, WE FM, Star FM, Nice Radio, and Hitz FM and the Carnival Development Corporation (CDC).

Marshall told I-Witness News on Saturday that he was surprised about the lawyer’s letter and the conclusion that “bowler” was taken to mean anything else than was mentioned in the song.

He said the CDC told him ahead of the performance on Friday to substitute “Ministry of Health” for something else during his performance Friday night and he said he used “Ministry of Progress” instead.

When contacted by telephone on Saturday, the CDC told I-Witness News that neither chairman Dennis Ambrose nor Chief Executive officer Ashford Wood was in office.

6 replies on “PS de Shong threatens to sue over ‘Professional Bowlers’ song”

  1. de Shong and his lawyer need to go sit down somewhere and leave the calypsonian alone. Now I suggest that the calypsonian should take de Shong and his lawyer’s concern as lyrics for a new calypso. Business mus-e bad at the lawyer’s office so e tekkin anything to mek ‘im look busy.

  2. Hope if all you going by is looks, sorry to say with a name like ” Marshie, Marshe Marshea ” and the way he holding unto the mic like he accustom to holding!

    And look at the expression on he face?

    Anyhow Hope, you’re one sorry and sick individual…change your name to “Dope”.

  3. The question of being a brown hatter can be very complex. We must not assume because someone is not married, is seen as a little effeminate, that they are a buller man.

    Until I read this I did not have the slightest idea what a ‘bowler’ meant in these terms, now Mr de Shong has educated the whole island and drawn attention to himself.

  4. TeacherFang says:

    I have a question, by issuing this letter of intent to sue Mr Marshall, what exactly is Mr De Shong’s contention, that HE IS NOT GAY? Or did he just COME OUT OF THE CLOSET in a sneaky way?

    Interesting times ahead in Vincyland on the issue of GAYS…it just a matter of time before there is a public conversation on the rights of Gays to live openly in our society but such conversation will certainly bring with it a monumental push back. The gay agenda is not one that the politicians are willing to touch with a ten foot pole; so caustic is the issue of gays and their rights.
    However, its almost inevitable that this conversation will take place and we as Vincentians will have to take our collective heads out of the sand and make a decision on whether we want to be part of the group that says we should be locking up grown folks for what they do in their bedroom or should we acknowledge that gays are our brothers, sisters, Uncles Fathers and that they should be treated equally in the eyes of the law, just as the rest of the society.

    Now, I think Marshie erred in mentioning the “SPS” handle in his song. Its one thing to be using semantics in saying “bowlers” for something else but to reference a Ministry and then further speak of a “SPS”, that is pushing it too far; a fifth grader can figure that one out. With that said, if I were to advise Marshie, on this issue, I will tell him to indeed issue an apology as were instructed by the Lawyer and to state clearly that he will refrain from using “SPS” in any further rendition of the song.

    Its going to be very interesting to see what sort of alteration would be made to the song for finals night; I know folks will be coming to the park with such expectations. I think the song is crap and not because of the hidden intent of the song, its just simply crap as a quality calypso; but hey, such is the quality of our calypsoes over the years, that Marshie could make the big hard with this song. And I suspect, well I know for a fact, that the only reason that Marshie made the finals was on the popularity of the song in the tent…which speaks volume to the virulent homophobic discourse that still exists in our society.

    What is the saying, CARNIVAL IS BACCHANAL…YEP IT IS.

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