Weston “Cro Cro” Rawlins is being allowed to continue singing his controversial 2023 selection ‘Another Sat is Outside Again’, but first he must edit it and remove all references made to businessman Inshan Ishmael.
Ishmael filed a lawsuit against Rawlins citing defamation of character and wanted the court to prevent Rawlins from singing the song at the Naparima Bowl and Government Campus Plaza thus weekend.
In an emergency hearing on Saturday, Justice Frank Seepersad issued a wider injunction against the calypsonian.
While Rawlins can sing his 2023 offering, he cannot repeat any of the words complained of as offensive and defamatory by Ishmael until the court determines if the words are, in fact, about Ishmael and defamatory.
Seepersad said: “The defendant is a former calypso monarch, he has an extensive musical portfolio and is not a “one-hit wonder.” It is likely that the defendant‘s fans would enjoy his performance even if he does not perform the imputed calypso.”
Ishmael was represented by Nigel Trancuso and Richard Jaggasar while Rawlins was represented by Senior Counsel Gilbert Peterson and Kareem Marcelle at Saturday’s virtual hearing.
The injunction will continue until the trial of the matter or otherwise directed, Seepersad ordered.
Seepersad noted, “The artform has fashioned the way we live, think and socialise and the commentary it offers can catalyse awareness and change. Creative licence, however, cannot be used as a sword to engage in ill-informed or baseless attacks which can decimate an individual’s character or integrity.
“We strive to live in a civilised space where freedom of expression must be balanced and must be engaged in a reasonable, fair and proportionate manner which ensures that the fundamental rights of others are not eviscerated.
“This court will not condone or accept any position which advances a narrative that social media comments or commentary by calypsonians is sacrosanct and that people should be free to say whatever they feel as they ‘speak their minds’ even if the content is divisive, derogatory, deceitful, dishonest or defamatory.”
Seepersad also warned that if any part of his order was violated, a no-tolerance approach will be taken and he will not shy away from finding anyone in contempt of breaching any court order.