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Tuco Prez Collapses

By Terry Joseph
April 05, 2002

Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) president Seadly "Penguin" Joseph yesterday remained hospitalised at the St Clair Medical Centre, where he was taken after collapsing on the job Wednesday evening.

A scan performed Wednesday night revealed he was felled by a blood clot in his head, news that dismantled popular speculation about a mild stroke being the cause of his collapse.

Penguin, embattled by fallout from a major shortfall in funds to service prizes promised at last Carnival’s calypso competitions, was at his desk at TUCO’s Queen’s Park Savannah offices when he collapsed. Calypsonians gathered at the Mas Camp Pub later that night for a show wished him a speedy recovery.

His savannah based Carnival colleagues were equally effusive with their sympathies and unanimous in the thinking that Penguin’s condition might be stress-related. National Carnival Commission (NCC) deputy chairman Ainsworth Mohammed extended best wishes from the festival Board, as did National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA) chairman Richard Afong and Pan Trinbago President Patrick Arnold.

"The public only gets to hear about the negative outcomes but people holding positions like Penguin operate under very stressful circumstances," Arnold said. "The State asks you to submit a budget, you do it right on time and hear nothing for the next six months, until the budget debate tells you only one fifth of that amount is forthcoming.

"Meanwhile, you have gone ahead and made all kind of plans, because you cannot wait until November to put certain things in place. When the significantly reduced amount is approved, that too takes another millennium while you are facing people who performed or worked for your events and cannot pay them.

"It is not easy," Arnold said. "We are dealing with people whose expectations have been heightened by our say-so and who may later discover that we had extended ourselves far beyond what The State is eventually prepared to grant. It sometimes requires almost a juggling act just to keep up with queries, far more plan ahead."

TUCO public relations officer Michael "Protector" Legerton said yesterday Penguin was stable, but being kept at St Clair Medical for further tests.

Penguin was last week under attack from his very membership for short-payment of calypso prize money, after winners discovered the shortfall in their envelopes. He promised to rectify the deficits by May 17.

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