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Attention: News Editors

The Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism issues statement on the passing of Sheldon John

The Honourable Winston Peters, Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism issued the following statement on the passing of Sheldon John, former Extempo Monarch of Trinidad and Tobago.

I was deeply saddened upon learning of the untimely passing of Sheldon John, former Extempo Monarch, and friend. Sheldon was a true champion of our local arts and culture, who made a consistent and genuine contribution to national life without drawing undue attention to himself.

Not only was he an excellent exponent of the art of extempore singing, he also played bass steel pans in the Exodus Steel Orchestra and for several years shared duties as Master of Ceremonies at Kaiso House Calypso Tent.

I, along with many others, recall that Sheldon showed great promise as he rose through the ranks of the then popular Vat19 Anyhowers Extempo Competition where he cut his proverbial teeth in the art of spontaneous composition. These experiences helped to prepare him for lyrical battle with the ‘big guns’ at the national finals at the Queen’s Park Savannah. Clearly, he took those lessons to heart as he went on to win the coveted National Extempo Monarch competition on no fewer than five occasions over the past ten years!

Although we competed against each other countless times, Sheldon always remained a friendly rival both on and off stage. We shared a camaraderie that demonstrated to me that he respected the teachings of the elders with whom he interacted.

On behalf of the Ministry of the Arts and Multiculturalism, I wish to extend sincere sympathies to the family and relatives of Sheldon John. We have lost a beloved friend and artist. I will always keep Sheldon in my thoughts and prayers.

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