Veteran of the Calypso fraternity, two-time Calypso Monarch and a gem to his fans, contemporaries, family and friends – that is how we prefer to remember Charles ‘Romeo’ Smith.
A ‘Gem Gone’, a fitting song to carry the crown in 1981 and just as fitting a title to mark how we feel about this loss of one of the pioneers in the industry.
‘Romeo,’ whose music could be termed conscious calypso, had a passion and love for the art form. He was a fierce competitor once he hit the stage, but still a mentor for many of those who came behind.
He was particularly interested in the young Calypsonians entering the industry and from a distance he admired the development of the Junior Monarch programme for in it he also saw a representation of the future of the Calypso art form.
Romeo was a proponent for taking the business of Calypso and the industry seriously, something he thought that the generations after his seemed more successful at doing than they did in their time. He recognised the value of the art form to the expansion of the cultural industries on the whole and looked forward to its future.
To those who frequented his household over the years, he was an unassuming giant, humble, fun and approachable with a presence that was personified by his huge smile and witty sense of humour. He believed in the family unit and even treated those he embraced like family.
He will be remembered as someone who was full of life and even when he was in pain, he commented about feeling fortunate and blessed an attitude that has taught many to appreciate their own blessings.
The Management and Staff of the National Cultural Foundation express sincere condolences to his family and friends during this time of bereavement.
Romeo loved as he lived, open and honest. The industry has lost a truly great person and he will not be forgotten – rest in peace friend.