Three time calypso winner, Hunter, has withdrawn from the national calypso competition.

Hunter has been under pressure since allegations surfaced that he cheated during the recent semi-final by reading lyrics from the palm of his hands.

He told state-owned DBS Radio on Friday morning that his decision to withdraw from the competition was in the best interest of calypso.

“As a committed and dedicated calypsonian it is indeed regretable that I have become the center stage of controversy,” he said. “Given the veracity of the public concerns and in the best interest of the art form I wish to forego my place in the upcoming calypso final. I hereby formally announce my withdrawal from the said competition.”

Hunter continues to deny the allegations of cheating that have engulfed him over the past few days.”For the thousands who continue to place their confidence in me and even for the benefits of those who doubt it, I wish to deny having used any lyrical inscriptions on my hands in unfair advantage during the semi finals as has been reported,” he argued. “I reiterate that I have not been engaged in any unlawful activity to either ruin my reputation or blemish the good name of calypso.”

He said he welcomes any decision by the Dominica Calypso Association (DCA) on the matter. He further pointed out that the decision was done by his management team and is no way a departure from calypso. “On the contrary I will continue to write, sing and perform my calypso at every available opportunity,” he stated.

Meanwhile an emotional President of the DCA, Kelvin “Ras Kelly” Williams told DBS Radio that Hunter has the support of the association. “We will continue to support him and he has the backing of the calypso association,” he said. “Over the last few days it was very stressful….all I want to say is love and respect to Hunter.”

A DCA press conference was slated for Friday morning on the matter but since Hunter has stepped down, Williams said it is now off. “The press conference is off, I think we have gone far enough with that …I hope we can just kill that and let calypso continue,” he stated.

The DCA president also said that the association will issue a statement later today regarding any possible replacement for Hunter in the calypso final scheduled for February 9 at Carnival City.

Below is the full statement by Hunter.