This was sent to my band's email address. What are your thoughts?
An average of $25,627,000.00 to set up the I.A.S and no benefits for Trinidad and Tobago’s citizens or steel bands.
By Aquil Arrindell
In an effort to set up an International Association for Steelpan (I.A.S), Pan Trinbago (P.T.) decided to host an International Conference and Panorama (I.C.P.), which would have propelled the I.A.S. into action. The I.C.P. came off and as a result, more that 40 individuals signed a memorandum of understanding (M.O.U.), which indicated their intent to be a part of the association. One year after, Pan Trinbago held a meeting in New York where only 4 countries allegedly signed on. My sources explained that P.T. proposed an alleged budget of 24 million for the I.C.P. The government committed $15 million to the event and Pan Trinbago decided they would raise the next 9.08 million. Pan Trinbago spent all the money, which was promised by the government, $15 million of tax payers dollars and allegedly spent $1.5 million of Pan Trinbago’s money, to set up the I.C.P. event. They then allegedly spent an average of 47 thousand of our memberships money, for hotel accommodation, for the meeting in New York and they are still projecting 9.08 million in debt which is on the books of Pan Trinbago. Allegedly a total of $25,627,000.00 to set up an international association for steel pan.
How do local steel bands and by extension the tax payer, benefit from this investment? After all, it is our money Pan Trinbago executives invested. Is the international organization a secret? If not, then ask yourself what you know about this International Association for Steelpan (I.A.S.), an organization that Pan Trinbago’s executive is creating on our behalf. We know that around the time of the New York panorama, most of the members who hold office right now were in NY enjoying NY’s panorama. At whose expense, it is not yet clear, because reports are coming in that executive members who were supposed to be there on their own accord, allegedly got stipends from Pan Trinbago’s finances. And a few days after, some executive members spent about a week at a hotel where, allegedly, a meeting was held and four individuals signed as representatives of their countries to continue discussions. When asked for a report, executive members responded with, ‘it went good’. Well, my investigation into the I.A.S. reveals that things are not as good as they say and the countries’ member bands are not comfortable with the I.A.S. The concept was described to be, not thought out properly and has no value or benefit to the member bands. In addition, they are having problems convincing state officials to partner with an alleged corrupt lead organization and they take issue with the fact that the president, the secretary and the financial advisor are the organizers of this association.
Representatives for Canada, United States of America, Europe and one unnamed Caribbean country, who as a consequence I was unable to gather information from, signed on as intermediators between Pan Trinbago’s financial advisor, and the member bands of their respective regions. The countries are not fully on board because, according to member bands in each region, the representatives are having a hard time selling the concept of the international association to their membership. The United States of America’s members biggest challenge with going forward with the I.A.S is that the states where the member bands reside are resisting working with organizations which are alleged to have corrupt leaders. This is no different than the situation with our government and Pan Trinbago’s executive, where the government is avoiding putting money into the organization’s coffers because of alleged corruption. Among the members in Canada, their major issue is the fact that Mr. Diaz and Mr. Forteau made themselves automatic president and secretary of the I.A.S. They are claiming that the alleged corruption is an issue, but however, even if there was no allegation of corruption, there is doubt that the intellectual capacity of these gentlemen can take any organization from 2017 and beyond. This they claimed is evident with the state of Pan Trinbago under their leadership at present. Europe’s views on the matter is that the financial advisor has a history of allegedly draining organizations for all they are worth before leaving. E.g. the credit union matter; the land issue with P.S.A.; Pan Trinbago’s 30 million debt and other matters. They also added that the financial advisor’s contract also states, on the completion of setting up the organization, his company will receive $250,000.00 US for his service. Therefore, they believe that the only person to gain from this arrangement is the financial advisor and not their members or Pan Trinbago’s membership. According to them, the financial advisor’s plan to sell drums to finance the I.A.S. is unrealistic. They are saying that in Canada, America and Europe, there is no market for drums from Trinidad, because they have quite a number of drum factories with cheap, high quality steel drums where they reside. ‘His plans are weak and would bear no fruits’ said one European member.
Steel band leaders from our diaspora appear to be brilliant enough be analytical, articulate their concerns and demand answers before signing on to any organization. However, what is a troubling question is how come band leaders from Trinidad and Tobago are not asking these same questions or voicing their concerns. Is it because we are not smart like our brothers and sisters in pan in these countries, or is it because the Pan Trinbago’s executive keeps manipulating information and not giving their membership opportunities to ask questions on matters other than panorama?
The president is allegedly getting under $30,000.00 TT dollars a month for being president of Pan Trinbago, a local organization. To be the president of this international organization what would be his salary? What is the secretary’s salary? Would their salaries be coming from our drum factory? Would the $25,000.00 US payment for the financial advisor be paid from the profits of our drum factory? So when would our membership, who are the owners of this factory, going to benefit from it? By now it should be clear to all band leaders that the profit of Pan Trinbago goes to the executive members and the financial advisor. This I.A.S looks like our money spending to set up another pay day for executive members/ financial adviser and nothing for the membership.
Document of Concerned Individuals for Pan
Claude it would appear, like Flyn, Rolly Polly simply forgot to register with the Trinidad and Tobago government that he was working on the behalf of a foreign government.
Is that called treason?
members refresh your memory with this article before the AGM
All this is water under the bridge. What's out there for pan players in 2018 should be the question?
i hear you, however band leaders never got the opportunity to ask question on this matter. they have that opportunity now.
Aquil, how can this benefit steelbands today, do you really feel you'll get answers for those questions about finance you all have? they'll tell you all wait for the findings of the audit, Tellin ah thief he's ah thief is not news to him, he'll just answer, I KNOW and yuh have no come back. Don't waste this AGM, you all have to broker a deal for pan people in panorama 2018.
Cecil, boy!!! Aquil and dem wake up this week and suddenly realize that they have ZERO AMMUNITION in their guns to shoot down KIETH DIAZ. And nobody eh joining them in the FIGHT. And Sunday is the BIG DAY -- at the end of which: SWISH ... NOTHING BUT DIAZ!!!
Ah tell yuh, UWI should give KEITH DIAZ an honorary doctorate in POLITICAL SCIENCE.
Talk to yuh pardner Aquil and tell him to leave the POLITICS alone and focus on his MUSIC.
This meeting is an opportunity for the CIP to show that they have what it takes to run things.