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Don’t blame Diaz. Drink a beer syndrome determines our president.


Don’t blame Diaz. Drink a beer syndrome determines our president.

By: Andy Edwards

The time for change in Pan Trinbago’s executive is now. However, this change should not go without a change in the thinking of band leaders. The unprecedented debt; allegations of corruption and mismanagement; the lack of trust by government towards the executive and the poor management of Panorama 2017, hangs like a dark cloud over Pan Trinbago.

The blame cannot be placed squarely at the feet of Mr. Diaz however. We band leaders have to take responsibility for some of the blame as well. We were once the organization’s driving force, not only in our bands but also in our communities. In the last two decades, things have changed. We have become lazy. This could be because of the lack of gratitude and support from our communities; the corporate sector; members within our group; the government and our parent body, Pan Trinbago. As a consequence of this, our laziness is costing us big time.

However, due to the stigma and the “villain” culture carved through to the roots of our organization, men and women within our movement with credibility want to have nothing to do with the running of Pan Trinbago. This leaves us with a very small pool of people to choose from and even then, we tend to choose the worst of the lot. Putting our X’s to the smooth talkers, “insurance salesmen”, “Wall Street” personalities and pan politicians who ‘seem’ to be bright and whose only degrees are Masters in “how to full the pockets” of their friends, families and themselves. Well, let this be the last magic show where tricksters appear and pan man money disappears.

There are those band leaders who are informed and make intelligent decisions on who should run our organization but unfortunately, they are few.    

According to one of our comrades, band leaders, because of their laziness, like a lot of hand-outs and favours. These leaders are those who the organization have diagnosed as suffering from the Drink-a-Beer Syndrome. These are the bandleaders who would vote solely on the fact that the president would buy a beer for them in a lime and could get some type of favour from the president. The sad fact is, leaders like this has been affecting the outcome of our elections. Two solutions to this would be 1) Carib would stop making beer or 2) band leaders would educate themselves about the candidates.

Then there are the ignorant leaders. The ones who don’t attend any meetings; don’t have any interest in any progressive movement of the organization and basically look forward for Panorama so that at the end of the season, they might cut up enough pan players to leave some money in their pockets. After three years of no information, they find themselves in the permanent secretary’s offices, asking him who to vote for. The only solution again is that we must have information on our candidates.

Questions to be considered when electing our candidates;

  1. Does the band he/she is in charge of have a successful stage side? Running a band successfully all through the year is important. It shows the depth of ones’ management skills and the ability to be a team player. (Success at Panorama alone could be due to hiring a brand-name arranger).
  2. What is their position in their band and is it related to the post they are vying for? If they only served as a committee member with no responsibility other than to open the yard for practice, then it would not be advisable to vote him in as treasurer of Pan Trinbago because of his lack of financial management capabilities.
  3. What programmes has he/she been responsible for in the pan yards and by extension the community? Example: education officer candidates should have education programmes running in their organization. Public relations candidates’ bands should have good public relation programmes to boost the image of their bands etc.
  4. Consider the health of the person? Would the organization have to carry the burden of an unhealthy person who is staying home more than he can be on the job? We have just experienced officers staying away because of heart-related problems. Healthy minds and bodies are important for our officers.
  5. Consider the ‘era’ of the person. Is he/she up to the times; Does he/she know how to exploit social media? Could they send an email? Is he/she vibrant or walks around with a cane?
  6. What qualifications and experience does the candidate have for the task of the position. E.g. Degree in event management; Certificate in office management; worked as an auditor for a long period of time; Degree in music; Certificate in business of the arts; Law practice etc. These are the skills which would take the organization up to an international level.
  7. What treatment do candidates as band leaders issue to their players? Do players complain of poor treatment and lack of payment under the remit of our candidates? This would be an indication of how they view or may treat players. Some bandleaders view pan men as ‘worthless’. How would these men, as executive members, deal with players’ issues and concerns?

Our organization is close to insolvency. This means that the organization cannot pay what they owe and in most cases organizations like this have to shut down and sell off their assets to pay their creditors. Band leaders must by now have realized, based on political history, that there are more people, in the steelpan movement, who are motivated by self-interests and not the best interest of the organization. It is now our responsibility to know the wrongs of our past so that we are able to fix our future. Let us become responsible band leaders and not vote in our friends for a drink of alcohol, but vote for the persons best suited for the job. Educate ourselves because our youths in pan depend on it. Next election would soon, hopefully. Vote wisely.






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Ah never thought that I would see ONE MAN come and shut down this forum with ONE POST -- in meh whole life.

TOO MUCH TRUTH and the man put it in plain and simple Trinidad English. No linguistic pomposity!!!

CIP should hire this man to run their campaign!!!

Yea boy. Claude true talk.

Trinidad papers nah want touch dis.

I second the motion. This man is presidential material


Thanks to Claude Gonzales,Kareem Richards and others expressing their view for the modern steel band.

Only yesterday we talk of what a band repertoire,mixing your tunes to accommodate the young.

Today we a speaking of management. I agree a band must comprise of a Leader,a media person, a treasure and a skill negotiator. Now is the time for us to get training younger members of the band to obtain these skill. I remember when Esso was moving to Barbados, Mr Fred Lam told us,to get media skills. We were already had members had welding skills and was able to buy our own bus and welding plant. Thanks again and encourage this debate to open the eyes of the modern steel band.

Well said Kareen Richards.There are a lot of veteran pan players/people who have refused to throw in the mantle and allow the musically educated and qualified younger generation to take command.The whole pan culture is about now the present and don't think about the future.Pan players in the Mecca live for Panorama and everything else, be it Pan on the Avenue,Point Fortin Borough Festivities and whatever Music Festivals is secondary and so it has become a seasonal thing like Mango season and we all know the Pan Semis in the QPS is what kicks off our annual Carnival celebrations. We are arrogant and set in our own ways and that is why there haven't been much progress in the Steelpan Culture. The last twenty or so years we have seen the same set of Large steelbands dominating Panorama. Who will replace the Smooth Edwards,Boogsie Sharpe,Calton Zanda Alexander,Pellam Goddard, and the rest of the older veteran arrangers.A perfect example is that Desperadoes gave the young talented and musically educated US based arrange Andre White and opportunity to arrange for the band a few years ago, but they quickly kicked him to the curb because the band placed low.We all know Zanda is a great veteran arranger but is he going to be around the next twenty years ? PanTrinbago President Keith Diaz is not in the best of health but still want to lead the Pan movement. When I was in the Mecca I visited  several bands throughout the island and I asked some of the youthful pan players if the follow the pan site WST and most of them said that the site is mostly followed by veterans and old heads like Claude Gonzales.They don't even follow the local pan shows on the Radio stations. Eight five percent of pan players are the younger generation but only a few show leadership qualities.The talent is there but we need young leaders with great ideas for the future of Pan in T&T.                                  

Arthur, Although your survey is not scientific, you make an interesting point that young pan players do not “follow the pan site WST,” and judging by the paucity of comments posted on this forum by band leaders etc., it seems that their active older counterparts also do not pay much attention to the WST site. Further, although WST claims to have 16613 members, commentary on the forum is driven by the Big 5, begging the question as to why more of the members are not involved and more importantly, whether there should be a survey conducted as to why members do not participate on the forum and whether there should be CHANGE there too.

One glaring flaw of the forum and all of social media is that people get riled up by unscientific statements i.e., statements which are not supported by facts especially if it advances the opinion of the drivers of the forum. Here for example, no one points out that the ‘Drink a Beer syndrome article’ should not be published because it arrives at several conclusions which are neither supported by facts nor metrics. The article does not tell us, for instance, what percentage of band leaders make intelligent decisions, what percentage would vote solely because they can get a beer, and what percentage are ignorant [really author you still calling people ignorant in these modern times], and the author’s methodology in conducting his survey. In addition, it tells us nothing about “villian” culture and its supposed relationship or lack thereof to people not wanting to be leaders. Further, it generalizes from what “one comrade” said [according to one comrade etc]. Not too long ago white people generalized that all black people were bad without the requisite evidence. Sociologists and other social scientists ended up calling that prejudice or bias.

Let’s be a little more scientific in our discussions instead of casting unfounded aspersions without the necessary support. I like the other 16600 members do not want to be hitting the delete button when your emails arrive. Change is inevitable, but in discussing change, we have to be able to buttress our assertions with fact and not with innuendo.

Very sensible talks, but this should have been done many years ago, as you say pan men should be more serious in running their business. 

I am saddened to see not much progress in this direction.

We need leaders with more Vision and and skills in modern social media out put and transparency and commitment to Pan

People get the leaders they deserved, this is true in Politics as in Pan.


Sonny Blacks

International Steel Pan Impresario 

Very sensible talks, but this should have been done many years ago, as you say pan men should be more serious in running their business. 

I am saddened to see not much progress in this direction.

We need leaders with more Vision and and skills in modern social media out put and transparency and commitment to Pan

People get the leaders they deserved, this is true in Politics as in Pan.


Sonny Blacks

International Steel Pan Impresario 

This type of behavior is spawned in the panyards by the people in authority. One cannot put the blame on Keith Diaz alone. He got a "jackass" to ride..............an he ridin' it.
Excellent article.

Who is going to take the LEAD in making these changes???

Questions 1-6 should be rewritten/modify in a question/answer format for any candidate applying.

The general membership will have the opportunity to decide who they believe is best qualified and place their vote.

7. Conduct anonymous survey to get feedback from players to determine their eligibility.

All this is just good talk without somebody putting forward a better TEAM.  Give us their credentials in line with what you suggest....shortlist your team of Pan Leaders for the future NOW so that we can assess their mettle...and start a campaign for the next elections.

ppl, read this again.

A good place to start. Kareem how many managers/leaders of the big 5 are involved in this garbage? Need proof.


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