You have a lot of good points here Goddard, I agree with most of them
It's indeed a work-in-progress and I for one paid attention to your previous quest.
I respect your efforts and will give it the response it deserves IMHO in time...
1. The pan union should represent panists not steelbands. Steel bands should be registered (for-profit) corporations, whom union-represented panists would work for.
This “pan union”, where will this be registered. Certainly it cannot be registered in Trinidad and Tobago. Pan Trinbago although a Body for pan bands, also has within its Charter a clause which covers individual panists. Originally it was registered for individual panists but later decided to go the way of pan bands being the members with two members representing the band. Now the “band” is made up of individual members of its own. In this way those individual members are already members of Pan Trinbago merely by the fact that the band which is represented by two members, itself is a member of Pan Trinbago. Put another way, legally the two member representatives of the band also represent the rest of the members of a said band. Once the two members verifies the rest of the members of a said band, those members have full rights under Pan Trinbago. The system however works on the basis that the band as the single unit is called to task if its individual members disrupts anything under the governing laws of Pan Trinbago .This pan union experiment for individuals had been push forward by a group of panists and it could not go through because Pan Trinbago raised this argument very successfully. To avoid any conflict of membership issues. Pan Trinbago puts forward the argument that it is a government appointed Body placed in charge of bands and conversely in charge of bands’ individual members. Therefore another entity cannot and will not be registered in T&T under the present arrangement with the government of T&T. It will be turned down in a court of law in T&T if it ever gets there for this main reason. I totally agree with the second part that steel bands should be Limited Liability companies, something I had suggested time and time again.
For a new Body or Union of individual panists, this should be registered in the United States. The panists should come from every part of the world and form this Body. Why United States? Because United States has the best music industry in the world. For such large scale Unions or Bodies of musicians, the United States is the best place. Now each country should have a local chapter of the Body. Again one will meet in opposition in T&T just as above. Pan Trinbago will object and the government may agree with them. I say may because of the change of government. Now if pan Trinbago was a private Body, raising funds on its own internationally, the story would have been different. But because that’s not the case pan bands and panists are tied into that system almost like a system of a kind of slavery. And this is where many people do not understand my stance on these matters. That is where the problem lies in T&T pan movement. It was designed badly in the sense that the PNM government at the time of the inceptions of these pan associations saw where they could control the Trinidadian of African descent masses and hold them falsely under the system of Pan Trinbago. This was masterminded by Eric Williams and and so others including pan men of repute leadership Blindly supported by the early pioneers of the pan movement, this was done innocently on their part, because at the time PNM was the political force to be reckoned with. They really had no alternative. Trinidad therefore stifles the pan, the pan movement, and panists due to this cap in hand system of begging the government. This brings us to number 2.
2. The government should assist steelbands in becoming for-profit business corporations, by way of grants, low interest loans and other business start-up assistance.
The intention is good but wrongly directed to the steelbands. It would help in repeating the same mistake that was made by steelbands depending too much on the government through Pan Trinbago and other such agencies. From the time one says “government should assist” you say to government “control me” somehow.
Government can offer a lesser tax rate for corporations which assist the steelbands and steelband persons, being a member of a steelband. Government can persuade financial institutions to offer a slightly lower rate of interest on financial loans, or if businessmen come in as shareholders of pan bands along with pan members also as shareholders, that all shareholders of pan bands can pay a smaller rate of individual tax returns or are allowed a larger personal tax allowance. It is now at $60,000. Shareholder of steelbands should be allowed $100,000 tax allowance. These should not be simply request, but should be passed as laws of T&T.
3. Any union representing panists should function as a non-profit workers' union, that answers to the needs and welfare of it membership i.e. panists (only).
As long as it is also registered under the Trade Union Act of T&T and is a member of the Governing Body of Trade Unions.
4. The leader of the pan union, should be a registered union member for (at least) 2-5 years, and be registered for at least one year with a functioning steelband, or be an active performing/recording panist . In addition they should (at least) own a Masters in Business Administration (MBA), preferably in the non-profit area.
The Trade Unionist do not have to be members of any steelbands. As a matter of fact they should not be pan band members. Bias will step in. They must be professional trade unionist with the required experience in dealing with negotiations between employers and employees. The Union movement is not the same as a music management business, of artiste managers. Artsites managers negotiates for an on behalf of their client artistes and the Union member may have to deal with not only the client artistes but the artistes representative. Lets take a man like Boogsie. He will have an artiste manager who will then deal with all the negotiations. Unions are best when they deal with groups of people rather than one individual. Artistes managers are best when they deal with one or a few individuals, rather than thousands of artistes. The Unionists don’t have to be MBA and professionally business trained. However he will need to understand and be experienced in Trade Unionism and tactics applied therein.
5. The pan union should function similar to any reputable musician's union, and have available benefits to it membership, including (but not limited to): term life insurance, health and dental insurance, employment and education assistance services, financial educational assistance services, prepaid legal services, pension and retirement plans and services,family and domestic abuse counselling services, and a credit union (for low-interest mortgage, auto, student, and business loans, no-fee checking and savings accounts, estate planning, investment options, and other “banking” services). There are so many panists, that by the concept of “The Law of Large Numbers”, on which most of these services are based, the costs should be affordable to even the most modest income.
No problem, as long as the Trade Union managers are not related themselves to any pan bands wherever and are not members of any pan movement. Otherwise you will have corruption problems.
6. The recording (audio, video, or otherwise) of ANY event in which a union member (or members) is a participant/performer, should be by the expressed written consent of the performing union member(s), as evidenced on official union contract(s), prepared by the union's legal team. This includes Panorama, and the local television companies will also have to enter into legal agreements/contracts. The contracts will reserve the rights for recorded union members to payments, royalties and other residual earnings/profits stemming from their performances.
No, this will then cross with COTT and other world copyrights organizations. The Trade Unionist does not have that expertise. That is a specialized field of endeavor. The trade union for panist should not stop anyone of its members to joining copyright organizations throughout the world, The specific purpose if the trade union is to deal with employers of the panists with regards pan playing contracts of when and how much pay one should get and when that pay should increase and so on. Copyrights of the music played is not in the domain of the Union. And so is the recording of the music in any way. The artistes or artiste managers have that domain or they should retain that domain because more than likely they are already members of a world copyright organization or a recording rights organization or for that matter a professional record company.
7. If Panorama is a “competition”, then panists and arrangers should be allowed to play/arrange for one band only.
No problem here.
8. The registration deadline should be (at least) by October 31st of the prior year.
This is already handled by Pan Trinbago Panorama of T&T is owned by Pan Trinbago on behalf of the government of T&T. It is therefore not for negotiations. Pannist will simply have to abide by their rules and accept what they give as prizes and appearance fees.
9. Any applicant with an arrest or conviction for any violent crime where any weapon was involved, should have their application request denied, and should be disallowed from any union-related pan or steelband event, until the five years from such event has lapsed. Such records will not affect their union membership, and they would be eligible for the relevant assistance services that the union offers.
Is the Union a pan promoter, music business promoter, or other entertainment promoter? If it is, then it will stretch thin and then there will be lots of corruption. The Union is Union is a Union which protects its members from oppressive promoters of music, and employers of pan musicians who are members of the pan union. The Union cannot be both and employer of pan musicians to play music for the Unions promotion business and at the same time be a protective force for pan musicians who are members of the Union. The Union must be a Union. The promoter/employer must be a promoter/employer and the two must be on opposite sides of the fence.
10. Finally, on Panorama, it should always remain a competition for (acoustic) steelpans/steeldrums/pans only, in keeping with tradition. The definition of a steelpan/steeldrum/pan should be: an “acoustic,steel percussive instrument, made from, either a 55-gallon oil barrel, or other steel container specifically manufactured for the production of a steelpan/steeldrum/pan”. NO ELECTRONIC MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS OF ANY KIND SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO BE USED IN THE PANORAMA COMPETITIONS. (This includes the P.H.I., and the E-Pan.)
No harm. Only to say that the electronic pan would come in gradually of course not in acoustic panorama but may have its own competition one day. That day is also in coming no doubt.
11. These creative innovations are very important to the continuing history of the “steelband movement”, and should definitely be deliberately highlighted during the competition. Soloists and “crackshots” like Professor, Boogsie, Robert, Othello Duvone, and Leon “Foster” Thomas, can perform on these innovations during breaks/intermissions. However, their use create both a distraction and an assumed advantage, as well as a dilemma, especially when it comes to judging for the tuning and tone quality of a steelband's instruments. It further marginalizes those competitors, who may not be able to afford the technology, and every steelband should have an equal opportunity to win. (In my opinion, I've heard them all, and NOTHING can EVER sound like a TRUE pan. Neither of them “improves” the pan, the latter of which is “perfect” in its “imperfection”. Plus, anyone who knows the history, electronics and amplification have been pan's nemeses.)
In Panorama competitions world wide yes. But other local competitions outside of panorama world wide, any pan musician of repute can be and should be invited to play. This will in fact help to promote the local competition and more people will attend. Whether those expert panists use electronic pans or not is not for anyone deliberations. That should be decided by the expert artistes. They should be able bring either or both types of instruments
12. Likewise, no form of amplified music should be allowed within 5 miles of Panorama.
This will have to be a law passed by the government in question. A Union or promoter or Pan Trinbago, cannot dictate this.
13. Any business or corporation that intend to conduct business on the premises of any steelband event, should be made to (agree to) declare their earnings at such event (i.e. audits by the union), and make immediately available an agreed-upon percentage of such earnings to the union, unless they “broke even” or ran at a loss. The union shall have assigned member act as an auditor, and the agreement should have the option to audit their books. Individual vendors (on the outskirts) will be exempt from having to do this.
The mere fact that a business is on the premise of steelband event more than likely means they have partly or wholly sponsored the event. The promoter cannot be a beggar and ask the company to declares its earnings at the event. No one will agree to this or “made to agree”. You cannot ask Carib Co or Kentucky Co to be a sponsor and for being a sponsor then come and they lick up sales on the day of the event, then turn around and ask then to declare their earnings. Not a practical suggestion. No the Union system is not a dictator system. That will spoil pan events for good.
14. All national government schools should have a pan program added to their curricula, broken down into subject areas that cover (among other things): the history of pan and the steelband movement, applied pan techniques, basic musicianship/music theory, pan manufacturing techniques, arranging for the steelband, recording techniques and computer applications, and intro to music business.
No problem here.
15. EVERY child in the government school system in Trinidad & Tobago, should be required to have a basic education in pan, and be able to play (at least) our National Anthem on our national instrument. (Makes logical sense, to me.) The goal should be by 2015, and by then, every government school should have their own start-up steel band (full range of pans for about 25-50 players), with the assistance of the government and the pan union.
Not necessary. Music cannot be forced on any one. That will drive many away from music in their life at a later stage. Humans grow gradually or sometimes very young persons become expert musicians soon in their life. Others take longer. The facility should be there but it should not be that it is forced in any way. Steelbands yes. Forced to play the steelband a definite no.
16. The Trinidad & Tobago government should appoint certain panists as cultural diplomats to regional and international countries, and should be a part of our consulates abroad. These appointees should have clean criminal and drug-related records, and a life history of dedicated service as panists. (That disqualifies me, by the way.) I think that persons in the likes of Robert Greenidge, Joanna Short, Iman Pascall, and Leon Foster Thomas are great examples, and would make great diplomats to foreign countries. These diplomats would work directly under the Consulate-Generals, and be visible cultural representatives at all our consulate offices worldwide, promoting, displaying, and demonstrating our national instrument.
Not necessary. One should not use the steelband or steelpan player for political or social ends. This is where government should stay away from pan. And the panists and pan bands should stay away from the government least they become purchased by the government. Musicians are musicians are musicians, whether they play the pan or other instrument. They are part of the intellectual society and should remain independent in their opinions and interpret that independence in their music to the world. Politicians are not independent thinkers. They think in conjunction with what popular at the time. A truly advanced musician has a mind of her or his own and it is for the benefit of people world wide. One cannot be a diplomat and be a world wide musician at the same time. A diplomat means one is diplomatic. This means one twist the truth or lies to receive certain political effects. Definitely No.
These are some my take on these ideas in order to help the pan movement worldwide and not only in Trinidad and Tobago. There are many pan associations worldwide. These associations are forced under the system of Pan Trinbago to be the umbrella of World pan Association, when Pan Trinbago itself is a stooge of the government of T&T. Pan Trinbago should be like FIFA. Of course they are somewhat in a bad light now, but in terms of FIFA world independence, the truly world governing body of pan movements, people etc should not necessarily have to be in Trinidad and Tobago.It can be worldwide and have Bodies which report to it worldwide. The real purpose of these bodies should be to facilitate the pan players and pan band world wide. They are not necesserily to be a constant promoter of entertatinment, but they Should be that "World Union" wherepan persons are truly protected worldwide in various way. Locally in every country where we have given the pan, the World Union should have a representative Body. Those Bodies are or should in no way be connected to governments. Governments are not actually needed in terms of helping to promote pan or pan Bodies or pan movement. These should be self promoting. They should be all finacially well off in orderto comduct their own affairs. Then pan and the pan movement will succeed.
Here is an interesting read about Pan Trinbago.
Dear Me! Dear Me! Doctor Watson it is one thing to know and another to think that you know. After reading your piece in the Sunday Guardian of September 6 2009, I am forced to believe that you may be at lost without your side-kick Sherlock Holmes (Smile).
It is a pity that the remarks of Mr. Sharpe have evoked such a media rush.
For your information and for the information of all those who rush to empathize with the uttering of Mr. Sharpe – I state as follows:
Pan Trinbago Inc. is a Cultural Association designed to represent a membership and to promote the Steelpan and its music.
In 1991, the Association took the forward step of putting together a Capital Investment Programme, which was submitted to Cabinet. It might interest you to know that the principals involved in structuring the document were two eminent economists who were active pan men.
Coming out of this Programme – 1. The Pan Trinbago Investment Corporation came into being. 2. The Foundation Board came into being and the Industrialization Board came into being.
Today the Pan Trinbago Investment Corporation functions quite successfully. The Foundation Board is being reconstituted and the Industrialization Board functions as the Trinidad and Tobago Pan Works.
All Boards are comprised of professionals either in the field of academics, business or management.
The Pan Trinbago Multipurpose Cooperative Society was launched recently in order to service the needs of members, apart from encouraging thrift.
If Mr. Sharpe by his absence from Meetings finds himself in the invidious position of being ignorant about the activities and functions of Pan Trinbago Inc., he should exercise care when making utterances.
Pan Trinbago Inc., became Incorporated by an Act of Parliament in 1986 and became eligible for state subventions.
The Association is not directly involved in the business of producing instruments for commercial purposes – there is Trinidad and Tobago Pan Works which has that responsibility and incidentally the board is comprised of businessmen, management experts and a scientist.
Pan Trinbago is properly carrying out its mandate. The Association is guided by a document which was put together by the Foundation Board in 2005.
The document is entitled – A Strategic Plan for the Sustainable Development of Pan. This document was the product of wide consultation. Again the authors of this very important document were consultants at the level of the International Monetary Fund, the Organisation of American States, Entrepreneurs and representative of Pan Trinbago.
Like every other legal entity, there would be situations of improper activity. The Association has dealt with these in the past and would continue to do so, wherever they arise.
Therefore all of you who either deliberately or otherwise agrees with the utterances of Mr. Sharpe do so as an act of unfair nature to the membership of Pan Trinbago Inc.
Once again, in case the essence of this response has been missed – “Pan Trinbago Inc. is a Cultural Associations whose mandate is representation and development of the instrument and the members”. The investment and commercial activities are carried out by independent arms i.e.:
1. Pan Trinbago Investment Corporation
2. Trinidad and Tobago Pan Works
3. Pan Trinbago Cooperative Society
The question of profit so very often emerges and this is so because many people do not understand that Pan Trinbago is a unique entity – it carries out the functions of a Union but cannot be classified as a Union, which it is not.
The Association is not in the business of making a profit, there are independent arms, which look after the business of profit making e.g. The revenue side of Panorama is dealt with by the Investment Corporation as part of its mandate.
While I accept that your intentions are sincere, there is great concern that the Association is not being fairly treated in the particular context.