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Trinidad's birdsong Music Org. Under Siege - Threat of Destruction Eminent.

The internationally revered music education organization was recently served notice that the landlord was advising of the scheduled demolition of their premises of 28 years on Monday August 15, 2016. The birdsong institution has been serving their community for the past 43 years.

The shock of the move has cause the management of birdsong to question publicly -   What does the designation of pan as the “national instrument” really mean?  Does this country deserve pan?  Does pan have exactly what it deserves by having this country?  Is the law out of step with putative social reality by valuing the rights of the individual as superior to those of genuine community institutions? 

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Nice response bugs. I think that they were hoping that the state would invoke EMINENT DOMAIN on their behalf:

The power to take private property for public use by a state, municipality, or private person or corporation authorized to exercise functions of public character, following the payment of just compensation to the owner of that property ... a right of a government to take private property for public use by virtue of the superior dominion of the sovereign power over all lands within its jurisdiction

Merrytones: The operative term here is "functions of public character" like the greater good for the community as opposed to ONE MAN'S private enjoyment of his BUNDLE OF RIGHTS.

But Rowley in ah hospital in LOS ANGELES and Monday coming real fast!

Bugs boy…between me, you, Claude, Cecil, birdsong and whoever else concerned…I rest my case….ah can't reveal the reasons here…but suffice it to be so…I rest my case...

Pan in T&T, Grenada and elsewhere are fighting an uphill battle for recognition but more so respect; sad but true. A proven instrument on par and an institution many will testify afforded them the opportunity not only to play pan but applying themselves in other areas requiring concentration, determination, patience and most importantly pride. The stigma once attributed to this art-form is no longer the stumbling block, but those who place themselves in positions where they are not qualify or capable of leading; driven by limelight exposure while wearing the 'dunce cap' where pan is concern. The history of pan and where it is today can't be separated from that of any other struggle; whether it was on the plantation on the streets or some back yard, by sending messages of resistance in dance and by using the hands that cut the cane and bananas, pick cotton, cocoa and nutmegs, to beat instruments which they were prohibited from doing, but they did cost it what it may. That was to their advantage and masa annoyance. They ingeniously found a way to turn their frustration communicating through the sound of rough crafted instruments such as bamboo and oil drums etc. shackled and imprisoned, deprived and disparaged they never became daunted. Pan is not a new wave thing, it has been tested through the flames of time...Respect the pan.

Pan has been and is engaged in a protracted struggle common to all that is of African origin.  Knowledge is power.  When we know OUR amazing STORY, embrace OUR amazing STORY, we will have a radical change of MIND and our attitudes and actions will evolve into ones of unity, responsibility and self-sufficiency. Looking not to others first, but to ourselves, we will begin to invest all our creation.  This is my prayer.

CLARIFYING SOME MISCONCEPTIONS
1. The landlord refused to accept our rent cheques
2. birdsong made a considerable investment in developing the site and constructing a building, all with the knowledge of the landlord
3. Over the years, several offers of purchase by birdsong were rejected
4. Since 2004 we have been pursuing the purchase of the Rising Star Friendly Society Property which falls under the jurisdiction of the Registrar of Friendly Societies.
5 Finally in January 2010 we executed an Agreement to Purchase the property at 4. above
6. From our own resources we financed the equity payment of $120,000
7. Closing of that sale has been delayed since it was encumbered by a mortgage dated 1925 held by long deceased persons
8. We have negotiated mortgage to finance the remaining 90 percent of the asking price.
9. We have pre-paid a years worth of mortgage payments
10. Since August 2015 the office of Registrar General has been vacant, preventing conclusion of the purchase
11. Our purchase of the property is financed by 2 wholly owned subsidiaries birdsong 13Enterprises Ltd and birdsong Agricultural Investments Limited, the former, principally a CEPEP which executes some cleaning contracts during Carnival. The latter produces food crops on 2 acres at Orange Grove.
12. We did not contest this latest in a series of court actions by the landlord because we have never contested his ownership rights
13. Subsequent to the Court order of eviction, the landlord offer one year's extension of tenure via a third party
14. In June of this year when UTT offered itself as a credible third party, the offer was withdrawn
15. Notice of demolition of August 15 was delivered on August 2
16. Our Vacation Music Camp which began of July 11 concludes on August 13 with a concert at Queen's Hall
17. What we are currently requesting is a 2 year extension to allow completion of the purchase of the alternative site and support from both public and private sectors to erect a suitable structure

Mr Phillip, I want to suggest that you do not sit and wait on Trinbagonians to come forwaard and assist with anything concerning your Birdsong project.

After 26 years and those 17 misconceptions you post above, tell the true story.

I would not even depend on the 2 year extension you are currently requesting from the land owners to secure the help of the public and private sectors.

Starting tomorrow, have each member of your Birdsong Steel Orch. including your community supporters canvas the entire country (Trinidad & Tobago) and beg each household for one dollar ($1.00) towards the purchase and erection of the facilities. This can be supported by BBQ, Car washes and Cake sales and the like.

If this is organized properly, by December 31st this year, you will have all you need and more.

Simple activities towards a goal usually make it happen.

Or simply put, God help those who help themselves!

Good work!

Bertel: You were right about one thing that this eviction could not have come out of the blue. This legal battle over the land has been going on dating back to September 1997.The owner filed court action to recover possession of the land way back then. Slackness on somebody's part!

Trinbagonians must stop thinking that because we are doing something great for the community, we have total rights to other people's property. Lawlessness to say the least.

According to Alice when she fell down the rabbit hole…this story gets "Curiouser and curiouser"...

I know of two similar situations, where Steelbands were evicted by the owners of the individual properties 

(1) TRINTOC Invaders Steel Orchestra. The President of Pan Trinbago rallied support from all the member bands ,plenty of whom went down to Tragarete road in support of the band. A decision was made by the courts and the band was allowed to stay on the property.

(2) Belmont Fifth Dimensions of upper St. Francois Valley Road was evicted around 1992. Owen Serrete called me at 8 o clock in the morning and asked if i can go up to the Pan Yard. Police were throwing their pans out onto the road. Panday had just become Prime Minister amd there were lots of movement of Police officers between Stations. Cecil "Malick" Harewood who was the Chaiman of the Northern Region and myself Vice Chairman, went to tell the Police who were mainly of East Indian descent and fully armed, that they cannot throw out the instruments on the road. We both went and stood in the centre of the pans. The Police ordered us to move or they would shoot and started crackiung their guns. I thought Malick and myself were dead. However the Inspector in charge of the Morvant Police Station Inspector Paul, arrived on the scene just in time and prevented what could have been chaos. Subsequent to that, we Malick and myself got a meeing with the Minister of Culture Mrs. Daphnie Phillips presented a case for the band , and within in two weeks the property was regularised for the band and work started so that there could have been Carnival practice for the upcoming Panorama competition.

I have referred to these two incidents, because this is where the President should be showing solidarity and encouraging steelband support with his committee at the helm . I am sure he would get plenty support from the majority od Pan men who rally their support around him. So Mr. Diaz we expect your leadership to present itself. Acually as a Member Band who pays 10% of all prize monies over the years , That the organisation should hire one of their law firms to represent and defend the interest of this Member band. As far as i know that is one of the areas where the 10% paid by bands should be allowed. Is this proper representation?  

Regardless of who wrong or right every effort should be made to have birdsong remain where they are, a little special treatment will go a long way to help this steelband remain in the community where it's been in for all these years.

I am one not in favor of Government involvement and Intervention in the SteelBand Movement, because  I truly believe thats the main reasons that most of the bands are not self sufficient. As regards the Pan Yards that a different story, I believe the Ministry of Culture should go all out to see that the Bands obtain those premises that they have been using for a number of years. its very important that there is a band in each community, Its not only brings much love but also discipline of which we as a society is in dire need of.

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