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A humiliation of its own making | The Trinidad Guardian

Source: guardian.co.tt

The embarrassment that Pan Trinbago’s executive suffered when the Sunday evening instalment of Pan in the Communities collapsed at Williams Bay, Chaguaramas, is only the latest indicator of the failings that the steelband’s leadership has visited on the movement.

When the organisation began to prepare for the event at the venue, on lands granted to it by Dr Eric Williams, it ran afoul of the CDA’s security forces who ordered Pan Trinbago to stop the preparations for the production. “That’s the respect for pan!” declared Pan Trinbago’s president, Patrick Arnold. “We have been fighting that issue for years.” Pan Trinbago claims to have a deed for the land and has been paying water rates for the premium property for decades, but is still to make use of the land in any decisive way.

On its own, this could be dismissed as an unfortunate mix-up occasioned by a lack of shared information and communication, but this sort of thing has consistently plagued pan’s leadership and its plans for building something concrete to house its ambitions. In February, Panorama semi-finals in Tobago came to an abrupt halt when fire officers declared the stage unsafe for use. In December 2008, Pan Trinbago staged the T&T National Steelband Music Festival, Pan is Beautiful XI at the Jean Pierre Complex and opened the show in darkness. No lights were apparently available for the event. It wasn’t until the second band performed that television crews moved their lighting gear in so that the audience could actually see the performers.

Apologising for the situation, Mr Arnold said that “after all these years, we are still at the Jean Pierre Complex and this place is not suited for a steelband festival.” Later that month, Mr Arnold received a letter from the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs questioning the pan body’s use of the word “national” to describe its new youth steel orchestra. The letter pointed out the similarity between the new pan grouping and the Government supported National Steel Symphony Orchestra, questioning both the appropriateness and legality of the use of the descriptor in the new band’s name, as if the Government alone held the right to confer the use of the word national on such an initiative.

Such is Pan Trinbago’s seniority in the pan-naming game that it might well have countered that it was the Government which was intruding on its nationalistic turf. Patrick Arnold left well enough alone and proceeded to launch his band, but the continued disrespect paid to the prime body representing panmen must be irritating. Part of the problem facing Pan Trinbago is that the organisation has constituted itself more as a manager of government contributions to the movement than as an agent of entrepreneurial motivation for steelband’s managers and musicians. It’s a lingering humiliation that in the nation that created the instrument, steelbands still lurch along year after year, cap in hand, hoping for corporate and government handouts to keep their bands going.

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Much of the problem comes from putting people in management positions in the steel band movement who have not previously managed anything, anywhere for anyone.
short and sweet and to the point. well said
this is the kind of thing pan chat radio listeners are saying.

is it time for a change???
or is pantrinbago still keeping us all in the dark!! haha
The management issue may be one of the problems, but as the Guardian indicated, a bigger issue is the myopic vision of Pan Trinbago and steelbands who focus on Panorama and depend on government subventions instead of seeing steelbands as microenterprises. Lloyd Best made point in 2002 and I did in 1996-97 at LaHoya Auditorium and other places, including Harmonites panyard, under the auspicies of Owen Serrette at first and Patrick Arnold when he took over from Owen. Knolly: Contact Carl Thomas.
It's not a matter of "putting"people in positions. In many instances they end up in those positions because others do not step forward and take the initiative to lead.

The leadership in the steel band movement comes from people who stuck with the pan through thick and thin, sometimes with limited rewards. These are the guys you find in the pan yards after carnival. picking up the pieces when no one else is around

Some of them may not be the best trained or educated among us and are limited in what they can do; but they do the best they can.

Instead of constant criticism, they need help, but they are proud men and will never acknowledge this.

Maybe it is time for the ones among us who care and are able, to step forward. Start from the bottom.
Go to your local struggling pan side and volunteer to help. I am sure that most of them will gladly accept.

From there you can get involved , and maybe start to make changes.

I am currently in the US, but my hope is, if at all possible when I retire to return to the local steel band that I left decades ago and lend whatever assistance I can.

That's where the change will come, from the grass roots level.
This is very unfortunate because Pan Trinbago has had access to very skilled and knowledgeable people - but the old boys network remains in effect. Cowardliness, incompetence and corruption continues to be the norm. The only difference is that with the internet everything is now played out on a world state in broad daylight.

I am tempted to merely respond to what different ones write, but that is restrictive, so I will drift away a bit. As Pan People we have the right and responsibility to intervene when things are and seem to be not going right. We have the right to change Pan Trinbago bureaucrats and also question Government's responsibility to National upkeep. Question...Does Pan Trinbago have a viable longterm and shortterm plan and are they viable? Is the TnT gov't doing its part tofacilitate this? If not, why not? It now becomes our responsibility to ensure that this happens. We may then extend the discourse into how to successfully challenge these BODIES. Are we together on this?
One man that worked very hard to establish pan trinbago as a viable entity was Arnim Smith. He would at times use "strong arm tactics" and it worked then. The movement now has to attract and welcome the people who wants to make a meaningful contribution to the upliftment of our national instrument. LETS RESPECT THE STEELPAN.
Alright, it's time for me to preach a bit...LOL

Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet (pan man) without honor.

It's obvious that changes is needed; it's not impossible for Pan Trinbago to be independent from the government where funding is concerned.

First of all, Patrick Arnold must go. I will say this openly and who vex loss......

Pan should not be left in the hands of panmen. I will say again, the management of pan must not be left up to panmen. I have seen to many panmen with the old school mentality of "every man fuh heself" and there's always coruption, lackadaisical attitudes, lack of forward thinking, personal biases, etc.

Until these mentalities are removed (or at least reduced) in the pan movement, the movement will always find itself in the background, hurting. If pan were to be run by BUSINESSMEN, things would be different. Look, for example, at what happened with starlift...moved from their home of how long? And why? No one saw it fit to research their legal rights to be there and attempt to enforce such rights so, when HCL wanted to build something, they were evicted. The same almost hapened to Phase II. Action in Phase II's part, was taken RETROACTIVELY. If everything is retroactive, then how do u hope to move forward? You are always looking behind.

How dare Patrick Arnold attempt to speak ill of the jean Pierre Complex? That lighting issue is PANTRINBAGO'S fault as far as I'm concerned. As the body that represents ALL pan players in T&T, don't you think it would make sense for them to ENSURE that any event such as this is PROPERLY organised, even if they aren't the actual organisers? If there is a problem with lighting, it is up to PanTrinbago to find this out beforehand and PRESSURE the organisers and the owners of the venue to rectify the situation.

As long as Pan continues to disrespect ITSELF, how can you xpect Pan to get any respect from anyone else????


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