When Steel Talks

Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music

by Sharmain Baboolal

published in its entirety with the permission of the author


The politician that she is, Beverley Ramsey Moore is making the job as President of Pan Trinbago seem far more important than it really is.

Still riding the wave of being the first woman to be president of the ”World Governing Body of s steelpan, the Katzenjammers frontliner is falling into the mould set by her predecessors bringing nothing new to the table at the same time pulling in “her people” closer to fortify her position.

That's even though she reported to an Extra Ordinary General Meeting  on December 5th that “Pan Trinbago is solvent, way over debt.”
That was backed up by her Treasurer Gerald Mendez: “ We have inherited hell,” Mendez  stated just over a month after he seemed  to be the happiest man alive, pacing the floor when his slate won the elections held on October 28th at the Mucurapo East Secondary School.’ 
And just about ten weeks away from the grandest international steel band festival, it is a clear case of culture shock for the new executive. And it is like they are almost in denial while they try to maintain the shell of the organization that has crumbled.
  “Don't look for money outside of the eight million dollars to treat with your debt,” is what Chairman of the National Carnival Commission, Winston Gypsy Peters is reported to have telegraphed to the new Executive when he met with them.
But that was not translated to the membership on that Tuesday afternoon.
Instead  Ramsey Moore (in photo by Clayton R Clarke) decided to jump on the train and ride the cycle of debt declaring that she had taken a loan to repay a loan, and that she was engaging the Prime Minister and the Minister of Culture  to lend her money to make up the prize money, admin payables and  players’ remittance, a total of TT$ 20 million by her estimation.
Still “proud and elated to be elected by you as the first female president,”  Ramsey Moore (seen celebrating in the video) said she “never thought we would be in the wide ocean”. 
Never mind it was willful ignorance. It was there to be seen all along.

And then she tried to console the members present  “I am not afraid of the challenge you have good swimmers and divers here in the ocean of debt.
Clearly, they are at sea. It is all in the hands of the National Carnival Commission (NCC) and Treasurer Mendez, in his report,  while bringing no new idea to the table declared “we need to mend fences with the government and the NCC.”
“The debt is  in the vicinity of TT$60 million  because a number of bills and figures  that  were not presented to the auditors
"It’s not TT$30 million as they said before but more like $60 million. We have to reduce expenditure and increase revenue.
Where did the figures come from?  No one knows.
Later on in the meeting, Ramsey Moore  admitted that  she “ did not have access to the (audit) report from the Ministry of Community Development and Culture, but town say it really bad.”
But then she declared to the membership: “the recommendations of that report will guide us”
Clearly by her utterances the President, who is drowning in debt,  intends to remain afloat riding on the raft provided by the NCC, as Mendez indicated.
As the meeting wore on, Ramsey Moore who introduced all her executive members, wavered in her views. The meeting, after all, was very subdued.                  
   “We want to renegotiate the (Memorandum of Agreement),” she eventually said, making the first reference to the document. 
  "The government must provide an enabling environment,” she added going for good measure as if she was in a position to call any shots in the government.
Indeed, Mrs Ramsey Moore does not have the mandate of the divided steel band fraternity.
  None of the persons who contested the elections against her slate, except for Peter Morancie, showed up at the extraordinary meeting.
Still on a high Moore declared “ since the elections I have been congratulated everywhere I walk and we need to inspire others to invest in us.”
But she was less than inspirational, town say, when she was introduced to banker  Richard Young at the Starlift panyard recently.
'You is the man with the money," she was overheard saying, as Young seemed to have mentally recoiled.
This adulation has clearly prevented Ramsey Moore from reflecting. Indeed no one on the executive saw the need to finda way to bring the forces together, to mend relationships in the steel band community.
 On that basis, she has no strength going to the NCC to renegotiate the MOA- and as St James’ Power Stars’ Gregory Lindsay reminded her, speaking from the floor, there is a difference between a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)  and a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).
Everything she had to offer to the membership was coming from the government. That, after all, was the riot act read to her by the Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley when they met at The Invaders’ Parang and Pork. There she was admonished and told not to dare oppose the NCC.
Given the number of financial members - 190- the quorum for last Tuesday’s meeting should have been 110.  But only 98 bands showed up, just over half the number.
Ninety-two bands that voted in the October 28th elections failed to show.
Another meeting is carded for Dec 11th at the Scherzando Panyard in Curepe.    
Continue reading below for a blow by blow of the first Extra Ordinary meeting hosted by  President Ramsey-Moore.

 Beverley’s borrowings:

  “There was  $24,000 available for spending when we entered.
Central Executive. Photo Sharmain Baboolal
“We owe the bank TT$1.5 million
   “For 2018,  we have TT$7.6 million as the balance. We need TT$12.1 million to pay prizes and  TT$3.6 for players remittances and TT$3 million for admin payables
   “Basically we need TT$20 million to clear off all of 2018.
    “We borrowed TT$276,000 to pay the rent and we get out- give us a round of applause,” she declared without clarifying that indeed TT$300,000 was borrowed from PANVESCO.
   “I have spoken to the Prime Minister and Madame Minister and hope to organize to get a loan from the NCC to get the prize money.
“I borrowed money from the Tobago Region and the Eastern Region,” she declared without specifying the sums of money and what repayment plans there are.
  “The staff must be paid by the 15th as well as judges and the people who worked for Panorama," she said.
  “Bands that owe PANVESCO, your money will be deducted from the prize money,” she declared, without giving in to a request defer payments until 2019.
   “Pan Trinbago owes PANVESCO  TT$3 million, bands owe TT$2.2 million
“We need the money to pay off PANVESCO to take another loan.
  “We have to make hard decisions. Mrs Ramsey  Moore alone cannot sacrifice.
  “I am sleeping in a small room without a table,” the politician said.
‘I don’t know what the 2019 allocation is and I cannot make a commitment for 2019," she replied when asked by a member on the floor.
     “I have been minding me since I got voted and will make the necessary sacrifices until we are out of the woods.
   “We have decided not to pay salaries and bonuses- maybe a stipend to the Central Executive," she reported.
    

  Simpson's short sight.

Keith Simpson with Denise Hernandez .
Photo Sharmain Baboolal.
Trustee Keith Simpson “I am the trustee and I am responsible for all the assets of Pan Trinbago”,  
Yet he did not identify the assets- including the ill-fated Headquarters in Trincity, giving details that the pan fraternity is hungry for in a transparent t manner. Nothing has been clarified.
“I have had to Identify the vehicles in the hands of some officers who do not want to hand it back," he stated.
“I have found about TT$200 000 worth of items in CDs, DVDs and T-shirts, watches etc.
“ We got a gift shop at the Cruise Ship complex to sell the stuff we found 400 watches, books in a cupboard.
What Simpson did not report to the Membership is that
1. former President Keith Diaz returned a Mercedes Benz
2. Darren Sheppard returned one car to the South Central Regional Office.
3. Advisor to the Former President Melville Bryan has two vehicles to return (up to last Thursday, Dec 6th)
4. A car used by former Secretary Forteau was flooded out in Sangre Grande in the October floods.
  These are five of the eleven vehicles on Pan Trinnago's list of assets that were accounted for.

  VP gets a  Vaps.

For all of three hours that the meeting lasted the only new thing appeared to come from Vice President Carlon Harewood. But it was a recycled old idea.
As he offered the schedule for Panorama 2019 -without knowing what is the allocation and without clearing debts for 2018- Harewood’s big bombshell was a Jourvert fete.
  It was intended to be on the morning of Panorama Semi-Finals  from 2 AM  until 10 AM.  Semi finals will start at 1PM
Carlon Harewood. Photo gov.tt
What is the target audience? Clearly, the Veep did not think of it before.  He just caught a vaps. And while it is a fundraiser in the vein of the  Greens, clearly the timing is bad. It would eliminate all the people who would be preparing for the semi-finals- and those who hoped to attend the semi-finals, as well.
But give him the credit. He took TT$ 200 from his own pockets to print out the agenda for Panorama 2019 which was floating around in the meeting.
   The VP announced four changes for Panorama 2019.
  “1. Single Pan from Preliminaries to Finals will be from January 22  to January 29.
   “2. A Jourvert fete- 2 AM to 10AM… the Sunday morning before the semis- up in the air still.
  “3. A  Pan man cool zone for semi-finals where players can relax and watch and listen to Panorama.
“ 4. Judges- we will pool all judges capable of any category- and then do a random picking through the NLCB.
“And then there is the return of the  Zonal final which is also up in the air. We are looking for looking for additional sponsors and are gonna push for it.
 "The rules for the competition are not yet fleshed out but the start time for finals at 6pm,” he reported.

 Ah-we life raft

   John Arnold, HBM Gold, has all the accolades on paper.   A combination of event management, music and business.
    His biggest foray into event management thus far has been with the Tobago Jazz Festival, which has neverpulled in a profit. He is, however, the President of the Copyright Organization of Trinidad and Tobago COTT.
 
John Arnold.
Photo John Arnold
   Arnold will fortify the Pan Trinbago President as she ventures into her first Panorama. And Marie Toby, former Chairman of the Tobago Region of Pan Trinbago, will be the new Liaison Officer for all steelbands, obviously sitting at the right hand of the President.
  He will join Janine Charles Farray a marketing strategist and publicist, Colin Greaves, a marketing and steel band event management consultant and “ the man from Jet Blue” who gave away free tickets to the previous executive.
         Toby’s appointment was ratified by the Central Exec after Ramsey Moore declared at the extra ordinary meeting that she has to “create a Liaison unit, the liaison officials are lazy.  Pan is social institution that  can be used for social progress,” she said.
       They are all on Board for Panorama 2019. That has been decided.
        “In 2012, funds were used to pay a consultant for Panorama. the middlemen were creaming off the milk and we don't need a consultant to tell us how to run our show,” Ramsey Moore told the meeting a few days before the decision was taken to pull in Arnold and company.
       It is easy to assume that Arnold is on board for voluntary service.
      So too, the membership is hoping that Woodbrook Modernaire’s Douglas Williams - a part of the Team Rebuild-who was brought in as  Office Admin for Pan Trinbago,   will also be of voluntary service.
      And there is controversy brewing in the sister isle as  Tobago Bucconeershas gottenn the approval from Pan Trinbago to enter the large category for Panorama 2019, on the suggestion of the arranger who  already has a medium band on his hands. Where will they get the players? That is the source of future contention.

   Awai goes away before AWOL

   “On  November 28th Sandra Awai tendered her resignation to the  executive, for private medical reasons .”
   “We are down to three females on the executive,” Ramsey Moore said, in reference to Secretary Denise Hernandez, Assistant  Secretary  Lauren Pierre and herself, after  Awai resigned, barely one month into the new term.
    It was suspicious and made you wonder why health concerns surfaced a month after she offered herself up to work on the Pan Trinbago Executive with her slate headed by Keiron Valentine.
    “The resignation was dated  November 22nd and submitted on November 28th,” the President reported to the meeting, saying nothing more.
Who would be the new Public Relations Officer, PRO? No one dared to ask.
Awai, as the video from the elections, would show was welcomed on board when there was a tie  as Ramsey Moore told her after the vote count that she was willing to work with both her and Salisha James of the Tobago Region who eventually lost by one vote in a recount.
     Awai easily grew disenchanted with what was happening around her and quit to her benefit.  She did not feel part of that crew of females on the central executive as Ramsey Moore made it out to be when she reported to the membership that had voted for her.
   The resignation was in the air, even as she worked along with the executive.
  

      Ash into the 21st Century

While everyone else was on the slow boat, Marcus Ash, the Education officer, jettisoned himself into the 21st century.
  “The Youth Arm executive was supposed to be ten but is now down to four members,” he reported.
Ash (left) with defeated candidate Michael Dinchong
Photo Sharmain Baboolal.
  “They have TT$4,321 left in an account from the money shouldhave been theirs and they should have been given that money, Ash said. The role of Education Officer, as defined in the constitution was not clearly explained in that meeting, either.
  “But their affairs were handled by the Central Executive. By March the youth arm should get its own Board, have its autonomy and should be able to conduct training and seminars.
  “We are seeking a 21st century upgrade; Ministry of Education Pan in Schools, Curriculum,  and Junior Panorama. By the way, the winners are also owed money.
  “I met with the University of   Trinidad and Tobago  (UTT) steel band Faculty- young persons are interested.
    “There are 100 countries with no pan and we need more outreach there- a museum and a library as well,” he said suggesting a steelpan interpretation centre in the interim, again with no idea of how it will be funded.

Denise Diary

Secretary  Denise Hernandez is close to the President. She was keeping check on the meetings.
Therefore all of the above-  which amounts to little or nothing- was accomplished with hard work, Hernandez reported.  "We been in term for one month and attended 30 different meetings.
"We have had four Central Executive meetings and 26 stakeholders meetings for debt owing since 2014. The drum factory where the staff has not been paid for six months.

"We attended 18 different functions," she noted.

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She's over her head as was expected.
This organization needs a business executive to turn around fortunes.

We can only look forward to more of the same.

Very disappointing.
But Boogsie's patron in the drivers seat.

Why hide behind some kind of makeup name be brave when you want to use your poison pen

Wow not even a chance for the new team to sit and the power that be start doing there thing
How can someone judge without something to judge
How can someone judge without something to judge

Earl: Every time I respond to you I have a bit of a problem because I feel that you may misunderstand my TONE or the timbre of my expression and don't want to offend YOU in any way.

But this is a time when PAN PROGRESS is needed more than ever; and for 10 reasons that I can list, she just does not the background or the creativity or the social standing or the familiarity with the TRINIDAD culture or the connections to properly lead PAN TRINBAGO out of this crisis.

And a lot of people do not have to wait and see.

That is just the way it is my friend!!!

Claude, I agree 100%. especially the part about social standing.  It's all about how you present yourself and having alienated most, if not all, of the candidates who are best placed to help, what can she do now?

You got to be a obeah man to just jump to conclusion like that , you need to stop creating or trying to create confusion and start giving proper advice to help the dismal situation at Pantrinbago just help you seem to have all the solutions

Earl Ramsey: The day after the election, I was THE ONLY dissenting voice; everybody else was saying to give she a chance and yuh have to wait and see before you judge -- like you still doing.

But after 6 weeks, if you cannot see the growing chorus of dissenting voices then we will always be on opposite banks of the river. And even in the midst of all my criticism I have mixed in a few pints of advice.

But Beverley's character (MAXIMUM LEADER) forbids her from taking  advice from ANYBODY -- because she has to get the credit for everything!!!

Plus, in general, she is ah easy read -- yuh doh need OBEAH for that!!!

Have you ever had the chance to lead a steelband well I did and it's one of the hardest thing to do much less running Pantrinbago ,keeping a band together all year then running up and down for money to go to panorama is not easy like talking and doing it without a sponsor and remember tuners and arrangers want their money right away plus some players doing the same , bro it take special people to do that I'm talking from experience not one sitting on the fence looking to create the downfall of the steelband movement. Listen to this in 1967 I was 11yrs I went to the steelband festival we were staying at tranquility school the then President George Goddard told the band I was too young and I should not be staying there and he kept going on the next year I was ban from playing because I had to be 15yrs to play this is not hearsay 

  • I told yuh early that these ppl are immune from criticism. Just another party group. Excellent read from Ms Baboolal. Is Earl Ramsey PT's public defender? It's all relative, I s'pose.

Are we for pan progress or pan destruction why some of you just destroying the flowers of the fruit tree but at end of the day you want fruits does that make sense 

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