Sometimes, I wonder if people understand the function of Pan Trinbago. Obviously, this "leader" does not, good intentions or otherwise. Oftentimes, I wonder if we all understand what "leadership" means. What does it mean to be a leader? What (exactly) are "leadership" qualities?
Adages and clichés are often hackneyed, but the old saying is (thus) true: Those who forget the past... I'll save you all the boredom of completing this archaic phrase. Regardless, it remains a fact that Pan Trinbago has not had any credible leadership for decades. This is not arbitrary, for in the early 70s, Pan Trinbago became the "bride" of the PNM and its leader. This, the political "booty" of a previous battle between Pan Trinbago's father (NATTS), and her new husband. (And Revelation is fullfilled!!!) However, the groom (a LEADER, nonetheless), never loved his new bride, and the marriage, nothing more than a juxtaposed arrangement. (Yuh mean like getting marrid fuh meh green card? Yes.) A controlling, calculated and calculating husband, who could do his wife anything. Promise her anything for political sex, and when he done with her, she's left there by herself, politically and organizationally illiterate, confused; with no "head" on her metaphoric shoulders.
Yet another adage: The only thing constant is change. An organization is supposed to evolve; adjust to the opportunities and challenges of time. True leaders are able to mobilize a unified and collective membership into action. Today, there is no "movement". If you're not moving forward, then, in reality, you're actually moving backward, for life and time "tarries not with yesterday". (Cliché.) With forums such as WST, we are seeing all kinds of great ideas, coming from members who are genuine in their search for solutions to the issues and challenges we face as pan continues to move through this 21st century. I hope that we can take this beyond discussion and rhetoric, for, as we see, Pan In Danger!
P.S. Please don't forget to support our local pan manufacturers. BUY LOCAL!
Pant'um - The Ghost Who Talks. (Honoring the legacy of George "Sonny" Goddard.)
1000 Questions: Do you think pan would be better off without any form of non-profit union? Do you believe that the issues facing local panists are "universal", or are they unique to Trinidad & Tobago? If American musicians can have the AFM (American Federation Of Musicians), why can't Trinidad & Tobago have its own union? What would it take for local panists to rise up and protest, like people in Libya, Egypt, and (now) Wall Street? Although professional "ballers" play in the NBA, is it not the NBA Players Association that represents the interests of the players? Why do these million-dollar "workers" even have a union representing them?
FYI - If we valued the importance of peaceful protest, we would adopt what the "founding fathers" of the "steelband movement" did: PROTEST. The thing is, politics made a few band "leaders" go against the pan boycott; some that are exalted as "pan gods". Can you imagine, as great as Kobe Bryant is, the opinions his NBA peers would have of him, if he and the Lakers decided to override the NBA Players Association's decisions, and start the season, siding with NBA's Commissioner Stern? Well, things are different in the "pan world", for that is EXACTLY what Rudolph Charles and Despers did back then during the pan boycott. If any of you believe that the resolution to the issues facing local panists, lie in the transition of Pan Trinbago to privatization and for-profit status, I encourage you to look at the examples of the global failures of corporate greed, none of which represent the masses (lumpen-proletariat). I think that the dismantling of Pan Trinbago, without having a credible, functioning replacement would be the final straw to break the proverbial backs of local panists. I think it is more effective to fix what is broken within the pan union, even if that means putting the wrecking ball to it, and demolishing it to the foundation. The foundation set forth in the late-sixties to the early seventies is (believe it, or not) solid. This was prior to when Pan Trinbago was politically created; created to destroy the power of the "movement". A movement that was not afraid to march, protest, and boycott. And represented by a union that fiercely opposed any governmental influence, from "De Doc, to Mr. Spock!" A union that was independent and autonomous; that is how Operation Britain (TASPO) and the Steelband Music Festivals (now "Pan Is Beautiful") came into being.Isn't it interesting to note that all (true) leaders refer to history, as a source of wisdom, as they try to emulate the successes of past great leaders? You always hear American presidents refer to past leaders. Not in the pan world; for these pseudo-leaders, choose not to learn from the successes (and failures) of the past, but rather, to shoot aimlessly into the future, hoping that they hit something that's worthwhile. We can all engage in discussions such as this, but unless the local panist are hurt enough to do something (and not just cry about it), I expect those of us in this forum, will continue our press onward, as frustrated and tired as we may be. I say, let's mobilize the local panists into collective action. I believe we have the credible minds in this forum to do it, and you all have my support in anything we decide by majority consensus. I think that it is our UNITY, that will be the GREATEST threat to the powers that be. So, then they will have NO OTHER CHOICE but to "shape UP, or ship OUT"! More power.
Whenever the Ghost who talks make a comment,,,it,s the truth,, the truth that many persons would dislike ,,as a member of this forum,,i do believe in getting to the point,,,there are things that i can mention that can be effective, and get the immediate attention of those that seems not to care,,,but it,s better to leave this for the time being,,as you mentioned the pannists are the ones to get up and get now ,which is a fact and reality,,here it comes,,,those persons that are responsible with the others that have the authority to do something for pan, is lending a deaf ear,,,knowing that the steelpan is the international instrument of T & T,,.but there many ways to choke a dog without putting a rope to it,s neck,,ah know nuf people gon laugh at this piece ,,but this is how it is,,,there are ways and means???.the truth.
“I think that the dismantling of Pan Trinbago, without having a credible, functioning replacement would be the final straw to break the proverbial backs of local panists. I think it is more effective to fix what is broken within the pan union,”
This is a statement from the last posting of “Pant'um - The Ghost Who Talks” . this makes a lot of sense to me. I also believe that Glenroy had made a similar point sometime ago , that Pan Trinbago is operating in a Democratic state so the population if educated can make the better choice for leadership representation, the key though is “the population if educated”. This Forum is one means of educating the public. The task is daunting but necessary and some changes might take time because of old ingrain habits but the cause is a worthy one. If “the population is educated”., they would rise above putting “incompetent friends” in the leadership positions only to get special favours in return. Would be Leaders would have to have a good resume that is verifiable. Every successful community does this and we have to rise to do this exercise also.
I strongly believe that we do have capable people in T&T who can rise to the challenge of being good and responsible leaders in the Pan World and raise the status of the Pan as many of us on this Forum expect it to be. People who are intelligent, business oriented and strongly die-hard Pan people ( men & women). These need to step forward or be encouraged to do so in order to begin this journey of true and meaningful change.
In answering a question from “Pant'um - The Ghost Who Talks”
“Do you think pan would be better off without any form of non-profit union?”
Though a lot of brothers like Sid have good arguments why Pan Trinbago should become totally independent as a profit business organization, These are my views on that topic.
I believe that Pan Trinbago with the correct leadership could become very successful as a non-profit organization because of the numerous benefits for a non-profit organization. At the same time it should also have a profit based wing of its operation. I think this might already be in place with (Panvesco). However only storng leadership can achieve the desired goals.
However the problem is when anon-profit organization becomes solely dependent on these funding and have not developed their independence. They literally become a welfare organization where the rug can pulled out from under their feet at any time. This is why Pan Trinbago was supposed to have used their profit based organization (Panvesco) to develop businesses.
The Montreal International Jazz Festival ( a non-profit organization) making a profit of over $400 miilion Canadian. still gets funding from Federal, provincial and municipal governments and numerous corporate sponsors. They also have a profit based business that invests and make other businesses happen to reach their annual profit.
So this is my take on the issues…there is always more to say but I rest my case for the time.
Excellent points, Salah.
In a democratic organization, the membership ARE the organization. They are free to choose tle leadership and direction of the organization as they desire.
If the membership are derelict in their duties and responsibilities as participating members, then the organization suffers.
Creating a new organization with a different name but the same members will solve nothing.
The members have to seize control of their organization and make it do their bidding.
And I wholeheartedly agree with your view of Pan Trinbago as a non profit organization. I was trying to say the same, before we got bogged down ia a discussion of pan as a business.
You've explained it much better than I did. And your warning about non profits not being solely dependent on government and other external sources for funding is apt.
This is everything in a nut shell and the way it ought to be,,now for reference one should look back at the governance of any single steelband that had existed on their own in T&T,,,and whether pantrinbago or the government had any saying in that entity,,,?????
I used to think that "non-profits" are not for profit. They are, and I was wrong. They simply do not have to answer to shareholders, whose only intent is profit, regardless of the exploitation of the producer i.e. worker. This is why there are labor laws, for the bottom line (the ends) is all corporate greed sees, and the means (the workers' labor) will continue to be exploited as long as they (the worker) are willing. I think that having an organization with both (profit and non-profit) agendas, is like a church that worships both God and the Devil, for you cannot serve two masters. Again, look at the AFM's model, and you would see that, by representing musicians in negotiations and other business/legal issues, they have been successful in seeing to it that their members can build successful business careers, and the list of the membership goes on and on: Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, Diana Krall, Billy Joel, Melissa Etheridge, Wynton Marsalis, Lyle Lovett, and Carlos Santana. Over 100,000 musicians! Again, the alliance and affiliation with the AFM was one of the intentions of the NATTS leadership. So, "non-profit" DOES NOT mean NO profit, it simply means that the members ( in this case, panists) are the owners and decision makers, and not those who looking for a quick buck And unions do not seek their own profit; rather the rights of their members. This, in my opinion, is what local panists need; an organization that truly represents them. That is what they had before Pan Trinbago, and have not had since. (The AFM website may be found at http://www.afm.org)
Thanks for the insight on quite a few things, I was unaware of the following statement you made
“Pan Trinbago also cannot go to private sponsors for help because of the Act of Parliament under which they operate. They can only seek funds from the government in power at the time.”
If this is indeed a fact this is ludicrous. It is akin to a form of colonial enslavement of an organization and certainly not a non-profit organization even by Trinidad standards. Where and how can we get a copy of this Act of Parliament under which they operate. Can this be posted on line or is it (highly classified).
Please allow me to share a different view with the following statement
“I think that having an organization with both (profit and non-profit) agendas, is like a church that worships both God and the Devil, for you cannot serve two masters.”
The AFM model is a great and successful organization likewise the model of the Montreal International Jazz Festival is also a great and successful organization. But our Pan Culture and the Pan Trinbago is a totally different type of organization. These two models if adopted may not necessarily have the same type of success but there is nothing wrong in borrowing or rather utilizing some of the concepts of these two model organizations. Sidd has made some interesting points that can be a basis for development. I believe that both the profit and non-profit concepts can work and be useful for Pan Trinbago.
Pan, like calypso, soca, chutney, mas, parang, diwali etc…is all part of the mosaic culture of T&T and therefore entitled to cultural funding. But it should also be allowed to develop like the two models mentioned, so that the business aspects becomes viable.