When Steel Talks

Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music

On Saturday June 21st 2014, I attended the free Concert hosted by Pan Trinbago and the Deputy Mayor of the Port of Spain City Corporation [advertised in the Express Newspaper of June 17th on pg.44 – the final line of the article stated that the “public is invited”] in honour of the 83rd birthday of Steelpan Pioneer and Icon Anthony Williams at the St James Amphitheatre. I arrived at the show around 8.10 pm, greeted by the sweet sounds of White Oak Starlift. As I listened to Starlift, I greeted other friends and colleagues, among them, Owen Serrette, Past President of Pan Trinbago, a very respectable man and old family friend. I then walked around to see if my Pan buddies had arrived.
I was approached by Richard Forteau, Secretary and Keith Diaz, President [resplendent in African garb]. Richard Forteau in an intimidating tone addressed me saying “That’s the man!” to which Keith Diaz responded “Oh he is the man?!”

They both walked away from me and proceeded towards the entrance of the Amphitheatre. A short while after Allan Augustus, Trustee a.k.a. “Pablo” approached me in a very abusive manner, sticking his finger into my face saying, “You always writing terrible things about Pan Trinbago on When Steel Talks, for that, you must leave this function now!”
Allan “Pablo” Augustus, with his hands all over me, then proceeded to push, bully and physically assault me out of the St. James Amphitheatre, with his stated threat, “if I see you anywhere and at any Pan Trinbago function again, I will beat you up.”

I said nothing to Allan “Pablo” Augustus during this ordeal, as I realized then, the possible consequences of being there all alone. I calmly left the scene and walked into the St. James Police Station, located one building away from the Amphitheatre, making a report of the entire incident to the Police.
PC Telesford then suggested that we both take a walk back into the Amphitheatre where the incident happened, and after walking among the patrons for a while, Allan “Pablo” Augustus could not be seen or found.
We then returned to the station where an official report was written up on the matter and I was provided with my receipt [Citizen Report Receipt # A 037132, St James Police Station – Assault].

Summary Offences Act 11:02 clearly states that such actions as stated above, the persons involved can be prosecuted.

This is the second police report in as many months I have made in relation to these threats as an ordinary citizen of our Republic. All I do is write information in my articles as a Pan supporter/lover. My conscience is clear. You bully, assault and intimidate citizens of our country when they criticize and write the truth as they see it?
Why must members of the present Executive deny citizens of their right to freedom of speech?
My only hope is that one day we in Trinidad and Tobago can be proud of a world class Pan Organization that is reflective of a properly managed 21st century model.

Several questions can be raised arising from this incident!
[1] Does the behaviour reported above represent dignified conduct for any Executive Member who represents our nation under the umbrella of “World Governing Body for the Steelpan?”
[2] Is it right for any executive of the Pan body (at State expense) to be bullying and intimidating ordinary citizens of our Republic, for asking simple, direct questions of how our Trinidad and Tobago Tax dollars (not your personal money) are dispersed, spent on Pan culture and accounted for?
[3] Do they also believe that the outstanding payment of the 2013 Festival Prize Money to steel bands [now owing for over seven (7) months], despite the huge profits made from Panorama 2013 & 2014, that the “World Governing Body of the Steelpan” would earn world respect?
[4] Can the current Executive members truly claim to be “defenders of the Steelpan and the Pan Players of our land”?

I would like the present executive, especially Allan “Pablo” Augustus to know that I will never be intimidated, bullied or threatened into submission by them.
I am a law abiding citizen of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, and I am entitled to all rights under our Republican Constitution.
I love the Steelpan, our national Instrument, and most of all I love my country and I am prepared to die for it.

Bertel Gittens
Proud citizen of Trinidad and Tobago.

Views: 4677

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Allan Augustus [Pablo] so this is your role in PanTrinbago? the world knows now that PT pushes you in front when they want to do something that is not nice. I hope it makes you feel good about yourself.

We can re name him as PanTrinbago bouncer 

 I’m so ashamed of these people who want to raise the bar of the Pan movement. Bertel I hope you get some sought of justice for being bullied and disrespected by a PTB executive member for attending a Public Function, I must say I applaud you for bold step. 

The Goverment Have to Step in to the Affairs of Pantrinbago. That's the only way that the Pan and Panmen would reap any Benifits. The Steebands are very Weak and are in fear of Retaliation from Pantrinbago. Pantrinbago knows this and uses Bully Tactics from their Henchmen to Keep those Who oppose them at Bay. Pantrinbago is a Gang and as every other Gang in Trinidad rules By Fear. Panmen in Sweet T.&T must Unite and get rid of the Scourge and Vampires that are Sucking the Blood of the Panmen and Women of Our Beloved Country. Words alone won't do it. We need Unity and Action.
I will always Oppose this Bunch of Henchmen that are Running Pantrinbago. Keith Diaz and His Gang. They uses the Coffers of Pantrinbago as their Personal Piggy Bank. They Rob the Panmen and Women in T&T everyday every year, yet no one is ever Questioned or Prosecuted by the Law. "Question" Are the Steelbands in T&T Gluttons for Punishment. When will they arise and get rid of this Mafia Regime?

Mr. Gittens I applaud you for taking for taking the time to detail your terrible experience from the hands of these thugs. Here is finally criminal behavior that the government of Trinidad and Tobago can solve. The Prime Minister and all who do business with these thugs can not later act like they didn't know who they were dealing with. How can UWI be associated with these thugs?  I hope all the journalist who read this will follow up on this incident.

Mr. Dias please do something for pan, leave and take your Forteau with you.

Bashing and thrashing were us when we were first starting out!    We have made creative strides.   Now, we need to capitalize on these two factors as we grow into a world force.    Pan is simply reflecting the current social environment in Trinidad & Tobago!   Now, will we be a part of the problem or a part of the solution?     That depends on knowing who we are, where we came from and what we want from the future!

Well said, “Pan is simply reflecting the current social environment in Trinidad & Tobago! Now, will we be a part of the problem or a part of the solution? That depends on knowing who we are, where we came from and what we want from the future!”...Pan men and women are not considered real musicians. Pan is more for entrainment. Real musicians are respected, time to unionize.

Would the minister of culture consider doing this for unemployed pan men or women?

LifeSport was a brainchild of Sport Minister Anil Roberts.
It is one of the Government’s most expensive social programmes which was designed to target criminals.
The programme, which was started in 2012, had a budget of $6,647,000.

LifeSport pays $1,500 a month to “criminal elements” to get them interested in sports. A daily meal allowance of $75 is catered for but a contract is usually given to a catering company to provide meals for the participants.
According to Ministry of Sport officials, the programme is supposed to exist in 33 centres and have 60 people. A stipend is paid to the participants of the programme and an allowance paid to a coordinator of the programme.
For 2014, the Government has already spent just over $267 million on the LifeSport programme.
According to the Draft Estimates of Recurrent Expenditure for the Financial Year 2014, an estimated $113,502,273 was transferred to the LifeSport under the heading Pathway Programme.


I hate being contrary , but I try to be s realist .

I'm decades removed from activity in the Trinidad pan scene, but I'm convinced that without government action -some type of decertification - or a  massive uprising by the steelbands of T&T , Pan Trinbago is going nowhere.

So whether we like it or not , they will remain the major player on the pan scene , and any changes and improvements will have to come from within , from the grassroots of the organization.

In other words, from the steelband themselves..

So anyone wanting change will have to get involved in retail politics , i.e. going to the bands and their members and convincing them of the need for change and presenting viable alternatives.

Direct confrontation with Pan Trinbago, it's leadership or officials  , whether verbally or literally is futile , unless one has verifiable legal grounds for the challenge.


Glenroy, You sound like a Lawyer, I will agree with you, Nothing can be done without the Steelband men and women themselves, But what about if the Steelbands scared to say or do anything what other recourse can be done? Sometime in certain  situations   somebody have to take a Stand, That's what people like M L King, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and others did.

Yes Bede , but even Mandela and King had to be diplomats and politicians , and had grass roots support. They would have gotten nowhere without strong support from their  people.

I would like to ask those challenging Pan Trinbago, how much grass roots support do they have from the steelbands and their members?

And that's an honest question, I'm not trying to be sarcastic.

Because that support is necessary for any change.

You are 1000% correct Glenroy. The Trinidad and Tobago pan players must have their own representatives.


It all comes back to the 2 vote per band which do not give an accurate reflection of all pan people.


© 2020   Created by When Steel Talks.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service