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Don’t blame Diaz. Drink a beer syndrome determines our president.


Don’t blame Diaz. Drink a beer syndrome determines our president.

By: Andy Edwards

The time for change in Pan Trinbago’s executive is now. However, this change should not go without a change in the thinking of band leaders. The unprecedented debt; allegations of corruption and mismanagement; the lack of trust by government towards the executive and the poor management of Panorama 2017, hangs like a dark cloud over Pan Trinbago.

The blame cannot be placed squarely at the feet of Mr. Diaz however. We band leaders have to take responsibility for some of the blame as well. We were once the organization’s driving force, not only in our bands but also in our communities. In the last two decades, things have changed. We have become lazy. This could be because of the lack of gratitude and support from our communities; the corporate sector; members within our group; the government and our parent body, Pan Trinbago. As a consequence of this, our laziness is costing us big time.

However, due to the stigma and the “villain” culture carved through to the roots of our organization, men and women within our movement with credibility want to have nothing to do with the running of Pan Trinbago. This leaves us with a very small pool of people to choose from and even then, we tend to choose the worst of the lot. Putting our X’s to the smooth talkers, “insurance salesmen”, “Wall Street” personalities and pan politicians who ‘seem’ to be bright and whose only degrees are Masters in “how to full the pockets” of their friends, families and themselves. Well, let this be the last magic show where tricksters appear and pan man money disappears.

There are those band leaders who are informed and make intelligent decisions on who should run our organization but unfortunately, they are few.    

According to one of our comrades, band leaders, because of their laziness, like a lot of hand-outs and favours. These leaders are those who the organization have diagnosed as suffering from the Drink-a-Beer Syndrome. These are the bandleaders who would vote solely on the fact that the president would buy a beer for them in a lime and could get some type of favour from the president. The sad fact is, leaders like this has been affecting the outcome of our elections. Two solutions to this would be 1) Carib would stop making beer or 2) band leaders would educate themselves about the candidates.

Then there are the ignorant leaders. The ones who don’t attend any meetings; don’t have any interest in any progressive movement of the organization and basically look forward for Panorama so that at the end of the season, they might cut up enough pan players to leave some money in their pockets. After three years of no information, they find themselves in the permanent secretary’s offices, asking him who to vote for. The only solution again is that we must have information on our candidates.

Questions to be considered when electing our candidates;

  1. Does the band he/she is in charge of have a successful stage side? Running a band successfully all through the year is important. It shows the depth of ones’ management skills and the ability to be a team player. (Success at Panorama alone could be due to hiring a brand-name arranger).
  2. What is their position in their band and is it related to the post they are vying for? If they only served as a committee member with no responsibility other than to open the yard for practice, then it would not be advisable to vote him in as treasurer of Pan Trinbago because of his lack of financial management capabilities.
  3. What programmes has he/she been responsible for in the pan yards and by extension the community? Example: education officer candidates should have education programmes running in their organization. Public relations candidates’ bands should have good public relation programmes to boost the image of their bands etc.
  4. Consider the health of the person? Would the organization have to carry the burden of an unhealthy person who is staying home more than he can be on the job? We have just experienced officers staying away because of heart-related problems. Healthy minds and bodies are important for our officers.
  5. Consider the ‘era’ of the person. Is he/she up to the times; Does he/she know how to exploit social media? Could they send an email? Is he/she vibrant or walks around with a cane?
  6. What qualifications and experience does the candidate have for the task of the position. E.g. Degree in event management; Certificate in office management; worked as an auditor for a long period of time; Degree in music; Certificate in business of the arts; Law practice etc. These are the skills which would take the organization up to an international level.
  7. What treatment do candidates as band leaders issue to their players? Do players complain of poor treatment and lack of payment under the remit of our candidates? This would be an indication of how they view or may treat players. Some bandleaders view pan men as ‘worthless’. How would these men, as executive members, deal with players’ issues and concerns?

Our organization is close to insolvency. This means that the organization cannot pay what they owe and in most cases organizations like this have to shut down and sell off their assets to pay their creditors. Band leaders must by now have realized, based on political history, that there are more people, in the steelpan movement, who are motivated by self-interests and not the best interest of the organization. It is now our responsibility to know the wrongs of our past so that we are able to fix our future. Let us become responsible band leaders and not vote in our friends for a drink of alcohol, but vote for the persons best suited for the job. Educate ourselves because our youths in pan depend on it. Next election would soon, hopefully. Vote wisely.






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Interesting point of view. This was sent to the print media weeks ago with no luck. Andy send it to me. What are your thoughts? 

I want to thank you and Andy for writing and posting that article, Kareem. It is probably the most poignant passage I have read on this forum in years. If we were living in a PROGRESSIVE PAN WORLD, this would be a BATTLE CRY to bring bandleaders together to start addressing the issues and challenges laid out here, By Andy!!!


Make sense.

Aquil: A two-word response? You have to do better than that!!! This posting is a NAIL IN THE CIP COFFIN!!! For years I have read the PAN SITUATION in T&T and described PROGRESS as HOPELESS. Look how everybody on the forum stayed quiet after this BOMBSHELL!!!

You and Gregory have to come on and LIFT THE SPIRITS of the DEAD!!!

Aquil: I could make a guess as to why the article was not printed in the local papers. The title of the article was a bit inflammatory and disparaging to PAN MEN -- as far as the newspapers might be concerned. For the most part the article is suggesting criteria for selecting an effective executive; so that should have been featured in the headline. And then Andy could have taken his "drink ah beer syndrome"  shot a little later down in the article as an afterthought.

What I extracted from the article was that the mentality of the PAN MAN is still stuck in the FIFTIES (Mighty Power sang a calypso a long time ago about calypsonians singing for a bottle of rum -- but he also made the point that calypsonians have moved past that stage) so his recommendations will clearly be wasted on them. Not that I really agree with his criteria; but that is another discussion.

What I really like about the article is its truth and bluntness. And the shockwaves it sent through this forum. And I could now come on here anytime I want and repeat my "hopelessness" line that I have used so many times before with more conviction now. Thanks to Andy!!!

Of course, you see the contradiction!!! If all the bandleaders care about is ah DRINK AH RUM -- do you think they have any desire for deep consideration when electing candidates. So you and the CIP  are doomed by the MENTALITY.

From the days of LLOYD BEST giving his big ROBBER TALK on lifting pan and every other article following -- I have been miffed at their failure to integrate the PAN MAN MENTALITY into their equation.

HATS OFF to Andy -- maybe he forced reflection which might result in change. But very slow change!

I am detecting a positive vibe here which I hope will continue until we put the people most suitable to run the Steelband Movement. 

I would like to see the same enthusiasm applied to putting the Steelband back on the Road for Carnival, I am sure most will agree that there should always be a place for the steelband in carnival, we just have to find out what's most suitable.

These  seven questions  are a good place to start from, when choosing the next "Steelpan body to govern the Steelpan Movement in Trinidad and Tobago"the current body has played A,(VERY IMPORTANT ROLE IN THE HISTORY OF THE STEELPAN IN TRINIDAD,TOBAGO,AND THE WORLD BY EXTENSION",they have taken us from the days of the STEELBAND STRUGGLE"to million dollars Panorama  payment."NUF RESPECT" it is time for,(POSITIVE AND CONSTRUCTIVE THINKING),.."HONESTY AND ACCOUNTABILITY" should take us to the next level! "business is the way forward!.

Very good post especially pointing out ( calling out) the band management...Managers are not playing at their best, not for their members nor for pan in general.(with few exceptions)..they have been too passive. If band managers were to get together they could influence change...if they are serious.

What makes this posting sad for me is that it is a cry of hopelessness coming from deep down in the bosom of the movement. And that hopeless is expressed pointedly in the second sentence of the passage when the author calls for a change in the thinking of the bandleaders. We all know that people don't go to bed one night and wake up the next morning with changed thinking.

How many of you would expect to see CECIL HINKSON come on the forum tomorrow morning and say that he changed his mind about bringing PAN BACK ON THE ROAD FOR CARNIVAL? How many of you would expect Claude Gonzales to come on the forum next week and start praising all the recorded PAN MUSIC out there and start saying that we don't need QUALITY RECORDED PAN MUSIC that could appeal to GLOBAL AUDIENCES and generate worldwide sales and get GLOBAL AIR PLAY. How many of you would expect ODW two weeks from now to stop preaching about the need for MODERN MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES in PAN TRINBAGO and start saying that PAN TRINBAGO is working just fine with its inept and corrupt and audit-free executive? And, finally, how many of you would expect BUGS to come on the forum in a month's time and say that he changed his mind about KEITH DIAZ -- KEITH DIAZ is NOT a GANGSTA but instead an honest leader who has the best interest of the PAN MEN at heart (above all else)?

(NEVER HAPPEN!!! People become set in their ways and live their lives out with very little change in thinking or behavior.)

According to Mr. Andy Edwards (and I don't think that he is some EXPAT living in foreign and don't know what is really going on in the LOCAL PAN WORLD), most bandleaders will sell their vote for a BEER (in 2018!!!) and a little HANDOUT here and there over the next THREE YEARS. Are these bandleaders going to wake up tomorrow morning and say that I just read this article by Andy Edwards and I am going to start thinking differently and screening candidates based on the above criteria? How many bandleaders are even going to read this presentation? Or even hear about it? How many of them would say: Okay, Andy, leh we have one meeting and see if we could start changing some minds and old habits for the sake of PAN PROGRESS?

Salah Wilson's response ends with four daunting words: IF THEY ARE SERIOUS!!!

Claude, change can be either acute/sudden or chronic/long term. I think you are correct in your expectations regarding someone waking up one day and suddenly reversing their position on the state of affairs with Pan. The current leadership have systems in place that are very effective in maintaining the status quo by exploiting certain behaviors. It will require a lot of maneuvering by key individuals, some who are well known and some others still waiting to identify their calling, to start brining about the change we would all like to see happen. As you and I and discussed before, there's so much more that could be for for/with Pan in Trinbago and on the global stage. Regardless of the current trends, we should not give up hope of this happening in our lifetime.

I think this article is a very good step in the right direction!! Pan Trinbago desperately needs candidates for leadership who are knowledgeable and who know the difference between wisdom and knowledge. There are only a few things in this world more dangerous than leaders who are sincerely ignorant and conscientiously stupid. 

I don't see how anybody on this forum could read this article and not see the HOPELESSNESS and IMPROBABILITY of any meaningful PROGRESS FOR PAN -- especially considering the authenticity of the source. The remedy provided by Andy Edwards is impractical (much like the hundreds of articles put forward over the years that had PAN AFICIONADOS singing praises without understanding the impracticality of the recommendations) so PAN THINGS are destined to STAY THE SAME.

If KEITH DIAZ could buy a  vote "for a drink of alcohol" -- what does that tell you about the mentality of the voters? Societies evolve at their own pace; and this article tells us where the PAN SOCIETY is in its democratic evolution.

I would like to invite Andy Edwards to come on this forum and expand on his discussion.

Kareem Richards: Since you are Andy's agent, please encourage him to pay us a visit!!! But it will be best to start the topic over from scratch when he comes because the format of this discussion forum does not allow for lengthy discussions since the threads get bungled at a certain point.


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