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Fears of gang violence, steelband takes refuge at Savannah

Roadblock Steelband of Trou Macaque, Laventille, has relocated to the Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain, due to fears of borderline gang violence. - Gary Cardinez

Newsday -- THE young players of Roadblock Steel Orchestra are exposed to the elements nightly as they practise for the ongoing 2020 National Panorama Small Band Competition. The band took up residence on the pitched area on the eastern side of the Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain, opposite Jerningham Avenue.

Roadblock faces judges Tuesday night, and with the inclement weather, their practice sessions are disrupted very often. Another cause for concern is the lack of facilities like running water and toilets.

According to captain Martin Cain, “The band is from Trou Macaque in Laventille and is said to be on the borderline between Pashley Street and Morvant and there is always the fear of gang violence...


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Somebody steady MAMAGUYING ME!!!

Beverley and dem keep telling me that STEELBANDS does STOP CRIME; but the way things looking to me -- in REALITY -- is that CRIME stopping STEELBANDS.


Ah used to really ADMIRE GYPSY -- but POWER really gone to that man head.

Looks like the murder rate for 2019 will top off around 525 and the AG (Al-Wari) predicts a "surge in criminal activity" still to come!!!

So...If Roadblock excuse is gang violence...Ah wonder is the Defence Force band excuse...because they ent have no panyard either...And they are the defending champions....Come to think of it, ah not sure if they have they own Pan either...But this is Trinidad....

Mr. Gonzales, I must say that ROADBLOCK in my unlearned, inexperienced country bookie opinion, based on the video evidence available, looked and sounded more like a panorama band n the category just above Pan Round The Neck (single pan), than all of the small bands from the previous evening.

If it is that their arrangement was done by a sixteen year old independently, then that young man has a bright future as long as he is properly managed, and remains focused.

I wish this band ROADBLOCK all the best going forward, as its ability and capacity to attract at least sixty (60) players (according to my online count) is admirable and enviable, considering the negative nature of the narrative that is being used to introduce the band to this year's panorama competition, and considering the drought for players being published by many more established outfits. 

They were excellent...

So why then sir do you suppose ROADBLOCK is able to attract so much support when it comes to players, while bands that are domiciled in neighborhoods/environments/communities that are considered, and advocated to be safe (or safer than ROADBLOCK's home base) are struggling to make the cut of forty (40) players inclusive of rhythm? 

I am guessing here...But Roadblock, Crescendos and Serenaders are all close to the Desperadoes family of panists. So since both Serenaders and Crescendos have both opted out of thus year's competition, that may be part of the reason. Also loyalty to band has been replaced by loyalty to and arrangers who are now able to call on their "troops" at will...

Mr. merrytonestothebone, I am in full agreement that loyalty to (some) bands has been replaced by loyalty to arrangers, which is the root cause of the drought that some steelbands are advocating in the land of the steelband.

Can you imagine established Country bands in Nashville having challenges recruiting new talent? Based on my observations over time, I have come to isolate some of the primary causes of that trend which are as follows:

  1. Lack of democracy (the autocratic dictator who is intent on dying in office).
  2. Lack of transparency.
  3. lack of accountability.
  4. The reluctance of some steelband (leaders) to implement succession planning (something I wrote about in the past in this space).
  5. Outright dishonesty by greedy bandleaders. 

Players who follow arrangers around (if not for loyalty only) are sure to be paid at the end/beginning of each round of panorama, and that is an indisputable fact.

Steelbands where the democratic process is alive and well, where transparency and accountability are core values do not have these issues with loyalty to band sir.

Given the causes outlined by Russell, it seems that he has been spying on my band. Lack of everything , toilet paper and all.

Russell...The main cause of ALL then problems is Pan Trinbago's refusal to conduct a fair competition. All that you have outlined has its genesis in allowing people to associate more than one band during the COMPETITION. I am tempted to ask you to identify the steel bands "where the democratic process is alive and well, where transparency and accountability are core values and who do not have issues with loyalty". But nah. I no longer have the interest in or mental energy to discuss Panorama. I have already gone against my word (Meh wife gimme a well deserved boof!) and agreed to introduce Merry Tones tune to the judges on Monday last. So let me sit this one out nah?...

merrytonestothebone: Who yuh trying to FOOL? As much as I am OBSESSED with GLOBAL PAN MUSIC you are equally OBSESSED with PANORAMA. So yuh could talk all yuh talk but you eh LEAVING PANORAMA ALONE!!!

But MTB: yuh really think that 16 year-old boy arrange that PANORAMA TUNE or yuh think is the DRILL MASTER who arrange it? Another issue to add to your CORE VALUES!!!

Now you want to put me in more hot water with your suppositions?...The lil boy good!!..Dat is all I will say...After all...Is Panorama...Anything is possible...

From Gang to Gypsy. The story of the steel band.


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