Yesterday, it was brought to my attention that a certain “big wig” in the government, who also happens to be involved in steelbands, turned down the invitation to attend the town hall meeting, because we (Trinbagonain expatriates) are viewed as foreigners. While this “leader” continues to wine and dine with the upper echelon of the class system, the local panman and panwoman continue to be excluded from the “all-inclusive” shindigs they host for the elite and snobbish.
I have always made it extremely clear that I represent the “masses”; that I recognize and reject the insertion of a class-based system within the steelbands, where only a select few have access, and get to live lavish lifestyles as local “celebrities” and "millionaires". Naturally, I expect those who promote this hierarchical order, to view me and my efforts as threatening to their game plan. They are possessed with money and power, and know that they MUST keep the “masses” uninformed.
Many of us (“foreigners”) see the proverbial mountain from a distance, allowing us to have a broader view of what is taking place in Trinidad and Tobago, not just within the “pan world”, but in the overall society. And some of us actually care; actually want to do something. I happen to be one of those who left the shores of my homeland, and never stopped looking back. (Sankofa.) I never gave up my roots, and I never gave up on my people. My Scripture-trained conscience does not allow me the privilege to turn my back in apathy. This is what drives me, and gives me the courage, faith and strength, to embark upon this journey into an uncertain horizon.
I am aware of the negative chatter; those that come from my fellow expatriates, who keep saying that nothing will come out of this; that the meeting will be a failure and I am "wasting my time", as well as those that come from certain “locals”, who have no other criticism, than to “call me foreigner”. (Lord Nelson.) However, what I am experiencing is an overwhelming amount of support from many “locals”, most of whom are not of the “upper class”; they are the ones who are uninvited to the “all-inclusive” private parties of the bourgeois.
The “divide and conquer” tactic may work in many cases, but I have confidence that WE, THE PAN PEOPLE, will soon unite and collectively reject this attempt at monarchy and monopoly of the local steelbands. This is a class war, and our strategic geographic locations, can be viewed as advantages, and not disadvantages. Scattered across the globe, we (true) “Trini to the Bone”, can use our international influence, and our experience as steelband and pan “globetrotters”. Finally, I am thankful to our international colleagues, who not only learned our culture, but are also giving back to it, and not just take, take, take. I ask that they become more vocal over the issues, and not remain silent, for that gives us (“locals” and “foreigners”) the impression that you care only about the culture and not the people. Have a great day.
George D. Goddard, B.A. (Ghost)
Ghost if i would be in Trinidad I'd attend your meeting. Raising consciousness is never a waste of time and can never be a failure - if even just ONE person takes away something that forwards them personally to stand up, and does something for pan, it is a success.
I agree with all your observations here. I find it a shame that this "we against them" mentality is still such a big thing; one would wish that human beings would progress to better understanding in these modern times ...... and it's even worse that even born Trinbagonians somehow get lumped into the "them" side, by their own brothers- like people WANT to find reasons to divide - thereby buying right into the 'game' being perpetrated against them - smdh - instead of looking for reasons to come together and stand up. Gatherings such as this can help to change that, by showing people that lots of others feel same as they do, that there's strength in numbers, and with enough momentum it's possible that something CAN be done. Not easy, but possible. I can't be there in person, but I support your movements from here.
George, like Catt I agree with all of your observations, some people in the Mecca are fearful of those who rock the boat, I say time to turn over the boat.
George, your March 7, 2014 PAN SYMPOSIUM at Starlift Pan Yard would be a success. Changes are taking place in $$$$$$ allotments for different Carnival bodies from the Govt (Tax Payers money ) steelband people in the MECCA of pan have to come together NOW for their own benefits - their would be a paradigm shift gradually in Pan Trinbago about Govt subvention in the future, this year the people are complaining about Govt involve in Carnivals show. Days for fight-down with these so-called "big wig"are long gone, everything in TT would be smooth sailing forget those who like to SHOO SHOO.....
The local boys are not too proud of the status of the steelband as it is to day because they stood by and watch as it was pushed off the road carnival time, we have to go easy on them if they doh want to take part in any discussion that was organized by foreigners.
People in the Mecca should have had this meeting 20yrs. ago.
But I thought the LOCAL BOYS facilitated this whole meeting at STARLIFT PANYARD. Like this history done rewrite before it even take place.
Like you trying to get someone to buss my head or what? what I said is in reference to the guy in the government that George spoke of, doh use my stsatement to start no cussin here.
We cannot worry about the ONE GOVERNMENT man who said:NO!!!
This MEETING is a very well conceived and timely one that has gained instant momentum. Hundreds of people are going to show up (thousands, maybe); so it is all about looking ahead and not LOOKING BACK at who eh coming.
Even George know that this is a real bad time to start cussin anybody.
Claude I wish I know who this so-called "big wig" is, what I would advised George, stay away from the politics, get this movement on the ground wit a solid AGENDA for 7th March, 2014 at Starlift Pan Theater and get to know who the serious local contacts are...
Don't let one little " big-ass" put you off your March meeting, which, I feel sure, is going to be well attended, and, hopefully a BIG success. Unfortunately, I can't make this year, but I will be following, with great interest! It's hard for the Pan people down there, to see things with the same perspective, as we "foreigners" see it! And, maybe, wake-up time is near for them! Apathy, is so deep rooted in T'dad! It's a shame! Good Luck! Yuh DARD have his eye on yuh! Bless
Hey George, well said brother. I appreciate what you are doing and saying. I think the timing is just right for this type of discussion. I am unable to be present at the schedule meeting after the carnival season, however, I will be there in spirit supporting you all the way. Also the "Elders" and lovers of this beautiful art form whom have transitioned will make their presence felt at this auspicious gathering. For the time is NOW for justice (MA'AT) to be done.
Mr.Divider's reign flourishes in most aspects of our lives. Some of us observe it and still try to sweep it under the carpet;however if we want change, then we have to bring it about together.The forum on March 7th is an excellent starting point.
2014...Panmen stupid or the powers that be THINK Panmen stupid?
That is the question.....