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Open Letter to Keith Diaz, Pan Trinbago’s new President

by Khalick Hewitt

Mr. Diaz, congratulations to you as Pan Trinbago new president and your administration that were duly elected on October 25, 2009. I want to thank all the steelbands and their representatives who participated in this historical change for Pan Trinbago. I extend to you and your administration my best wishes and swish you success in your tenure for 2009-2012. I also want to wish former president Mr. Patrick Arnold all the best and thank him for his services to the steelband movement over the years. I hope that he continues to contribute to Pan Trinbago and the steelband movement. This vote demonstrates how far steelbands have come when they can change leaderships in a democratic method. Now, comes the hard part for you and the steelbands.

Mr. Diaz, I read your statements to the press on October 28, 2009 and I compliment you for a good start. You said that you saw pan as an important part of Trinbago’s culture and that you wanted to make pan an important product. That is a good mission. It is important that you continue to communicate with the public as it builds respect for Pan Trinbago. It is my desire to see you and Pan Trinbago succeed. As a panologist* with strong steelband roots (City Syncopators, Joyland Synco, All Stars and Boston Symphony) I shall be encouraging and complimenting you and your administration. But, will not remain silent if you stray from the best interests of the steelband movement. I will constructively criticize you when you fail to uphold the objectives of Pan Trinbago and the steelband movement.

Mr. Diaz, you mentioned stakeholders and “the necessity of showcasing pan as a tourism product.” By your count, there are 300 steelbands in Trinbago. Those steelbands should support your list of goals and objectives. The repairing of Pan Trinbago will take time and you only have three years to set your agenda on the road. If you intend to lead Pan Trinbago to a new beginning and deliver a world body organization, here are four items that you must immediately address:

Completion and Naming of the new Carnival Center.
Building Pan Trinbago Headquarters.
Updating Pan Trinbago web site.
Transparency of Pan Trinbago.

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I am not impressed by this letter. This sounds more like a list of personal desires than the consensus of several members of the steelpan movement. eg. As much s I love pan, why would we name a CARNIVAL centre something about steelpan?

What about this world panorama? Does it make any sense? Really? Think of the logistics. I believe it is an idea that has potential, but I'm just not sure if it's worth it....
Why would we name a carnival centre about pan? That is a ludicrous question. You sound like the people who gave Obama a cricket bat at the Summit in T&T, (cricket was the invention/transmission of the English), instead our best indiginenous creation, the pan.

And a "World Panorama" is long overdue. Logistics have nothing to do with it. That is simply the direction of the future, whether we like it or not, so better to "take in front" by endorsing the idea, before the French or Japanese do it for us. And, tell me, how would you measure if it is "worth it"? Would it be worth spending 4 or 5 times the cost of a blimp to host an international panorama event, in exchange for the honour and prestige of hosting such an event and establishing T&T indisputably as the birthplace of pan?
RONIN, would you have any objections naming the carnival center after George Bailey? Whatmatters to me , is to see Trinbago start naming institutions after deserving people, especially those who tried to advance the culture with their skills, time, energy and status. Yes, RONIN, it is personal because I am a panjumbie. Of all instruments, my first love is for our musical instrument, the steelpan. Of course, I love the saxophone, sitar, tassa and piano. But, my first love is pan.

Therefore, I would love to see our national instrument (steelpan) advance to the best. If you know the history you wil understand why the word 'Panorama' makes sense. I was there at the beginning of Panorama. It was (Ronald Williams) a Chinese Trinbagonian who gave it that name which displayed the democratic and inclusive status of pan. If you look closely at Panorama, it is made up of two main words: PAN and RAMA. Should I say more? YES, RONIN, WE CAN HAVE A WORLD STEELBAND PANORAMA. We already had a World Music Festival in New York. Remember?
Dear Khalick (Mr. Hewitt),

Quite an interesting piece.

This is one of George Goddard's nieces who is engaged in pan for over 30 years. You should be familiar with his nephew's name, Peter Ray Blood, prolific Features editor of one of the nation's (Trinidad & Tobago) leading newspapers.

I read your material at 05:00hrs this morning, November 11th and found it to have touched on many areas I raised, expounded upon, suggested/recommended but who listens?
Then if listened to, who acts upon such information?

To be open-minded, objective and receptive to new (better) ideas, and possess the ability to recognize better (anything) and its advantanges are integral aspects to move forward...many seem devoid of those qualities.

Many seem to not possess the willingness or strEngth to move (exit a position or an office) for fear of losing 'power', status, recognition, position, popularity, 'friends', complimentary tickets for...
While, many seem to not possess the capability to get things to move in the right direction.

Many are not aware of the fact that when you work in tandem with others who can move things forward they ultimately become stronger and are better recognized and respected.

PAN as I denote: Pulsating Amazing and Noble, is indeed a pulsating, amazing and noble instrument that waaayyyy back in 1985 I suggested to make attempts to elevate the tonal quality and image of ALL the instruments in alignment with first class standards. After all, they (instruments) reside in and promote the "mecca of pan".

Many laughed, jeared, sucked teeth (steups), commented: "gyal, where you feel you is? You forget this is Trinidad...de world done know we is d best..."
Even that level/quality of language associated with the instrument -- that can replace the harp in in tone, appearance and execution of material -- troubled and still troubles me.

Even today, many do not know the benefit of appropriateness of...
When one is in their hole with their people they may choose to speak, dress and behave, etc to their standard but once you are called upon to interact/interelate among others we mUst learn to shift gears if we want the bigger, wealthier world to buy into us (people or artform).

"Mecca" - "a place where one aspires to visit" (Oxford Dictionary)
In this mecca of pan, our creativity mUst be revived/renourished to afford the WORLD something unique to come to.
The world knows the instrument.
Some countries have pan industries as huge as an entire block on Frederick Street with gold, platinum, silver-plated instruments; pan stands that when folded can fit in the palm of the hand; flexible sticks to accomodate the lack of the physical skill of handling the mallets, and the list can go on.

What are the core-values or new core-values of the pan fraternity?
What are we selling?
Why are we selling?
How are we selling?
To whom are we selling?
What is our plan?
What is our structure?
What is our vision?
What is our SWOT analysis?
To which charity do we contribute?

What is the signature yearly billion $ fund-raiser for the pan fraternity?
What are the other products that can be developed out of pan -- I do not mean a CD or the boring coffee mugs, key rings, ashtrays, cheap T-shirts, etc.
I mean major products that can sit on Wall Mart shelves, internationally.

GEORGE GODDARD, my mother's brother, before the 80s also, attempted to market the idea of every child becoming music literate.
Many couldn't understand.
He had discourse and expounded upon the idea of pan at the school level but who wanted a "hooligan" and "ole nigger" thing in school -- that's not education!

Year before at the honouring of the Vanguards -- the early pioneers of pan-- a suggestion was made to honour uncle "Sony" his home name so I applaud you for remembering that he existed.
I was proud to have met or rekindle with the historians.
I await a callendar or diary displaying the historians and educational pan material.
I await the wax museum as well.

I asked a 16 year old school pannist two months ago who is George Goddard.
His response was: "Who is he...I never hear bout he. He is a new teacher we getting?"
I said ooohhhkayyy, smiled, then explained.

CANOPIES: has advantages and disadvantages.
I have been burnt in and become dehydrated from the sun then drenged in the rain with instruments sounding muffled and low subsequently getting rusty.
If only we had control of the weather. that would be such a powerful and beautiful thing.
At nights, it protects us great pannists from the dew.
You know dew still forms on our warm skulls and we cannot tell the boss we cannot come to work because of pan? (big smile)
To be addressed.

Hm!!! I tend to leave unwell alone.
A competition was held or is being held at a temporary site or sites.
Change, adaptability, understanding and patience are also strengths.

I think its time the people of pan understand that we are in the 21st century and that the artform needs to be viewed, treated and executed to optimum business standards.
People need to understand their role.
People need to understand the new core-values of the fraternity if the wealthier world is to be magnetized.
People need to bring themselves on the page of the nEw book.
People need to self educate themselves for betterment and widened perimetre of knowledge.

I gotta go to conduct a lecture.

Where do you reside?
I am in the Republic of Trinidad, West Indies.

All the best,

Sandra L. Blood (Ms.)
Lifeskills Consultant
That's ok.
Re Canopy as per Khalick Hewtit and Sandra Blood :

There are questions about the efficacy of the canopy in Panorama competitions, but if its use has more to do with protecting players from the elements than with sound, I wonder if a covered competition venue would make better sense. It would certainly save money in the long run, players can be seen clearly and all bands would have the same physical dynamics to deal with. Just a thought.
It seems that many miss my point about the canopies. I am not about fixing canopies but getting rid of them all together. Today, they look out of touch. They are not attractive but serve to distract the audience from seeing the panists (one N). We know (scientifically) that it does not do anything for the music. Check out Exodus last year and this year. Can anyone say that Exodus sounded bad because they removed their canopies? Exodus looked like how a modern steel Orchestra should look.It was aesthetic and beautiful to see a complete steel orchestra and its panists playing our music. Also, check out their new set up arrangements. They should have received a trophy for inventiveness.
Like this but as I stated, canopies have their advantages and disadvantages I guess like many other things in the world.
Thanks Sandra. In the interests of trasnparency, I knew George's wife Bunny. While a member of City Syncopators, I saw how George worked his tail off for the steelbands. He did not die a rich man and surrended his family for steelbands. I also saw how some steelbands betrayed him due to politics. I have no brief for naming the carnival center after George. They could also name it after Beryl McBurnie or Eric Williams who did a lot for the early steelbands. Eric protected steelbands from being lost in the dustbins of history. He financially subsidized Panorama with PNM still do today. Beryl gave her name and status to the steelband movement. My point is that we have to start naming our institutions after deserving people. Why are we afraid to do so? Why do we continue to ignore our heroes and heroines? Every modern nation tries to bind their citizens to the nation by naming institutions after notable citizens with whom they can identify. Send me you remail address. You can contact me at wilsibo@verizon.net's
Certainly my dear.
"wilsibo@verizon.net's" is being returned as "invalid".
Mine is lineofsblood@yahoo.com
My email address is wilsibo@verizon.net


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