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Pan pan everywhere, not a drop to drink - No Pan in The Land of Pan

Trinidad & Tobago Guardian

Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. - ....I was embarrassed last weekend when a group of young people from Finland and Denmark were asked to contact me to find out where they could go in Port-of-Spain on a Friday evening to hear live pan music. The visitors said they play pan in Europe and, having come to Trinidad, they thought there would be pan music on every block of the nation’s capital.

“Aren’t you ‘the land of the steelband’?” asked Henrietta. I was stumped for an answer as I had no tangible proof to provide her with to support that boast, and widely touted claim. In an attempt to appease the visitors, I phoned Pan Trinbago’s office and, speaking to a trustee, was told: “Nah, it have no place where pan is played on a Friday evening, or on a weekend. But, if they (Fins) still here on Sunday, they could go to the Laventille Steelband Parade.” I also called an official of bp Renegades, knowing that the Charlotte Street band recently hosted a vibrant Friday-evening show, who also said there was no live pan action in the pan theatre, but there would be some guys playing All Fours. I also called around to no fewer than half dozen panyards....same answer...no live pan music.
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"Trinidad still is one of the most racist places in the Caribbean."

Amazing to hear someone else say this!!! I have been royally cussed out by Trinis in foreign for making that statement. Them boldly telling me that they never experience no racism in Trinidad.

Well, to be honest, I don't say in the Caribbean -- I say in the WORLD.

So true Claude, when nigger used to run things coolie make noise, now coolie and light skin Trini gang up on nigger he gone in ah corner like "Little Jack Horner" or is it Warner?

I bet the situation is that nobody wants to spend the necessary money for a steel band to play at their venue.  It's just like in the US, bars and restaurants want live entertainment, then change their minds when musicians have the audacity to ask to be paid a wage vs. relying on tips from the customers. 

Miss Hope i do have a question for all readers of WST ,especially those living in T&T,,,question,,,,when was the last time a Steelband had  performed at the Hyatt or Hilton Hotel in T&T. respect

I am no longer amazed by the double-standards on this WST forum. Had I used terms like "nigger" and "coolie", I am sure the Snake In Dougla Disguise, would have come out a-hissing! That said, I am glad that I am not the one that brought the issues of race and class back into focus. I was glad to see that, it was an Afro-Trinidadian male teenager, that brought home the Olympic gold, and that people of African descent showed the world our greatness (as a "race"). From track and field, to gymnastics, to basketball, we showed what Black young men and women can achieve, if given the opportunity, especially in the Caribbean, where race and class politics, is still the order of the day. I congratulate ALL out national athletes for representing Trinidad & Tobago with dignity and grace. I can only wonder why our teams are ALWAYS referred to as "Soca Boys" and "Soca Girls", and NEVER as "Steelband Boys" or "Pan Girls" (as examples). I remember my country being the "land of "steelband, calypso, and limbo" (in that order).

The answers may lie in the government's attitudes towards pan and steelbands, which show a lack of interest in promoting pan as an exportable Trinidad & Tobago commodity. Make NO mistake, the interest generated in Nigeria, has to do with her oil, and NOT our steel pans made from oil containers. Where is the proof? Well, let's see what they promote:

The Ministry of Trade and Industry's document, titled, Seven Sectors Earmarked For Development, listed "Music and Entertainment", as one of the "seven". Interestingly, pan is NEVER mentioned. The reality is, as far as our government's relations with Nigeria, pan is NOT considered as being a part of the potential "revenue generator". Even "sundry support service providers" are mentioned in this document, but, again, not ONE mention of "pan" or "steelband". Why? Because the government does not take our local pan industry (yes, that's what it is - an "industry") seriously.


Until, the local panman and panwoman come to realize that, historically, the government (of both parties), have been enemies of the "steelband movement", and not allies, they will continue to be slighted, marginalized, and eventually, replaced through the "ethnic" process of gentrification, where the "race" and "class" are replaced with the more socially-acceptable of our society; a society, that constantly reminds us that "if you're White, you're alright; if you're Yellow ,you're mellow, and if you're Black, stay back." In my attempt to address bigotry on ALL levels, I have certainly taken my fair share of personal attacks, even though, I made known my non-racist views, my love for ALL people, and my acceptance of my global "pan family", regardless of creed, class, or color. Many misunderstood my addressing issues of racism, and, further allowed others to promote racist viewpoints, that have nothing to do with reality, logic, nor sanity.

Pan Trinbago will continue to fail serving the masses of local panmen and panwomen, because, they contradict themselves, by claiming to be a "non profit union", while functioning in the exact opposite capacity. They answer to shareholders, and not to the membership, they are legally incorporated to represent. There will always be a conflict of interests, and, again, a non-profit" cannot (by law) own shares. So, they openly break the law, and the government, stands by and watches them do it. Why? Because, they are in partnership, not to improve the conditions for the local lumpen proletarian pan player, but to make money for themselves, while exploiting the local pan worker (that's what we are: "workers"). NO worker has EVER been treated fairly without having a union to represent them, and the local pan industry workers, desperately need a union that seeks their interests. That was the reason behind both the Steelbands Association and NATTS being formed, and Pan Trinbago has moved away from the "union" model, much to the detriment of the local pan industry and her workers.

In the "Blueprint", I presented a few ideas, that I know will solve some of the issues we address, however, to date, no one sees fit to build on those ideas. Had these same ideas come from Boogsie, EVERYONE would have commenting on his "genius", when, in fact, the ONLY thing Boogsie is a genius at, is pan. I admit, I am NO Len "Boogsie" Sharpe, but, then again, he is NO George David Goddard either. While he was in the panyard "beating pan", I was more like a "coolie" (I guess that racial slur is acceptable now). Beating book. So, my two years in mechanical engineering at John D., and my four years in music, at FMU, under Dr. Dawn Batson-Borel, made me a "genius", in ways that Boogsie will NEVER be. When we learn to embrace each others "gifts/talents", we will be a better pan body. So, some may call me "insane" but, when we look at both my and Boogsie's history, we can deduct, who did things that can be considered "insane". When we examine the comments of the WST members, who ascribe such titles to myself, we can come to our own conclusions, as to whose head needs to be examined.


Finally, taking a historic look at Nigeria and corporations:

The political mechanisms of corporate rule in the geographical area called Nigeria can only be understood from a historical perspective. This is one country that was designed by corporations for corporations and simply disregards the people who live there. And so to understand it, we have to look at the past…it was not until 1967 that the cruel hands of the multinationals became apparent. Most people in Europe and America think that the war that broke out in Nigeria in 1967 [Biafra] was an ethnic war, but it was not. It was an oil war, engineered by the multinationals. If you look closely at the history, the Ebus of the eastern region were crying out against the persecution of the Lothin region. And, of course, the east thought that they could survive because of the numerous oil reserves there. And so they decided to secede. But secession would have meant that the oil that was then under the control of Shell (and to a large extent of Britain), would have moved away from British control. So, Shell moved swiftly to advise the British government never to back secession. The government's subsequent actions led to a civil war in which over one million people died between 1967 and 1970…We believe that if we are going to resolve all these issues have to challenge the multinationals very vigorously. Our anger must be focused on a complete dismantling of the authorities of corporate rule. Because they have not only caused social disintegration of our culture and our tradition, they have led to the introduction of foreign diseases and the destruction of our cultural ethos. They have led to the destabilization of our mainstream economy and livelihoods. We are basically agrarian people, dependent on fishing and farming; we do not have the technology that the West or other parts of the world have. But we have peace, we have laws, and we intend to promote this.” (The Case Of Nigeria: Corporate Oil and Tribal Blood, by Oronto Douglas. A excerpt from the book, The Effects Of Globalization And The WTO On The Third World.)


Pan'tum - The Ghost Who Talks. Honoring The Legacy Of George "Sonny" Goddard.

George Goddard Award - Friends of the Steelband

Suresh Sewaliah

Ellen Bascombe

Wack Radio


Power 102FM

ps WST ever make this list - past or present ???????

Thanks for sharing Dre. I knew about the "award", but I cannot understand "Friends of the Steelband". My dad was more than a "friend"; he was the LEADER of the "movement". When Sir Solomon Hochoy introduced him to Queen Elizabeth II in 1966, it was because he was a respected leader, worthy to be presented to British royalty. I am not sure I know of many "Friends of the Steelband", who dedicated almost a half-century, in leadership roles in all three pan organizations - the Steelbands Association, NATTS, and Pan Trinbago. In my opinion, attaching "friend" to George "Sonny" Goddard, is just another slight by Pan Trinbago. My dad knew many "friends of the steelband", but he surely was not one of them. That's like the Nation of Islam, claiming that Malcolm X was a "friend" of the Black Muslim organization of the United States. The title just does not match the resume. Does it?


Interestingly, this "friend" has never had ANY of his immediate family invited to ANY Pan Trinbago event, and although my mom was fit enough to be presented to the Queen of England, she has NEVER been called to receive any awards, that Pan Trinbago bestowed on him. This includes myself, even though, I was a member of a steelband, and a graduate of Florida Memorial University, a school with a reputable steelband program. Obviously, according to our online snitch, I'm on a different Pan Trinbago "list". THE WST TROUBLEMAKERS!!! lmao! Hotep, Dre.


 Greetings Pantum: You touched on a topic that caused me grief in the sixties and seventies. I, too ,wrote and spoke extensively about the Biafran War and the role of Shell and Mobil in instigatigating a war of genocidal proportions. They are still there causing destruction. I read today that the Minister will push PanTrinbago to do some of the things that have been advocated on the WST board. Let's see! Will they educate the idrens about the basic finance and how to manage a business? What will be the role of the average panman/lady? Will they, too, share in the bounty and employment? Will they be share holders of the Coop and of the manufacturing industry? Who will put up the seed money for the ventures? Will Pan Trinbago take the lead and then what about those who will need assistance? How will we look after the sick and the downtrodden? By the wsay, I noticed there was an award under GG.  Will look for you on Friday. Guidance Dr. Lance Seunarine. PS this week I am hoping for the better. We did not sell any books in the first two weeks to WST members. Dr. Lance Seuinatine (www.tricanbooks.com). Time to beat the drum and share the wealth to all

Dr Lance the Authority in T&T read the WST forum we have to continue stoking the fire...PanTrinbago are backpedaling since this Minister taken over the port-folio of Arts and Culture he is ruffling feathers across the different stakeholders in culture...he wants transparency.

Greetings, Dr. Lance. I can't wait to meet you on Friday; hopefully I get to meet Brother Rashidi, as well. My wife is a huge fan of his, and he actually corresponds with her on Facebook. (I'm jealous. lol.) I would love to read your publications on the Biafran War, and the roles played by "Big Oil", although I have done some research into it. I encourage EVERY WST member to, not only purchase (at least) one of your books, but to also get involved in the "Blueprint", which I clearly stated, is a "living document", and intended to be a collective effort. Again, unless Pan Trinbago lives up to its claims of being a "non profit union", and the "World governing body for pan", we, the international pan fraternity, may need to form an international steel pan players union, that does the job, that Pan Trinbago should be doing. Again, they should NOT be in the business of owning shares, and certainly, should be inclusive of ALL panmen and pan women in the "World". They neither respect our voices, nor seek/represent our interests, and it is up to us, to take our "freedom". That is the ONLY way, pan and her fraternity will EVER be respected. They know that, and hence, it is very important to them, to keep an illiterate and uninformed/under-informed pan body. At the end of the day, I know - we ALL know - that it is exactly because of contributors, like myself, to this WST forum, that we, not only got the good "Chief" to address us, but to have the "Authorities" tune in as well. For power does not respect the feeble, and is always aware of the courageous. Dr. Lance, you have proven to be courageous, in your sincere gesture at starting this retirement fund, and I am by NO MEANS surprised, at the lack of support and feedback, for, the reality is: most of this WST membership, could not care less about the other person, and are here for ONLY selfish and self-centered reasons. And those are the ones that are quick to cry "foul"; the same illiterate/uninformed/under-informed, who believe that "politics have no right in pan", not realizing that were it not for "politics", pan - the "invention" of the socio-political outcast - may have never been "invented". I'll call you later. Hotep (Peace).



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