Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music
by Aqull Arrindell
Please permit me to make it clear that I am not referring to anyone, nor do I wish for anyone, to be personally branded as any of the animal characters that appear in the literature I am drawing reference to. I believe we are all above such base behavior.
Most of us who did English Literature at secondary level or saw the movie, Animal Farm, know that it tells a story which depicts a real human trait that we have all either seen, experienced or participated in. The story starts with the backdrop of some farm animals, poorly treated by their owner who then rebel and drive the farmer off of the farm. The animals then come up with rules to govern themselves in order to make sure all animals live as equals and to maintain order (much like Pan Trinbago’s constitution). The Pigs, being more intelligent than the others, take charge and gradually change the rules until they became fat and greedy while living luxuriously and wearing human clothes. All this, while the other animals starve and are worked to death. The animals find themselves in an even worse situation than they had under the farmer.
Before the PRO’s appointment into office, his family and mine grew up closely. As a matter of fact, no other pan family and ours was closer. He and my father are very deeply involved in African heritage and the love for this instrument. Often, visits to the respective pan yards or homes were welcomed on both sides. As a youth, it was always exciting to hear his stance on how Pan Trinbago should be run. But what always stood out to me in his conversations was related to the fact that Pan Trinbago belongs to the membership. He was always saying words to the effect that it is we who are in charge, and the people elected by us are to serve us and not the other way around. He also said that they should not be running the thing like a Boy Scout club.
Grown now into adulthood and by God’s will, I ended up serving on the executive with him. It was unbelievable for me to see him in action in 2015, while he was chairman of the southern region. He tried to take money (which my band won in a competition where his band came last in the conventional bands) and have it be divided among the participating bands equally. In 2016, he and I, at my last executive meeting, almost came to physical blows simply because I insisted that he and the ERO should not be receiving $5,000.00 of band leaders’ money for travelling whilst the organization was renting two vehicles at $5,000.00 each a month, which in my opinion was, for their personal use. My reasoning for saying personal use was that Pan Trinbago had three company drivers reporting to work every day and at least one of them was always available. Now, at the 2017 Annual General Meeting, he stayed quiet, together with the rest of the executive in support of the disgusting behaviour of the president as he forced dictatorship on the membership. Even at one point in time the ERO gave the president an article to read to the membership to justify the president’s behaviour. Is it really that they are so overwhelmingly ignorant of the provisions in the constitution they were elected to uphold? Or is it just that they are at the part of the story where the fat pigs start to wear clothes. Mr PRO, remember who you were and stop being like the pigs, stop gradually changing the rules just to collect a salary. Believe it or not, some part of me still thinks you are better than that.
To all band leaders, be sure you know who you are in this story, the starving animals that are worked to death or the fattened pigs. Some of you have already started your Panorama tune, but remember that with no pay for players, no pay for the staff, and less money for bands; the executive’s money remains the same.
Band leaders, sign the petition because Animal Farm should have no place in Pan Trinbago. Mr. Bryan Melville, you are the president’s advisor. I am guessing that you have something to do with his behaviour. Most unfortunate.
Still educating the masses.
Sometimes, I have to accept the reality of what you guys experience in steelband organizations, for those in LEADERSHIP positions functioning in service to others, producing products and struggling as unsponsored steelbands.
Some bands leaders sound like Trump voters, how many of them read the CONSTITUTION; do they understand the power of their VOTE? Maybe some of them believe Diaz when he said “Anytime you want to be a great manager, try and run a steelband, when you finish, you can run any organization in the world.” With so much information available for members to inform themselves with a hand-held device, you would think they can make INFORMED decisions when they VOTE or SUPPORT a movement for CHANGE.
This is Trinidad and some seem CLUELESS…
Special report: How Mori made millions in T&T
Company that played role in Brexit, election of Trump hired by T&T parties
In May 2017, the UK Guardian published an article titled “The Great Brexit Robbery: how our democracy was hijacked”, which reported that a data-mining firm, SCL Elections (now Cambridge Analytica (CA), which played a role in both Brexit and the election of President of United States, Donald Trump, worked in Trinidad and Tobago.
On its website, CA cites Trinidad and Tobago as a case study, claiming responsibility for the “Do So” campaign built around the crossed arms of San Juan resident Percy Villafana who had refused then prime minister Patrick Manning entry to his home during a walkabout March 2010.
The general election which took place a few months later saw Kamla Persad-Bissessar, as head of a coalition People's Partnership, defeat Manning in a landslide victory to be installed as the country's next prime minister.
“Ultimately, the employment of CA's research-based differential campaigns and establishment of consistent policy and variegated communications contributed to the People's Partnership coalition landslide victory. The victory saw Trinidad and Tobago's first-ever female Prime Minister. CA subsequently supported the governing coalition with ongoing advice,” the site reported.
In an investigation spanning several months this year, the Sunday Express discovered several data-mining operations took place between 2010-2015, facilitated by politicians, with the cost being borne by taxpayers.
This is a first in a series looking at how this information was used, who had access to it and whether taxpayers benefited from it.http://www.trinidadexpress.com/20171204/news/millions-paid-to-uk-po...
odw: You are looking at the PAN TING from a very sterile (I might even say PRIVILEGED LENS). You know they say that if you ever see how sausage is made you would not want to eat it -- well if you understood the mentality of the PAN MEN in Trinidad you would not be rolling out all of your high-level management strategies thinking that they could make a difference.
If you read Aquil's recent postings you will see that the imaginary half-filled glass is turning into an empty glass IN REALITY. The hand is lost. Pan Men are not shifting loyalty to the CIP. Keith Diaz got the ANIMALS ON THE FARM under control -- no news to me, of course.
I don't like to go dig up old postings and bring them back up but ARTHUR TRAVERSO went to Trinidad some time last year and made an assessment that was so brilliantly encapsulated as he described the plight, despair and social stagnation of the PAN MAN.
Aquil could PREACH PAUL but they eh listening AT ALL.
And, then, as Russell Providence keeps warning: Even if the CIP does educate the PAN MEN and take down Keith Diaz -- the SHARKS are waiting to EAT AQUIL ALIVE.
Aquil does not understand DESPERATION IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO. And until somebody sits him down and gives him AN EDUCATION on that subject -- he might as well drop the CIP THING and see what kind of PAN MUSIC he could bring to the WORLD'S ATTENTION. Or use his music and composition skills to become the next LESTON PAUL of Trinidad and Tobago.
When you find yourself in the wrong job all you will do is end up like DOCTOR DOLLY!!!
Claude: This is about Quality LEADERSHIP, I believe CHANGE can start from the bottom-up, we are doing the young people a dis-service, why complain where the next Liam Teague or Mia Gormandy or Boogsie will come from? If PAN MEN don't feel empowered then so be it. There’s a big difference between those seeking POWER and those SERVING others.
I'm sure there are capable individuals in Trinidad who have accomplished more with less for their steelbands. Checkout the accomplishments by Owen Serrette...
Programs initiated under Serrette’s stewardship which provided sponsorship to the steelband fraternity included the National Junior Panorama and National Junior Steelband Music Festival competitions; Pan on the Road competitions; Arima Panorama; Carnival Monday Night Steelband Explosion; Borough of Point Fortin Pan on the Move; Pan Chutney; Pan Ramajay; Hindi Foundation’s Steelband competition; The Panman’s Ball; Steelband Week and many more.
Serrette initiated music literacy for pan musicians at UWI, no doubt inspired to do so having being a member of the UWI steelband in Mona, Jamaica in 1973.
He also instituted training in management and administration for young managers of member steelbands. He insisted, and still insists, that pan musicians become musically literate and be referred as “musicians,” and not panmen.
In 2014, Serrette was honored by Morvant’s St Dominic’s Ex Pupils and literary and cultural associations for “outstanding contributions in the field of culture in the Morvant community.”
As president of Pan Trinbago, in order to internationalize the organization, Serrette established Pan Trinbago chapters in Canada, New York and Arizona, and formed alliances with Caribbean steelband organizations.
Cultural exchange programs were also established, with lasting relationships, whereby local musicians, tuners and arrangers secured performances and work abroad.
An amazing caveat of Serrette’s stint as president is that he served strictly in a voluntary capacity. “At no time during the years I spent as president of Pan Trinbago did I receive a salary,” he revealed.
And this story is going to educate PAN MEN to cross the floor and vote for the CIP.
Lord oh Lord!!! The CIP bury in kEITH DIAZ grave and they still WALKING and TALKING in THEIR DREAMS.
Sounds like you are calling MICHAEL JOSEPH a FAT GREEDY PIG to me!!!
Mr. claude you like real Bacchanal boy.
Aquil my brother these are bad people. Are you sure they were not always like this?
I wish to request this forum's permission to examine two (2) of the personalities mentioned in Aquil's discussion.
The advisor has been around since the eggs were laid by the pioneers in the muddy pond out of which ten thousand flowers were "expected" to bloom. I have always had the utmost respect for the advisor, as I was raised to respect my elders, and although our interactions were always cordial, I was always hesitant, and even reluctant to embrace his ideas, as he has never displayed any catalytic qualities. I use catalytic to describe the catalyst, as being a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction, change, without itself undergoing any permanent change. His ideas relative to the manner in which the business of panmen should be administered may not have changed significantly since his tenure began as an administrator. I would even take the liberty to describe him as Mugabean, as opposed to Mandelaen (considering the progression of pioneers like Jules and Ellie), as it relates to his tenure at HQ. This gentleman seem to have no appreciation for the passage of time, and the need to move on. That he may have become obsolete, may not be inconsiderate. That he may have grown into an ADULT TADPOLE masquerading as A FROG still swimming around in a muddy pond sucking at the available nutrients in the murky waters in which he exists, when he should have been in fact hopping around hunting flies and other small insect prey consistent with a frog's diet a long time ago may not be surreal.
next, the gentleman whose band has been around since The UN held it's first General Assembly at the conclusion of World War ll, before Israel achieved statehood, or before the Korean Peninsular was divided, the leader of a band that has existed before the pan as we know it evolved into a musical instrument producing chromatic scales in three octaves, whose band does not appear to have developed past the embryonic stage of the frog's eggs, quite likely surviving in a cocoon weaved of intransparency, unaccountability and lack of democracy. A pig whose only intention seems to be milking the cows, the rationalization being that he needs the milk in order to be intelligent, and continually threaten the other animals in his measured posts with the possibility that the humans may return and the pigs need to be as smart as the human in order to run the farm and protect it from all enemies.
Aqua seems to be getting the message, his mention of the fact that before ascending to executive status the intentions of the PRO were advocated and accepted as being noble. Aquil must be aware that these elements may surround him, and as I would have declared in an earlier post, if given the chance would willingly milk the cows for their own benefit, and threaten the other animals with extermination by outside elements if they do not have their way.
I would encourage Aquil not to turn back now, to continue pressing forward. He may have lost a battle, but with proper planning and faithful allies he can win the war. He needs to rethink who his allies are, he must be able to identify who will betray the cause, who the double agents are. He may need to retreat and prepare for the next battle, rethink his strategy and his method of approach for the next assault, upgrade his ammunition and retrain his troops.
BRAVO!!! BRAVO!!! That was a REAL GOOD SPEECH.
I especially liked the line about the PIGS milking the COWS. But with all your analysis, you are missing an obvious impediment in Aquil's run to the PRESIDENCY!!! He has a blind idealism that diminishes the DESPERATION of the PIGS that surround him. So one day when he wakes up and thinks that he is in a pond on a farm with PIGS and COWS and TADPOLES -- he will IN ACTUALITY be looking at HUNGRY SHARKS while wondering what evolutionary process could FAST TRACK such rapid GENETIC MUTATION.
Well, at least Aquil has been warned. Will he listen? I say: NO!!!
The thing that is amusing about you, is how you sat around the table long before i came, dancing your jig for a fig, as illiterate as you are.
This silly little twerp, reminds me of the serpent that went early to the party, and had eaten like a glutton, and when he was stuffed, he crawled out and layed by the entrance, and calling all those going in greedy.
Talk in front the mirror little boy.
How you ole timeish so Mr Joseph.? The time has long long gone for gossip and calling people names...I am sure you can do better than that....Remember...on this forum you are speaking to the entire world...
merrytonestothebone: Ah breaking protocol and taking a psychological victory lap right here. In a recent post I declared unequivocally that understanding the sociology of Trinidad and Tobago as it relates to POWER in PAN TRINBAGO -- KEITH DIAZ was not going to be taken down by no WOMAN FROM TOBAGO or no LITTLE BOY. So the TWO wannabe leaders who dared to OVERTHROW HIM -- DONE LOSS from the start of the battle.
Look!!! Mr. Joseph come and drop the "little boy" profile right in meh lap this morning. Ah going and put some brandy in meh coffee this morning to celebrate the moment. Is only seven clock my time.
Ah wish the CIP did hire me as a psycho-political consultant. All now Diaz and Joseph lock up in ah HOG PEN!!!
Claude...unfortunately is the oletime panman in him that coming out... So Aquil and anybodyelse who dare criticize them is "lil boys"... maybe even ole hard back me and all... Two things I learnt long ago about management...1) When things going wrong...look at yuhself first in order to solve the problem...and 2) Being in charge of any organization is firstly about service...not about gallery...