Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music
Pan Trinbago says, ‘We Africans must stick together’.
Most of us scorned a certain community when their behaviours and decisions were based on race and class. For example, when the past indo-based government allegedly thieved; mismanaged; used their office to illicit sex from women; pilfered money from the public purse; changed laws to benefit their friends’ interests etc., we were appalled when their community still voted for them. We even publicly dislike the fact that President Donal Trump’s behaviour seems to be one of a conman, bigot, fascist, sexist etc. and he was still voted in by white Americans because he appealed to white supremacist beliefs and their fear of blacks.
‘We have a billion-dollar industry and we, the African people, must own it. There is a group that wants to take it away from us. We brought the steel pan from the days where police beat us for playing it, to a place of profit. Now the other races and classes (NCC) want to take it over’ (Paraphrasing).
These are the ideas expressed by executive officers of Pan Trinbago in many forums including social media of late. It was even told to me by Pan Trinbago’s financial adviser, in a bid for me to withdraw my resignation as Education Officer in January.
I have sat amongst these men; two decades from teenager into manhood, with officers from the southern region, who are now on the executive, and for two years as Education Officer amongst the present executive. I listened and learned and was always amazed by their analysis of pan men/band leaders. Like true political scientists, they predict our behaviour and adjust to suit. It is important for any politician to know their constituents so that they can cater to their needs. However, when they are using their knowledge of our behaviour to have us as servants to them when it should be them serving us, it becomes dangerous.
The “We African must stick together” speech is just one of the tools of manipulation used to keep us in check. Frankly, as a person who was born from an African mother and a mixed race father, who kept his 45th Kwanzaa celebration this year, I am still quite disgusted and offended. Disgusted and offended simply because these ‘politicians’ know that with the less intelligent amongst us, tribal instincts surface when there is a threat to our interests.
So let us talk of our interests. This pie in the sky billion-dollar industry. We missed the bus a long time ago with the steel pan industry on the world market because of the same type of self-serving leaders. Attempts are being made to reclaim the industry but with all these allegations over the heads of our executive, and their insistence on not stepping down, it is at a stalemate.
Our biggest interest earner is Panorama. According Mark Bassant’s The Unsound Note: Part 3 of 4 - A TV6 News Investigation our profits from Panorama in 2009 was 5.2 million; 2010, 6.4 million; 2011, 3.7million; 2012, 4.7 million; 2013, 9.1 million; 2014, 7.6 million; 2015, 8.5 million; coming to a grand total of $45,200.000.00. They talk about protecting your interests. Now think. Who benefited from this profit? How much of this profit went back to your band? How many PAN IN THE COUNTRYSIDE gigs did your band perform for? How much money did your band receive for their performances?
Based on what my band has been paid, it is an average of $7,000.00 each performance, if so much. Out of that, we paid $3,000.00 in transport and $1,000.00 for refreshments. So our profit was $3,000.00. Let us assume you got two PAN IN THE COUNTRYSIDE gigs in seven years. Your actual profit would be $6,000.00. (out of 45.2 million). Now divide that 6,000.00 among twenty players. Each player earns $300.00 in seven years. Which is actually $42.86 a year. Now let us compare that $42.86 payment against the president’s alleged $80,000.00 honorarium for 2016, or his under $30,000.00 salary a month according to his faithful trustee who signs his cheque every month. So what? Is his salary $29,999.99? That is under $30,000.00. Compare the same $42.86 to the financial advisor’s alleged $150,000.00 every three months, or compare it to the alleged $15,000.00 a month the car rental company receives for executive officers who are already getting $5,000.00 travelling allowance a month and the list goes on. Is this the interest we, the African man, must PROCTECT WITH OUR LIVES?
Well, let me remind my brothers and sisters in pan of our African history. It was not the whites who went into the villages in Africa to capture us. Seeing that our executive ignores our mandates, pays themselves big bonuses; buys and rents cars with our money; pays their friends high salaries; etc., we must ask ourselves, are we being sold out by our own people? Are we still slaves and the only thing that has changed is the skin colour of our masters?
Pan Trinbago does not belong to the executive. Pan Trinbago and all its assets belongs to the membership. Join the fight and do your part to regain control of our organization. We must ensure that the profits of Pan Trinbago would benefit the membership, no matter their races, and not the executive officers and their friends. Remember that our country’s moto is TOGETHER WE ASPIRE, TOGETHER WE ACHIEVE. Let us distance ourselves from these evil acts against us and continue bridging the gap between races as we have always done through pan music.
Document of CONCERNED INDIVIDUALS FOR PAN
The CIP cannot win over the 60% of the delegates required to remove KEITH DIAZ and his executive. And that "we Africans must stick together" line (or a variation of it) was introduced to AFRO TRINIDADIANS by Eric Williams and the PNM. So it has tried and true party inculcation.
Reason and numbers will never prevail with the vast body of PAN MEN (you understand why, Aquil). Blind loyalty to KEITH DIAZ is the order of the day. When he (Keith Diaz) reminded Bryon Serrette that PAN TRINBAGO was a democratic organization, the message was quite clear to me: Nobody could beat me in an election!!! (Shades of: If yuh want to test how ah strong in ah election; leh we bet some money ah giving odds 10 to 1.)
Like the NEW VISIONARIES, the CIP will whither and die in its battle against KEITH DIAZ. The Prime Minister and the Minister of Culture are tied politically to the leadership of PAN TRINBAGO. As a consequence they cannot do anything that would expose the corruption in PAN TRINBAGO -- formally!!! I mentioned before that if the UPPM wanted to really take down KIETH DIAZ they will have to step on the toes of the PNM LEADERS by expanding the playing field, politically.
And I know for sure that the NEW VISIONARIES or the UPPM or the CIP would never travel that road. In the big picture this is just a squabble among PNM FACTIONS to control the funds (political patronage) that flows into PAN TRINBAGO. And it cannot be allowed to overflow its borders and risk shame to the party because in the end: WE AFRICANS MUST STICK TOGETHER!!!
Dem fellas cyah be serious...I ask de man what we could expect as the way forward for Pan...he refuse to answer and now post this long race card complaint/campaign speech....steups....allyuh good oui?!!...
Just come one meeting merry tones. old police are allowed. lol . A to Z times 2 with solutions on the way forward. Corporal Tones sir. lol
Aquil...I am not who you think I am...I was never a police officer...Furthermore I find the "old police" line a bit condescending...I am not into this tit for tat business with you...I have been in this thing far too long for ole talk....Personally I am kinda tired of the blame game...We know all who t'ief...All who need to measure for clothes at "Club Jail" etc....Tell us now what are the CIP's plans...
merrytonestothebone: You have always brought a dynamic, local-centric, tolerant, and instructive viewpoint to issues on this forum. But something about this particular topic/poster/group have you in angstville.
Yuh eh read enough manifesto in yuh life? Yuh want to read ah next one? Don't tell me that I have get a copy of "the way forward for Pan" and send it to you from thousands of miles away when the damn thing can be read in a MEETING NEAR YOU!!!
Claude...I done read between the lines long time...
Their are no words between the lines bro. I am not refusing to answers, Just not answering on your conditions. Ok, come out side the meeting and i will read the A to Z document for you. Or are you afraid that Mr. Diaz will hear that you came to a C.I.P meeting and your band would not get a Pan in the Country Side gig. There are some band leaders who are truly afraid and I empathise with them. The only way to over come that fear is to face it. Come to one meeting.
Aquil...true to form with Pan Trinbago over the years it's only the bands administered by "friends" of the sitting executive that ever benefit from gigs like "Pan in the Countryside"...Your band has benefitted by your admission...We have never been that fortunate, maybe because we have always called a spade a spade, especially where the anyhowness of Panorama is concerned. Diaz, Forteau and I'm sure even you know that too, since you were once an executive member. So again, clearly you are not serious. If you can assure me that a CIP administration would ensure one-player-one band and one-arranger-one-band for Panorama, I would be the first person at the meeting. But I know that very few of us would be brave enough to even considering playing fair at Panoramatime...
Aquil: I feel the need to remind that this is NOT an ADVOCACY forum. This is a forum for CULTURALLY STARVED EXPATS. Nostalgia and the lingering drama of Carnival and Steelband and Calypso are their primary interest.
If I were in your shoes, I would just make my points (post my political propaganda) as a means of exposing the current corrupt PAN TRINBAGO and NOT ENGAGE with the EXPATS on a point and counter-point basis.
There are just about 5 Trinidadians (LOCALS) who actually frequent the forum. And in most cases their role is just to remind us (THE EXPATS) that TRINIDAD is not stuck in the SIXTIES as they left it.
As a creature of politics I happen to like this topic that you put up and I even admire KEITH DIAZ and his crew for using this time-tested strategy of RACE -- US AGAINST THEM.
As Richard Pryor said: "That's the politics, baby!!!"
Thank you claude. I will try with all my might to keep the integrity of the chat in tact.
If Pan Trinbago is an example of Africans sticking together It is shameful.