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My Facebook response to the Newsday article, "Panmen to get their $1,000":
Panorama is not really a "competition", although it is advertised as such. It's really a commercial event that produces millions of dollars (immediately and residually) to enigmatic and intangible shareholders. It's a corporate business venture, that uses cheap labor (the panist) in the production, packaging and marketing of it's product.
Now, I'm thinking (conservatively), that a panist can spend a total of anywhere from 100 to 500 hours during the "Panorama Season". Doing the math: $1000/100 = $10; $1000/500 = $2. (So, a local panist for Panorama really makes about $2 to $10 per hour.) I'm hoping that's US dollars and not TTD, otherwise that $1000 would become $156.36 US, and you would be making between $0.31 (i.e. thirty-one cents) and $1.56 per hour! "It don't get much cheaper than that!" Except slavery. Does it?


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That is a worthwhile comparison to make, especially given the great expenses that the samba bands also have to suffer as well as the fact that they too rehearse for many hours per practice for months in advance.  Anybody who seen the Sambodromo [their "Grand Stand" on a much larger scale] on Carnival Teusday can readily appreciate the massive effort involved, so I woud definitely be interested in heaing how the numbers compare ($/panman vs. $/samba dancer; investment per band per year; etc.).





interesting... I made this exact statement at the symposium a day ago..

there must be something in the water..lol

Interesting but you must also check how they pay panmen who they send on tour for instance china India Japan .They pay in TT dollars what disrespect.
We are applying North American standards to Trinidad panmen, I guess much  have'nt  change over the years in that if the captain say the band going to Japan no one ask how much I would be making on this gig.
It sounds as though you are likening Panorama and it's Bands/players to Professional Sports and its Teams/athletes... if this can be the case then I agree, the co-relations can be made from the top to the bottom. If the "players" of "Panorama" are to recieve their share of the profits garnered from the success of this lucrative "commercial event" then the band leaders must run their "band" as a "professional business organization" and become one of the "enigmatic and intangible shareholders". Pantrinbago would have to step up and run their business as does FIFA, NBA, NFL, MLB, ICC etc... Even if you are not likening Panorama to Professional sports... it's actually not a bad business model to adopt... just my thoughts...

Run steelbands like businesses.

Next thing you know, we'll have to elect businessmen as band leaders.


I keep having mental images of Milton "Squeezer" Lyons in a band meeting after Carnival trying to explain to Southern Marines panmen waiting to get paid why there was no money in the till.

A more apt comparison would be to compare steelbands to Symphony orchestras, which are not businesses, but derive income from a variety of sources including wealthy patrons, public contributions ,performances and yes,from taxpayers dollars.

Even professional sports teams are owned by groups of millionaires who still look for public support in building their facilities.

Of course funds available to steelbands should be managed in a businesslike manner,but to expect a steelband to generate profits like a successful business is asking a lot.

The (US) Small Business Administration (SBA) keeps the stats on business failures and claims that more than half of new businesses will disappear in the first five years

We certainly do not wish that to happen to steelbands!


There seems little doubt that eventually steelbands will have to be run as business enterprises .... I think the original point implied that steelbands be properly run as businesses, not as failed scams.  Corrupt leadership, though it has frequently been present in pan, should not be assumed to be the inevitable outcome of what you might call the "financial democratisation" of the industry.  But I agree that your analogy to first world symphonies is probably the best model to follow.




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