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Panorama Fiasco on a Global Stage Caught on my Blackberry

Panorama on the Net 2009

In the last few weeks, hundreds of thousands of pan historians, fans and players hooked into the When Steel Talks online network and site seeking to gain and/or share information on the panorama happenings, and become associates and friends with others of like minds. Our WST amalgamation of PanOnTheNet.com, bolstered by our presence on emerging technologies like Facebook, Ning and Twitter - to name a few - heated up our ‘lines’ into unprecedented numbers.

We at When Steel Talks are particularly pleased with the unprecedented lineup of prestigious educators, historians, management, arrangers and players who have become members of our recently-formed WST forum. You represent some of the greatest minds and talent in the global steelpan community. You hail from every corner of the planet. We are honored with your presence. Moreover, we look forward to your contributions in making this a community that will propel the steelpan music genre and art form to new levels. Your accessibility, exchanging of ideas, and interaction with the youth, are priceless.

The selfless interaction that we have seen between players and arrangers globally has been very encouraging. The ability for a budding pan player in Europe, Africa or Japan to exchange concepts and tips with a noted educator, arranger or player in the Caribbean or any place in the world, is awesome. The fact that you have availed yourselves to such an undertaking is impressive and we at When Steel Talks applaud your commitment and efforts.

Here, the steelpan music community has an opportunity to take the steelpan music experience and culture to a new plateau, globally speaking. The opportunity is there to bring fresh perspectives to new and existing challenges.


Panorama Fiasco on a Global Stage Caught on my Blackberry

The flip side of the attention to all the great pan availability on the internet and mobi devices, is that when something stinks, it is a global stinker and moreover, it is instantaneous. Is there anyone who has not heard or seen what went down at the finals of the large band panorama, in relation to the removal of able pan men, women and youth - from the Trinidad and Tobago flagship steel orchestras/organizations - at this competition??!! Even if we didn’t want to know, we at WST are getting an earful!!

To all the pan folks who were - just before they took the stage, and in one case, on stage - so unbelievably dismissed and robbed of performing in this year’s panorama, we feel you and share your agony, anger and aggravation. If all eight of these, the greatest steelbands on the planet gathered in final competition, had said “size is not an issue” among themselves (and is in fact rumored to have been the case) - pray tell: just who made it an issue - live and in vivid color on my Blackberry screen, and that of countless others - as well as for those listening in to the radio stations online? Clearly, no one thought of how this was playing out on the international stage...

Ah - Panorama is no longer a ‘local event’, it is now “unleashed” on the internet. Trinidad and Tobago are you listening? Mr. Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago are you listening?

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Errr... Um..... Warren:

"To all the pan folks who were - just before they took the stage, and in one case, on stage - so unbelievably dismissed and robbed of performing in this year’s panorama, we feel you and share your agony, anger and aggravation."

WSt did not 'encourage breaking the rules.' People like you take liberties, paraphrase, and can get innocent people sent to jail.

It is clear that they are identifying with the players themselves who were playing - and the players did not force themselves on the stage. They did not 'steal' uniforms, grab pans, roll basses, etc. and appear on stage. That responsibility lies with management.

Watch yourself.

And I agree with the Prime minister being held ultimately accountable. This was the biggest night, annually, to show off the so-called 'national instrument.' His Nation, His National Instrument, His Responsibility, as to how it appears on the world stage. Especially now that it is broadcast live on the internet. Any fiasco is his responsibilty.

You don't think so? Listen to this.

Antigua's Prime minister, Spencer, cannot stand "sir" allen stanford, the corrupt billionaire. Spencer is on record, repeatedly, in the press, having called stanford -arrogant, obnoxious - etc, etc. - generally - bad news for Antigua. Now the FBI, I think, took him down. And the knighthood of 'sir' allen was conferred by the governor general James Carlisle - appointed by the former government of Vere Bird - not Spencer's government.

It was not Spencer's government that turned allen stanford into an "Antiguan God," or gave him antiguan citzenship. That was done by the corrupt 'bird dynasty' who ruled antigua for forty-nine years, and made a good ole citizen of stanford, give him millions in tax breaks, and sold him half of antigua, and its people. The Bird government made stanford a citizen twenty years ago. Baldwin Spencer took over in Antigua about five years ago, ousting the corrupt 'birdies.'

But Now, it is Spencer's people in a panic, and in FULL DAMAGE CONTROL mode, having to run round Washington DC, pandering and trying to reassure Washington politicos, that they are taking care of business, and they do not support 'stanford the stinker's' way of doing business. Accountability, Responsibility, the buck stops at the prime minister's doorstep. Fullstop.

The way PanTrinbago does business:
- making rules, holding meetings,
- giving the same full voting power to bands that don't carry the same weight and respect as veteran and/or large bands - (i.e. - small and medium bands, who only came into 'being' in 2004 when - yes - Pan Trinbago again - instituted this 'rule' of categories)
- thereby enabling majority votes according to "quantity", not a 'weighted' system
- enforcing legislation that not necessarily all parties agreed to;
- but most of all, generally making decisions that have continuously eroded the legacy and grandeur of the panorama, and general art form.

All of this, and the bacchanal that accompanies it, and ramifications is a national issue, and an international embarassment.

And Sarah-Ann: Pan Trinbago is funded by the government, of which the prime minister, Patrick Manning, is the head.

So I echo in part wst's words: Prime Minister Patrick Manning - are you listening!
Wow! MakeitPlain (MIP), thanks for the Antiguan lesson. What I attributed to WST was when they asked the question: if all 8 bands agreed to disregard the rule, "just who made it an issue?" DISREGARD THE RULE, is what caught my immediate attention. So please don't paraphrase for me. You're preaching to the choir re Pantrinbago (PT). I have absolutely no disagreement with you, PanWoman or any of the other folks in the forum who have highlighted their shortcomings. My big issue is the "gimme gimme" culture that continues to persist in T&T. And when you match that with PT's arrogance, iron-fisted & good ole boys management style, along with the complete and utter disregard for PAYING CUSTOMERS, then we're heading down a road of sameness and perpetual amateurism. Listen, it's clear that all of us in this forum are pan lovers. My point was that despite PT's shortcomings, there is a rule that says x number of players for small, medium & large bands. Some chose to DISREGARD THE RULE on Final Night. Why didn't the pan fraternity say (i) let's change this rule - they had 364 days to agree to this; (ii) if the rule isn't changed, then ALL - not some - of us will protest on Final Night in the strongest way possible. What would have happened? PT would either have punished ALL the bands or acquiesced to the demands of the very same people who make up their membership.

And no.....this is not the PM's responsibility. That's emotion talking. No one has mentioned the Minister of Culture in the mix.....and please don't come back and tell me that the PM is her boss. This is her biggest project for the year - dis is she wuk!!! - yet the NCC Board is installed 4 months prior to Carnival! Did you have the "pleasure" of being in the Northern Greens...sorry...the Northern Browns - because the place was a sea of mud after 50% of the floor coverings were removed. Limited bathrooms: very limited food concessions; inadequate seating, etc., etc. Of course I share the "agony, anger and aggravation" of the players, but who @ NCC, Pantrinbago & the Ministry of Culture is sharing mine as a PAYING patron? That has certainly added to the (inter)national embarrassment. PanWoman, the US President does not get involved in baseball or any of the other professional sports. He may give an opinion if asked, but he doesn't get involved in policy. Again, let's not get emotional. Let people do dey wuk! The PM's only involvement should be removing those under his charge who fail to perform and I don't know about you, but I don't feel we should sully the WST forum by talking about all of the plain-as-day failures of the government!

Enjoying the lively banter!
What happened on stage Panorama night was both embarrassing and avoidable. The rules governing the size of bands were clearly stated and publicized long before final night. Bands who blatantly disregarded the rules deserve what happened. Clearly it is a shame and disgrace that the players who were removed from the stage bore the emotional burden of managements willful disregarding of the rules. Sadly, the removal of players was the proper thing to do. All pan people know that for years bands with "extra" players had to make painful cuts, but did so before going to the Savannah.

Bottom line: the judges decisions are final, and the rules are the rules, so bands have to take responsibility for the consequences of willfully breaking rules. If before Panorama 2010 the bands vote to eliminate the cap on size of bands, so be it. But let them do so in advance so that such a debacle does not happen in public again.

The fact that we are even having this discussion is the most embarrasing thing of all. As long as we apologize for and continue to tolerate slackness, such nonsense will continue,
Hats off to Pan Trinbago for at least once having the balls to stand by a decision...I know plenty people vex with them but if yuh doh like rules, next time yuh reach a red light and a full line of traffic gunning at 50 on the green ...go through hard...real hard...of course you can break any rule even in pan, but as Pan Trinbago has shown when you break a rule, you do so at your own peril. As someone suggested earlier maybe they should have allowed the offending bands to play then penalize them by disqualification or point deduction, but that is water under the bridge now...one last thing for all who feel size matters in music, I yuh really love yuh band, just consider the savings financially with a smaller band before you go on arguing romantically for 120 plus players on stage....but of course none of you in favour of the 120 have to find the $3,000.00 plus TT per instrument....talk cheap...

Wake up and smell the coffee. The medium and small band categories were moved out of prime time to lowly Wednesday night. What do you think they have in store you guys? Please. The best you can hope for is that they eliminate one of the categories and allow the medium and small to merge and produce bigger bands. You're so busy being transfixed on the flagship organizations you don't even see the tractor trailer that is about to role over you. Man, take a moment to think. Step back and think what is wrong with this picture?
The thing you and all others like you have to realise is that you can't just kill off a steelband so the categories will remain regardless of what you think or wish should happen...there have always and will always be small and medium entities in business, the clergy, music ...you name it...we too have our role to play in the scheme of things...and you know what else?...it makes much more economic sense field a small band given the rising costs of pans, steel etc...a lowly Wednesday night (according to you) is nothing to be ashamed about...I know you probably didn't ,but you should have listened to the quality music offered at the small and medium final I know the quality because we won it three years in a row...
Merrytonestothebone. I for one appreciated the musical offerings that both the small and medium band categories had to offer.
Excellent quality and Pantrinbago and the rest of the people will not get Television coverage for these bands and the deserve it. Small bans and single pans do not even get a CD of their catergory made by that organisation.
I would love Merrytones to gear up, and come back as a large band as in the eighties and (early nineties, I think?)!! Miss you guys!
Panorama may be performed in Trinidad by players from Trinidad and Tobago - but it is now viewed by anyone worldwide who has the means to see it.....therefore the organizers have to be aware that they are also on stage and their actions will be judged and commented on globally. When you have players that take pride in their skills and practice long and hard for any performance or competition - to be told minutes before you perform that you cannot play is bound to break your spirits, I do not know of any competition sports or otherwise that does this unless there is a disqualification and in this case there was not. My heart goes out to those players who were not allowed to play, this was unfair. Hopefully next year Pantrinbago will think long and hard on how to deal with this issue of band size limits - so that everyone who wants to and has the skills to play can play.
All the bands knew and agreed to the rules beforehand, so whats the problem?
Rules are rules - live by them if you want to play on the big stage - there is a maximum number of pan players who are permitted to play in each band at Panorama finals - it is a matter of comparing apples to apples - if a pan group wanted to put out 200 pan men vs the allowed 100 - would that be fair to the others who followed the rules - the concept is to see what kind of music the same numbers playing the same instruments can make - live with it - those are the rules my friend! Oh and by the way, I was there on stage at Panorama finals - for all 8 bands - the judges got it 100% correct. What is the bigger travesty was keeping thousands of spectators waiting while the judges enforced the rules of the competition. My hat off to Pantrinbago for having the guts to enforce the rules!


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