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Prime minister, ministers, mayors and councillors, take notice and take action. Pan camps need help. Part 1

Prime minister, ministers, mayors and councillors, take notice and take action. Pan camps need help. Part 1


By Aquil Arrindell


As a part of San City’s ongoing quest to positively impact lives through music, despite being unable to raise sufficient funds, our annual pan camp goes on. We ask that public, private, and corporate Trinidad reach out and support because it is programs like these that keep our children away from crime.


Two weeks of camp have passed and I’d like to share a few notable moments because during my study of music therapy at UWI, the lecturer always said, “catch them when they do good and not only when they do bad”.


The first thing that needs to be mentioned is that I no longer run the camp. The campers who started as teenagers are now young adults with the ability to teach music and manage children. They learned those skills at the prior pan camps and they are now learning the administration side of the camp. Preparing letters, communicating with potential sponsors, communicating with service providers, setting up the graduation etc. With their skills, knowledge and dedication towards community service, their involvement allows me the time to simultaneously host a pan camp in Moruga which impacts on an additional thirty of our nation’s youths.


Secondly, one of my stage-side players who had left because of her passion for dance, found herself at the camp this year giving back as our dance tutor. When band leaders lose good players to anything, it matters, because most bandleaders invest time into people to make them players to support their band. So naturally, when her father told me she was really into dance, in my mind I was somewhat disappointed. However, despite how I felt, I told her father if that was her calling, encourage her because I understand that music is part of a collective, dance, drama, visual art, film etc., hence the reason San City tries to keep these elements in our camp curriculum every year. However, because of the lack of funding which creates an inability to pay tutors, those aspects are endangered. So, thank you Lexine Lambert for stepping up.


Thirdly, one of our young tutors, a year or two ago, passed nine subjects and as a result, she enrolled into UWI. She is also the band’s youth captain. She comes from a working class home, and about three weeks ago, her family decided to buy a new car for her, mainly for the purpose of travelling to and from school. As I was driving off from pan camp one evening, I noticed in my review mirror that she was overloading. So I shouted out of my window in Trini dialect, “you carrying all ah dem?”  She said to me, “well, they come and all have to reach home”. I drove off, overloaded myself, but thinking that I needed to speak to her about that.  Overloading is something most band leaders do often after practice because we try to get everyone home safely and because of the distance, it is unreasonable to come back and sometimes you just cannot leave youths behind unsupervised until then. As a result, this usually leads to having suspension problems before time and in the worst case, we bandleaders would get a ticket for overloading. I am one who is guilty of that, so as I analysed the situation more, I realized she learnt that style of leadership from me. Her response was exactly what mine would have been so in that case, what can I tell her? Thank you Kenlica Boswell, it is youths like you who inspire me to keep fighting for the betterment of steel pan people as your actions are truly selfless.  


Lastly, last year’s pan camp did not ……………

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Yuh mean we people stuck in gimme gimme?!


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