Sunday 1st September 2019 was a most traumatic day in the history of Southern Marines Steel band Foundation of Marabella; one of the pioneer Steelbands in Trinidad and Tobago and winner of the first Panorama held at the Naparima Bowl in 1963.
Southern Marines is an unsponsored band that has represented its community with pride and passion and has always engaged in activities that would uplift and benefit the youths and keep its community name alive in the sphere of Steelpan.
Southern Marines has shown a determination to achieve a level of self-sufficiency coming out of the pervading consciousness of the 1970s social revolution. Though not as successful as we would like, we always engage in fund raisers to maintain our existence through various cultural and educational events and activities, and are quite proud of our achievements thus far. We are not a Panorama/Carnival outfit, but a community oriented Steel Orchestra that is registered with the governing body Pan Trinbago and makes every effort to be a part of the National festivities. With the retirement of Joan Yuille Williams as Minister of Culture, and the destruction of PETROTRIN, our survival and ability to attract meaningful funding for our developmental projects has become a bit more strenuous. But that has neither deterred nor dampened our enthusiasm, as we continue to pursue our vision of self-sufficiency and maintain our Steelpan Palais facilities (our Shrine). We pride ourselves at being one of the most socially active Steel bands in this so called land of the Steel Pan.
During the first week of July 2019, I submitted to the relevant authorities an application form for the usual permission to hold our fund raising Bingo on September 1st 2019. Within two days, I received a call requesting that I visit the Marabella police station to correct a slight error that was observed on the application form to which I obliged. A couple of days after, I received a call informing me that an accompanying letter was not received with the application form. This was addressed almost immediately. All issues regarding application were cleared up more than six weeks prior to September 1st 2019.
Never experiencing any difficulties before, we proceeded with our promotional and marketing strategies, and all other physical preparation toward a successful event. All systems were placed on full throttle, as we always make the best use of our facilities.
Friday 30th August 2019, at 3:38 pm, less than 48 hours before our event, I received a call from the Police administration building in Port of Spain, and was informed that our application was received late and, as such, permission to hold the bingo was denied.
I was informed that I could reapply for another date sometime down the road. At 5:53 PM, I received a call from the Marabella Police station informing me that they received a call from Port of Spain asking them to contact me to remind me that Southern Marines Steel Band Foundation had no permission to hold a Bingo on September 1st 2019.
What is ironic about this whole debacle is that accompanying your application must be a ticket with the information of your event. This suggests that your tickets should be already printed, which is an immediate expense. I am at my wit’s end to understand why at the eleventh hour, after all preparations were made, involving expenses for tickets, flyers, mobile announcements, work on venue preparations, rental of chairs, tables, Bingo cards, retention of the personnel to run the show, market and groceries in preparation to entertain our guests and accommodate our workforce at the event, only to end up victims of such an arbitrary decision.
I am left to wonder. Is there more in the mortar besides the pestle? Given the state of our country today, one would believe that our efforts should be encouraged. Are we victims of maliciousness? Is it the Southern Marines Steelband Foundation under attack? I`s it its leadership? Surrounded and bombarded with crime, violence and vulgarity, one of the very few sobering voices in our environment is being stifled and punished in a most brutal manner. As an unsponsored Steel band, to whom do we turn to recover our financial losses? What is the message in that action? Is it that we should shut down our Steelband and go into the popular business of vulgarity and crime that pervades our decaying communities?
Do we have the privilege as some foreigners do who come here and are allowed to open legitimate business fronts, while engaging in illegal casinos and whe whe on the said premises without disturbance? Was this position taken to embarrass and frustrate members of our organization? Are Steelbands being marginalized? Is there a plan to reduce the amount of bands in the land of its BIRTH? There are so many more questions than answers, and actions speak louder than words.
Are Steel bands still under attack, or only certain south bands? No so called large bands, especially north of the Caroni River, would have been subjected to this kind of embarrassment on such a simple matter. I believe it to be malicious given the timing of the communication. But life plays some strange games on people, especially those who like to dig pits for others, because no one escapes karma.
Although we made every effort to advertise the cancellation of our event, we just couldn't reach everyone. Bingo fans were very disappointed, for many of them had already booked their transportation in advance and planned that day to be at Southern Marines Pan Palais to have an exciting day of Bingo.
Most Bingo fans are seniors who find excitement, entertainment, joy and pleasure in this activity. And those who came to the venue expecting action, were very, very disappointed, and just like us, could not understand the reasoning behind the refusal of permission on the ground that our application was late.
We are asking our patrons to secure their tickets, as we reapply for another date under the same format. We look forward to their continuing support as we continue on the road towards youth development and self-sufficiency through the vehicle of the Steel Pan as the National instrument.
Michael L. Joseph President Southern Marines Steelband Foundation
Mr. Joseph: Yuh living in TRINIDAD and yuh doh know what is going on in your own land!!!
Let me explain it to you: IT IS CALLED THE BEVERLEY RAMSEY-MOORE EFFECT!!!
(Ah just put up a POSTING this morning announcing that THE WAR IS ON!!!)
Allyuh cannot bite the PNM HAND that feeds -- and not expect to get SLAP BACK.
Call BEVERLEY RAMSEY-MOORE -- she knows what is going on!!!
Such high-handed treatment is disgusting.
Ask the Mayor of San Fernando to help y'all.
Cecil: The MAJOR of SAN FERNANDO is a PNM!!!
Yuh doh understand what is going on or what -- read meh posts and dem, nah!!!
Ah have MEH PEN in the horse's mouth!!!
I'm speechless, and that is my attempt at a seditious statement. According to Rudder: They more than mad.