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We have neglected our expats, not realizing that they are our link to the global market in real time.

We have neglected our expats, not realizing that they are our link to the global market in real time.


By Aquil Arrindell


When I become president of Pan Trinbago, I would definitely have to set up a forum where our diaspora could influence the decision making process towards realizing the objective of creating a PT with an international appeal. I have spent hours on WST gathering information from the expats. I have realized that expats are yearning for the locals to take command of our creation and stop the exploitation of our national instrument by others.


The expats’ frustration is real, and it is not only because we, locals are not getting it right. They have been reaching out to us for years and we have ignored them. They share information that we think is not important, while they are the ones who are witnessing, first hand, the advances into our territory without compensation to the creators of the invention. May pan pioneer expat, Ellie Mannette, rest in peace. But why the utter disregard to men and women whose only interest is to see the forward and upward progress by our national instrument internationally? One of the answers to this is that it dents our egos as practitioners. In most cases, and rightfully so, most suggestions come from people who are not directly involved in managing a band and don’t have a clue of what it takes to keep it together. Not only that they lack experience, they are not willing to sacrifice their time for community service, which is what most bandleaders do through their bands. As a consequence, the locals think expats are a bunch of old men just bumping their gums.


On the other hand, when articulating their views, expats also come across as though they think the locals are corrupted, backward and stupid. Judging from the way pan Trinbago has been run presently and in the past, they may be justified in thinking so. However, if even expats think that way, it would definitely be counterproductive to communicate as if this were so, because that invisible wall automatically goes up and the message would never reach its intended destination. However, all these things can be managed within a global forum where ideas can be shared, debated, put in an action plan and executed.   


Our attitude towards each other is unfortunate. Because, as I said, the expats are a good source of real time information which can be used to tap into international market wants and needs. We can work together, use our resources and create an international platform where the possibilities are limitless. I know we have to get our band-leaders in Trinidad and Tobago to love and respect and each other; work together; pull each other up and build and brighter Pan Trinbago. However, we are at a point where we cannot wait for that to happen before involving our brothers and sisters who carry our nation’s flag on the outside.


Let me say thanks to our expats. I will be expecting your votes in our new one-man one-vote system that was recently adopted by our members in last year’s 2023 special convention. Voting for expats will commence on the WST special voting link on the 12th of October 2024. Please be advised that all votes after 12pm will not be counted and remember that I am the only candidate who can properly represent your needs. Help me make our organization one that we can all be proud of. Where we are all a part of the solution and not the problem. Vote for me, The man of of steel. The only servant leader of the 21stcentury who understands and respects the membership as the highest authority. Vote a president would serve as the instrument of your bidding while simultaneously offering solutions such as the one presented above. Vote grit, energy, intelligence, passion, fairness and integrity. Vote Aquil Arrindell.


The last paragraph, is me, being a little comical but at the same time, asking for your support in 6 years. For now, I would just settle for an understudy roll.  


Aquil Arrindell

The future is now.

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Aquil: THE FUTURE IS NOW!!! Me and Cecil and Earl Richards and Glenroy cannot sit around and wait for 2023!!! We need you to run RIGHT NOW and get ah HIGH MAN POST in PAN TRINBAGO so that we could begin the GLOBAL MARKETING right after PANORAMA & CARNIVAL DONE on March 7th, 2019.

Expat or Local, is all Trinidadian who LOVE PAN (minus one) so we have to work together!!!


Damn right

As you said, we're on the same page, moving in the same direction. We should meet and discuss further, away from the nay-sayers. 

I must apologise for not meeting with you thus far. 

I have a lot on my plate but let us see if it can happen this weekend. I will call you. 


This meeting is long overdue, Aquil while functioning as education officer at PT I recall you were a caller on WACK radio and converse with Mr Johnson about getting together. Nothing happens before its TIME.

We met several times.

However, recently we have discoved more common ground which we think can be beneficial to the movement so another meeting is overdue.

Aquil: I know that PAN TRINBAGO has to take care of THINGS TRINIDAD first. But the STEEL PAN (how I hate that term STEEL PAN) is a GLOBAL PHENOMENON now. And PAN TRINBAGO has to have some consciousness of what is happening with PAN, globally. And who better to be linking up with to get a better understanding of this challenge than EXPATS who have taken the PAN to the far corners of the GLOBE -- and laboured long and hard in the field to gain acceptance for THE INSTRUMENT.

SALAH WILSON is a shining example of an EXPAT who has dedicated HIS LIFE to the WORLDWIDE ACCEPTANCE of PAN. Among thousands more from one continent to another. So I feel the need to reprint his representation (thought process) of the challenge facing the LOCAL BODY in understanding the need for the work that has to be done jointly: ... the rest of the world is not only embracing pan, they are making it a part of their normal lives, in schools and communities. Pan businesses are expanding in all areas of development including manufacture and marketing. It is developing at a rapid pace outside its place of origin. This should be a cause for concern, but who is paying attention [in  THE MECCA]?

In a new and progressive PAN TRINBAGO, voices like his (EXPAT VOICES) should be given meaningful consideration.

It should not be a WE and DEM TING. But a united effort to have the LAND THAT INVENTED PAN showing its FACE at all times in ALL THINGS PAN around THE GLOBE.


Claude you are preaching to the choir. 

You guys taught me a lot in a very short space of time. I am positive that the experiences of the expats is needed to mole a futuristic Pan Trinbago. And i must admit, Mr. SALAH WILSON last article inspired me to to write this one.

As an ex-pat , who is also a born Trini , I definitely do not think that local Trini pan people are  either , corrupt , backward or stupid.

But , like most of us in any type of group or organization , they are very complacent.

And therefore may need a rather aggressive wake-up call.

And having lived in a condominium community where things almost fell apart because we left our affairs up to "others" , I completely understand.

Having also been a member of steelbands I am reluctant to call anyone corrupt without knowledge or evidence .

in my experiences there have always been questions about funds in steelbands , but more because of careless accounting and the fact that there wasn't that much money in the first place , than from downright dishonesty..

But I do think that my perspective would have been entirely different had I stayed in Marabella , lived the rest of my life in Trini and was now a retiree from the Oil Refinery at Pointe-a-Pierre.

And so , as an ex-pat , I can view the affairs of the steelbands from a more worldly perspective  with the benefit of my experiences and observations , but with the sensibilities of one rooted in steelband culture.

Which is why I try to contribute my ideas , thoughts and suggestions to forums such as this , hoping they may challenge people like yourself , Aquil to see things from a different perspective , 

Best of luck in your endeavors,


I am amused that you have condensed " corrupt, backward or stupid" into complacency. A diplomatic touch, maybe?

You must be talking about me!

Another downside of the mentality of those "in charge" locally is that expats age, get fed up, frustrated and become more reluctant to contribute to the local discourse. 


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