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Terry Joseph 
Raffique Shah 
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Selwyn Cudjoe 

Bigger Panorama $$ upsets some bands

February 03, 2001
By Terry Joseph

WHAT was designed as a boost for the pan fraternity—the raising of the value of the first prize at Panorama to some $320,000—may yet backfire, as some steelband captains and managers yesterday reacted with unpleasant surprise.

At a news conference held Thursday to launch this year’s contest, Pan Trinbago announced the addition of a mini-bus valued at $180,000 to the listed first prize of $140,000.

Puzzled bandleaders who yesterday called the Daily Express requested anonymity, saying the Pan Trinbago administration does not take kindly to executive members or member-band representatives airing their grievances to the media as a first option.

“But look at the example,” said one. “We had to discover this major change through the newspapers. As members of Pan Trinbago, we were given a booklet of rules for the conduct of the Panorama competition and the rules still say $140,000. We had additional meetings to clarify issues in the booklet and at no time did anyone talk about the additional mini-bus prize.

“Nobody ever complains about getting more of whatever they wish for,” said another. “Our concern is that whenever problems arise at payment time, we are always referred to the rules. If, as happened before, Pan Trinbago finds some difficulty in meeting all of its prize commitments, the rules will show that the winning band was only due for $140,000. You can’t quote newspaper reports as official evidence, as a protesting member of an organisation.

“While a truck would make sense, a mini-bus cannot even carry a full stage-side in one trip, so the point would be lost when a band, seeing its options, sell the mini-bus as soon as they get it, ” they said.

Among the complainers, common ground was also found on the issue of outstanding prize money accruing from events long gone, among them the World Steelband Music Festival and last Carnival’s one-off Champion of the 20th Century Champions competition.

Concern was also expressed over the effort Pan Trinbago is putting into the pan-kaiso contest which, some felt, exceeded executive enthusiasm for solving money problems.

“There are more hungry mouths to feed in pan than in calypso,” they said, “yet we are providing a car and big money to calypsonians during the only season our membership really has a fighting chance at earning additional income.

“Tuco (Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisaton) doesn’t have to find money to give their members passage home after work, or cook for the players in the band. In fact, Tuco members are getting paid already, so we should not be enhancing their income, when our members are still playing for small money, particularly in the rural areas,” they said.

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