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Tobago steelbands cause $$ woes
Posted By: News
Date: Saturday, 14 February 2004, at 10:14 a.m.
By Terry Joseph
The inclusion of steelbands from Tobago at the semi-final and final stages of the Panorama competition is causing Pan Trinbago serious money problems, a situation exacerbated by court decisions over which it has no control.
Hosting three such bands last weekend at the semi-final, which required rental of 255 hotel rooms (plus meals and incidentals) cost Pan Trinbago some $400,000; much of which it didn't plan to spend and in fact, does not have.
And it is about to become even more expensive, with bookings for Junior Panorama bands already secured (even though Sunday's contest still hung in the balance at the time of this interview) and a number of single-pan bands coming for tomorrow's semi-final and the more successful among them possibly staying here until Wednesday's final round.
Pan Trinbago president Patrick Arnold, himself a Tobagonian and manager of a steelband on the sister island (Our Boys), told the Express the problem is peculiar to his organisation, since masquerade bands do not come to Trinidad for competitions and in the case of calypso, it never amounts to more than a handful of individuals.
"While all of Carnival's Special Interest Groups (SIGS) carry a "Trinbago" or "national" title, only the steelband component has this particular area of expense and we are given no special facility in approved budgets, as one can only speculate on how many bands from Tobago might qualify at any stage of Panorama.
"As it turned out, we had two bands coming for the semi-final of the conventional orchestras-a large and a medium-until the courts ruled that a third, another large band, should be included. In such a case, we could not secure the best prices for hotel accommodation, as it all had to be done based on results of the preliminary round which finished only days before and the court ruling which came pretty close to the date of the event.
"With the Junior Panorama competition canceling its preliminary round, which would have been judged in the panyards, all such bands existing in Tobago are now coming to Trinidad for Sunday's one-off competition at the Queen's Park Savannah, which means not only the players but chaperones and other expenses peculiar to the management of youth events are also added to the expense column."
Courtesy the Trinidad Express
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