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Raw deal for pannists *LINK*
Posted By: yan
Date: Monday, 31 January 2005, at 12:26 p.m.
Raw deal for pannists
Friday, January 28th 2005
When an unprecedented five Tobago steelbands made the qualifying marks for the 2005 National Panorama semi-finals, it meant that hotel rooms for 500 Tobago pannists had to be provided for their stay in Port of Spain. At present, the vast majority of pannists are young children, which means that it would be even more necessary for proper arrangements to be made to house the Tobago pannists.
While we understand the magnitude of the problem Pan Trinbago faced in seeking to deal with the situation, we believe that proper arrangements should have been put in place to ensure that every Tobago pannist would be well taken care of. Clearly, it is difficult for Pan Trinbago to budget for the exact amount of Tobago steelbands which will qualify for the National semi finals, but there needs to be a contingency plan for all possible eventualities.
It is quite obvious that Pan Trinbago officials would have had to approach the Ministry of Culture for assistance in housing the five Tobago steelbands. We are of the view that the Honourable Minister of Culture needed to respond by using the state resources to assist the Tobago pannists in their hour of need. At the same time, we cannot agree with the Pan Trinbago President that he did not expect five Tobago steelbands to qualify. Surely, Mr. Arnold who came through the ranks of the steelband movement will recognise that there is the levelling of the playing field where steelband music is concerned, in Tobago and Trinidad. Only last year, Katzenjammers, a Tobago steelband, defeated the leading Trinidad bands in the 'Pan In The 21st Century' competition, while RBTT Redemptions Sound Setters have made a name for themselves in the National Panorama competitions. And with Our Boys using Duvonne Stewart as their arranger for 2005, NLCB Buccooneers combining the talents of Dilbert Henry and Vernon Dennis and Carib Dixieland joining into the contest with ace arranger Eman Ector, it was quite possible that these Tobago bands could have made a positive impact in the Panorama contest.
As is well known, the shabby treatment of Tobagonians in Trinidad is an age-old problem, whether it is in sports, culture or in other areas, Tobagonian representatives in Trinidad have gotten a raw deal. At the same time, we must praise Mr. Patrick Arnold for attempting to improve the lot of the Tobago pannists when they travel to Trinidad. We recall the outcry, which was made when Mr. Arnold put up Tobago pannists in quality hotels sometime ago. He had to face the wrath from elements in the Trinidad steelband fraternity. We believe that the Tobago region of Pan Trinbago is not without blame in this whole scenario. Granted that the Tobago region Chairman Rennison Quashie was a candidate in the just concluded THA Election and could still be doing mopping-up operations, but what about the other officers of the Tobago region. Clearly, it is the Tobago region of Pan Trinbago, which should have taken the lead role in ensuring that proper arrangements were made for the Tobago pannists in Trinidad.
This idea of leaving it up to people in Trinidad to handle the affairs of Tobagonian is a psychological problem, which Tobagonians have to free themselves from.
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