No pan for Tobago Carnival
Posted: Wednesday, February 19, 2003
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THERE WILL be no pan in Tobago for Carnival unless urgent action is taken by the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) and PanTrinbago to resolve a rift over outstanding debts.
PanTrinbago has decided to carry out a threat it made to the THA since last August to blank Carnival in Tobago. The island will feel the effects as early as today — the steelband body announced yesterday that it has cancelled the Tobago Panorama Finals scheduled for this afternoon at Shaw Park.
Eleven bands were scheduled to compete in today's final but PanTrinbago's Tobago Region held an emergency general meeting yesterday morning and cancelled the event. The membership also decided that "there shall be no further steelband participation in Tobago's Carnival" unless two conditions are met.
Firstly, PanTrinbago is insisting that all outstanding payments for Carnival 2001 and 2002 be paid. It has also called for an agreement to be made on budgetary allocations for the pan fraternity for 2003. The pan body has given the THA until tomorrow to meet these two conditions.
PanTrinbago claimed that some $91,029 are outstanding for 2001 and 2002 and the annual allocations for this year have not yet been made.
THA Chief Secretary Orville London told Newsday yesterday that he was aware of the problem but did not have sufficient information to make a proper statement on the matter. London, who returned to Tobago yesterday afternoon from a two-day visit to Trinidad on official business, said he would do all that he could to have the matter resolved.
"I think that everything possible should be done. I will try to see what I can do personally in conjunction with the relevant THA officials and with PanTrinbago to have the matter resolved," he said.
He said even though the pan finals might be cancelled today, the THA would try to have it held at another time this season.
PanTrinbago issued a media statement last August, threatening to withdraw from Carnival because the THA owed it some $337,000 since February 2002. The THA denied that it was unwilling to pay the panmen and said London, Finance Minister Dr Anselm London and officers of the Tobago Carnival Development Committee met with PanTrinbago and other Carnival groups and requested a list of prizes and outstanding expenses, in order to complete payment, no later than February 23, 2002.
The THA's Division of Culture claimed the $337,000 was available to PanTrinbago since February 2002, but the steelband body was requesting an additional $84,522... The THA claimed PanTrinbago did not substantiate its claims for additional funding.
The bands scheduled to play at today's final included RBTT Redemption Sound Setters, which placed seventh in Sunday's National Panorama semi-finals at the Queen's Park Savannah.
Cancellation of the Tobago Panorama has left ten other bands that have been practicing for the last two months without major competition. They include Pan Fanatics, Our Boys, Martineau's Natural Mystic, West Side Symphony, Tobago Pan-Thers, Tobago Buccaneers, Hope Pan Groovers, Dem Boys, Carib Dixieland and TTEC New East Side Dimension.
Roger George/Skatie are 2003 Young Kings
IN THEIR third year at the Young Kings Competition, Miami based singers Roger George and Skatie (Carlos James), topped a field of 18 calypsonians to emerge joint champions of the National Action Carnival Committee's 2003 version of the show.
Held at Pier 1, George sang two powerful numbers "Name Of The Game" and the popular "These Are The Days". He mesmerised the audience with his vocal ability as he performed both selections.
The first number dealt with deceased icons in the artform including Kitchener, Merchant and Ras Shorty I, while the other song mirrored what is happening in the world today.
When contacted yesterday George told the Newsday: "I feel blessed.
"I didn't think about winning because I didn't want to get my hopes up high.
"I just wanted to do my best and the performance was just to get the message out and to win the hearts of the people of TNT". Skatie, who did "In Just Six Years" and "One Man and One Man Alone", said: "I feel nice.
It's really good to be in winner's row.
I am now looking forward to winning the National Calypso King title and the Political Monarch Finals category in San Fernando on Saturday."
Skatie's first number spelt out the ills of the last political administration (UNC) while the second song praised the likes of Nelson Mandela, Ghandi, Martin Luther King and the biblical Moses.
Other top places went to Brian London, Ataklan and CJ, third, fourth and fifth respectively.
The show itself was riddled with hiccups after starting 40 minutes late, including a heavy downpour, which came just before starting time.
The small audience then had to endure 45 minutes of formalities which included the presentations of replicas to past Young Kings Luta, Bally and David Rudder, whose sister Charmaine Samuel accepted on his behalf.
When the competition finally got going, there were a number of problems with the sound system.
As a result, Ataklan had the do his first number "What's Wrong" three times before the judges were able to hear the entire song.
This prompted the audience to do a slow hand clap and sing "What's Wrong?"
At 2.45 am, when the show was at an end, there were just a handful of spectators who remained.
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