Dec 16, 2010

Pan Fraternity Mad as hell it Culture Minister Winston "Gypsy" Peters!


Can you envisage Carnival without Panorama? Yuh mad or what? Well this is exactly what Pan Men are considering after reviewing stinging statements made by Culture Minister Winston "Gypsy" Peters. Is it on or is it off and will the Minister apologize to the Pan fraternity? The Minister is talking tough and at the same time pointing fingers at Pan Trinbago as it relates to its management of the Panorama festival and cash flow issues. 

The pan men are upset! The minister is upset and when the public becomes upset then the entire show will turn 'ole mas'. What will carnival be without Panorama? The greatest show on Earth for Pan takes place every year in Trinidad. The talent and creativity is beyond words. Hours spent at nights rehearsing and running drills to get the song right for competition for the right to be called the best in the land may not happen in 2011 if the pan men and Minister can't come to an agreement. The Minister has the funds to make the competition work. The Pan men want the funding but the Minister wants the Pan Trinbago to become autonomous. This is good but someone who can plan and forge ahead in a different direction needs to step up to the plate to make this happen. This statement by the Minister seems to have caught the Pan Fraternity off guard. They expected nothing but cooperation from someone who they believed understood the plight of the pan man and someone who comes from a group that creates the music for the pan. Is the Minister wrong to want Pan Trinbago to become less dependent on Government funding?

The answer is no, he is not wrong but to do it 'cold turkey' will not work even in poor financial times (even if the government is stressed for funds). Minister Gypsy is spending money to rebuild stands (temporary?) in the Savannah for the Parade of the bands and calypso finals but is brandishing his sword with the Pan Fraternity. This strategy, at this time, will back fire on the minister since the Pan Competition is the heart and soul of the Pan Fraternity. People come from all over the world to see and to be a part of this competition. Players come to Trinidad to participate, to learn and to take back to their countries the experiences of the Panorama festival. Panorama is not killing the pan movement... It is the mismanagement by the people in charge that has created the problem that the pan movement faces today. Accountability is essential and no one seems to be able to account for the monies that the government has poured into this organization year after year. "Whey de money gorne", has been and will continue to whispered but not spoken in public. 

Change is good but not all change is good. There needs to be some form of compromise and proper organization that involves the Pan Fraternity, the Government (Culture Ministry) and the Private Sector. Carnival fuels the economy and the Pan Movement is part of this engine that drives the carnival festival. Pan men should benefit but not only from government funding. The competitions are always packed... What happens to the monies collected at these events? The Government allocates prize money and yet still we have money issues. The minister has reason to be concerned and so too should the management of Pan Trinbago. 

Pan Trinbago needs a new business model to progress. How should this be done? Well all interests concerned should come together and brainstorm for the betterment of steel pan. Maybe the government should have a say in the daily operations of Pan Trinbago, maybe a private entity should be employed to come up with a sustainable business model for the steel pan. Pan Trinbago, thus far, has not been able to create this business model. Help is needed before the Minister cuts funding and carnival will not hear the beat of an iron or the tuning of a pan or notes of music when night falls. This may just end up in the hands of the Prime Minister!

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