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Pandemonium apace at Pan Trinbago

Monday, June 4, 2018

Can there be pan without the demonium? Are there ‘demons’ ruling pan – roaming among the pan world hence the bacchanal and confusion from its embryo stage to adulthood, today?

This culture of destructive drama cannot continue to be marketed as integral to this angelic instrument called pan – “allyuh ent see anything with pan is confusion and bacchanal?” many assert.

The word pandemonium originated in the 17th century and comes from the Greek words “pan” meaning all, and “daemōn,” demons.

Prior to my introduction to playing the pan in 1974, the era when my uncle – the late George “Sonny” Goddard – was president of the then-called National Association of T&T Steelbandsmen Association (Natts) and prior to his tenure, every meeting (on pan) was embroiled in cuss-outs and ended with chair-flinging and walk-outs.

Cigarette-puffing, drink-in-hand, hot-tempered, boisterous individuals, had pan in the palm of their hands – their role: to ‘develop’ the fraternity, the art form, sweeten culture and promote the instrument.
Sad though, while the instrument was developed and is being further… meeting acceptance, awakening pleasure and gaining appreciation, globally, personal and key aspects of professional development – respect; confidentiality; professionalism; proper planning, organisational, communication and customer service skills; integrity, trustworthiness; and healthy team spirit – are still in the wings waiting to make its debut centre stage.

While one could boast of having gained relevant knowledge or training, the harsh reality is, the measurement that determines if these talents are effectual is not by simply stating they are our core values, we attended a course or got certified, but solely by the calibre to which self, others, tasks and the business itself are managed or lead – how many people in and out of the fold are satisfied; have we created/do we create ill-will or alienation…how many have fallen away; have we placed the establishment into disrepute; am I honest; what is the world saying; where are we on the success grid – the lyrical question: am I an asset or a liability?

In 2009, a man named Keith Diaz was appointed as President of the governing body for pan, Pan Trinbago Inc. He is admirably noted for having introduced and implemented a series of initiatives that would see movements shift laterally and vertically with a view, that the vertical lever would constantly spiral upward.

Almost 20 years in office nonetheless, the lever seems to have become rusted and falling apart, prompting vociferous calls internationally, for him and his Pan Trinbago band to demit office.

The raging, incessant confusion transpiring with financial accountability, the battle with the Ministry of Culture, the fall-outs with the overarching carnival body, NCC; the lack of receptiveness, objectivity and open-mindedness to advice for betterment, frustrated pan players, internal wrangling – mass turmoil – position the world to sit-up and take note that the “governing body for pan” in the ‘mecca of pan’ hasn’t gotten it right.

It’s not only, that “Everyone Listens” When Steel Talks according to the website, but everyone reacts.

‘Everyone’ isn’t only those currently-involved in pan, but too, those who are for the first time, seeking an investment in the art form.

Is this truly the modus operandi to continue?

For the mecca to make a bold and impressive statement, not only has it become necessary, but mandatory, to engage in a recovery, restructure and rescue program, ensuring those operating its business are self-aware, effectively knowledgeable, adept and able to execute, exemplarily.

Salvaging what good remains and rescuing the fraternity from whatever demons are plaguing, are now incumbent upon six Government Ministries – Culture, Tourism, Community Development, Trade and Industry, and Education – to offer guidelines and standards towards impressive brand and reputation.

There’s Pandemonium apace at Pan Trinbago.

In the May 29 Guardian column, “Three Pan chairmen want Diaz out,” in part it states “The trio are also ‘demanding’ that fresh elections be held….”

It should be strongly noted, to move forward and upward, the spirit of ‘rogue’ must be eliminated from the world of pan. Our national instrument is not (emphasise not) ‘gunta culture’.

The nation is already buckling under the effects of rogue and bullying elements, it need not continue to allow this type of conduct.

The Bible states: “Jesus was crucified. He died for our sins.”

In one of his statements, Diaz says, “he feels as though the nation is trying to crucify him.”

While it is unclear whose sins this crucifixion is going to represent, putting the contentious areas aside, there is still a moral compass of sorts that guides the nation, and it will be remiss of the people to not thank Pan Trinbago’s potential predecessors for the contributions they have made as they make their transition, and wish them well.


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