If you see Pan Buzz’s face long like a long mango, it has to do with the pan turbulence now engulfing the parent body of pan, Pan Trinbago. There have been two resignations of key members of the Central executive—trustee Keith Simpson and Beverley Ramsey-Moore. While some may want to dismiss this as a blip on Pan Trinbago’s radar and continue with business as usual, I think it is a serious body-blow to the organisation. Over the years, Pan Trinbago has been fighting to shore up its credibility and put its financial house in order, but this development is a major setback as the pan body flies into a controversial headwind. The wide publicity of the resignations can only fuel beliefs among panmen on the ground and the wider community that all is not well. Pan Buzz, too, has been hearing discordant notes, also noted by Simpson and Ramsey-Moore in their resignations, about a division in the executive, allegations of unilateral decisions and expenditures, and a dictatorial style of leadership.
Add to that claims of a lack of reporting and accountability and transparency issues not being addressed. Pan Buzz, a known defender of the pan, is concerned that the pulling and tugging cannot do the organisation any good, as it strives to present a progressive image. Pan Trinbago has survived a stormy period with the former Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism, Winston “Gypsy” Peters, who lashed the organisation in a running battle on transparency, accountability and dependency. Both the Minister and Pan Trinbago rioted in a messy verbal display until the Prime Minister intervened. With elections due in October, it will be interesting to see what happens, and if this current turbulence will affect the outcome. Meanwhile, an emergency meeting is carded for Sunday at 10 am at Scherzando panyard, Curepe, where Pan Trinbago’s president Keith Diaz will address the membership on allegations made about the running of the organisation and other issues affecting Pan Trinbago.
Pan on a higher note
I have already told you that if you haven’t caught the performance of the National Steel Symphony Orchestra (NSSO), part of your life is missing, as this orchestra is taking pan to higher heights. This band is playing music sweeter than Caroni brown sugar, and will soon be in action at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), as part of the nation’s 50th anniversary Independence celebrations. The Pan on a Higher Note concert features the NSSO playing classics, jazz and calypso. Pan Buzz is hoping northerners do better than southerners in their attendance of the bmobile-sponsored St Margaret’s Boys steelband jam this Saturday at the Grand Stand Concourse, Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain. As man I am feeling to drop some heavy bullpistles on south people’s backs, for their poor showing at the Skiffle Bunch Pan Theatre Coffee Street, San Fernando, last Saturday. We need to support the youths as they display their musical skills. They cannot play to empty audiences, that is not encouraging. On Saturday, however, is pan in your pampalam with Renegades Youths, St Francois Girls’ Rising Sun of the Virgin Islands and host St Margaret’s Boys’. Action starts at 2 pm.
Pan stalwarts leaving us
Pan Buzz has been hit a series of deadly blows in recent weeks, as several pan stalwarts have left us in quick succession. Junior Pouchet, Paul Campbell, Eddie Yearwood, Orville Wright and now Francis “Peacock”Wickham. On the distaff side, Ellie Robertson of Girl Pat Steel fame, who died in New York recently. Staying with Ellie, together with a group of middle-class women, under the astute tutelage of Hazel Henly, did for female pannists what the Curtis Pierre-led Dixieland did for panmen, they broke down the barriers of prejudice and liberated panwomen. Their contribution has not yet been acknowledged. But Pan Buzz hopes it will be. Francis Wickham has his name etched in the Engine Room Hall of Fame. He was a mean ironman of the Invaders Steel Orchestra, in such company as the great Corey Iron of South, and Randolph “Braddy” Bradshaw of the Desperadoes. In the heady days of the steelband, Wickham was a fearless rioter and defender of the Invaders.
Pan Buzz sends condolences to families, relatives and friends of these two distinguished pan people.