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Despers desert The Hill...again
Arts and Multiculturalism Minister Winston “Gypsy” Peters is assuring pannists from Laventille-based Witco Desperadoes Steel Orchestra that Government will do more to facilitate a safer community for them. He did so after the officials of the legendary steelband packed up their pan racks and instruments last Friday and relocated to the Nipdec carpark on Cadiz Road, Belmont, because players and supporters feared for their safety.
Speaking to the T&T Guardian during a visit to Desperadoes with National Security Minister Senator Brigadier John Sandy, Peters said: “Evidently, we have to do some more because there is no such thing as overnight success. So we have to do some more, at least now. Look through the whole thing and see what needs to be done and continue to do it.” This is the second consecutive Carnival season that the ten-time National Panorama champions Desperadoes have been forced to relocate from their home base on Laventille Hill.
This time, however, they are moving out of Laventille in spite of a state funded campaign called the Pan Relay held last December. Conceptualised and sponsored by the Ministry of National Security and the National Carnival Commission (NCC), the Pan Relay was supposed to help foster a culture of security in the area. Peters said it was important for the government to show camaraderie with the whole pan fraternity. Anthony Mc Quilkin, assistant manager of Desperadoes said he and a few others fought for the band to stay on the hill and conduct Panorama preparations.
“The road players said that in no uncertain terms are they not coming up the road to play and supporters likewise, because of the crime situation. “There is a crime situation in the country, not just Laventille alone. But people are just scared to come up the hill and play and come up to listen to the band also.” Mc Quilkin said if the band had insisted on staying at its registered address, only its stage-side of 35 players would have been available for the Panorama competition. “Although we are the band who has won Panorama with the least number of players, I don’t know if that is a situation we would want to go in this year,” he said.
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