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Pan Splash brings ‘Boogsie’ to tears: ‘Nobody cares about steelpan’

Friday, February 14, 2014
Workers set up bleacher facilities at the Queen’s park Savanna, Port-of-Spain, yesterday, in preparation for this weekend’s PanTrinbago National Panorama Semi-finals. However, a plan to use a pool (inset) as part of the attraction in the The Greens which has incensed panmen. PHOTOS: KRISTIAN DE SILVA

Panmen yesterday knocked PanTrinbago’s decision to allow Pan Splash at Sunday’s National Panorama semi-finals at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, saying it was disrespectful to the movement and the culture. Leading the charge was arranger of defending conventional large band champions Phase II Pan Groove Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, who admitted he was brought to tears when he learned of the initiative which would see a pool being added to the attractions at The Greens. Giving the idea a thumbs down, Sharpe said: “What is Pan Trinbago doing to the national instrument of T&T? “They can’t be pan people? Can you imagine this? A national competition is going on and you want to have a pool party at the same time? Nobody cares about the national instrument. This pool idea is total disrespect. There is no where in the world, in any competition, that will go on.” He added that he was not supportive of the idea of The Greens, an initiative started by Pan Trinbago to bring extra income when it was implemented. “In the first place, there should be no Greens in Panorama. Why can’t Pan Trinbago do this as a separate event, at another time of the year,” he said “Instead, create something positive in pan to interest and attract more young people. There are several young people who are qualified in business who can run pan affairs better than those in power right now.”


He added: “This thing hurts me more than words can express. People might think I have some kind of personal vendetta against Pan Trinbago but this is not so. My only interest is the growth and development of pan, at home and worldwide.” In its continued quest to attract young people to the Panorama competition, Pan Trinbago introduced Pan Splash. It will feature a 70-foot pool, outfitted with lifeguards and tight security, alongside the party tents feature which was initially the main draw to The Greens. Speaking about the initiative earlier this week, Pan Trinbago vice-president Bryon Serrette said: “Pan Splash is a new experiment Pan Trinbago is trying this year. “The pool is an experiment to see how aqua activity can be introduced in the day as a new attraction to the event. The Greens is something that Pan Trinbago has developed and has the potential for so much more. “This year we are responsible for all the infrastructure at The Greens and there is some infrastructure that we would like to use beyond using the venue for just one day for Panorama. We have a lot of ideas of how we can use that space up to the weekend after Carnival.” 


The fee to access The Greens will now be $700 the T&T Guardian understands. Pan Splash is owned by Aqua Fun Park and is sponsored by the Blue Waters group of companies and Jus Juice.
 Veteran musician/pan arranger Ray Holman also expressed his disgust at the move. He said: “I love water, but ... On one hand, there is an element of disrespect as far as the national instrument is concerned to have these kind of attractions at the same time as Panorama is in progress. “Here we have thousands of musicians performing before a large audience in a serious competition. 
“These things are a distraction to the main show. We are trying to put on a serious pan event, perhaps the most important competition for pan in the year, while at the same time, in the same space, you create a separate event which does not include pan.” Admitting it seemed to be a big revenue earner, however, Holman said: “So if they feel it is necessary that the money made from the Greens is beneficial to pan, they should take the money made and buy radio time to expose pan music. “People are putting out music every year for the steelband but that music is not played on the radio.”


Another veteran musician Pelham Goddard, arranger of former national champion Republic Bank Exodus, said: “Pan is Carnival. We need pan back in the thing. “Pan Trinbago trying all kind of things to get money but they are not marketing the event properly. They should look at how Soca Monarch is promoted and marketed. “So far I have seen nothing promoted or marketed by them for Panorama. If you want to know anything about Panorama you have no option but to go to the When Steel Talks Web site.” He added: “This pool thing is a distraction from Panorama. Panorama should be Panorama alone in the Savannah. If it is women in bikini by the pool then I should forget about the Panorama and go and sit by the poolside.” Manager of 2013 National Panorama first-runner-up Neal & Massy Trinidad All Stars, Beresford “Berry” Hunte, did not seem to have a problem with the decision but said the money gained from the event needed to go back to the steelbands. He added: “If that is one of the ways of getting income and making a profit by Pan Trinbago, so be it. “But the money is not filtering back to the bands. Once it is not interfering with the competition, no problem. The profits have to come back to the steelbands.” Management committee member of bpTT Renegades, Peter Lochin, added: “We have been assured that activity on The Greens will not affect the steelbands while playing on stage. We (Renegades) had a problem with noise from The Greens three years ago but then it was just next to the North Stand. We’ll just have to wait and see.”


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