Pan Trinbago President Beverley Ramsey-Moore said yesterday 2018 was particularly challenging for steelbands and pannists.
“Bands have been facing the challenge even more as they have not yet received their assistance, that is mainly because the NCC (National Carnival Commission) has not received its allocations from Government.
Therefore, Pan Trinbago as one of the special interest groups has not yet received its allocations. Usually, bands will receive that assistance around two months or so before the competition,” she said.
She said the Panorama preliminaries had already started on January 22, and the organisation had not yet been able to give bands that start-up funding because it had not yet received a drawdown on the allocation.
Ramsey-Moore said despite the financial challenge, the pan body was pleased that the bands are preparing to participate in the festival.
Ramsey-Moore, who is also the manager of one of the oldest steelbands in Tobago, 67-year-old Katzenjammers Steel Orchestra, said the band was also affected by the end of funding from the former oil company Petrotrin.
Up until 2018, Petrotrin provided full sponsorship Katzenjammers and several other bands. This funding stopped with the closure of Petrotrin.
She said given the band’s long-standing relationship with Petrotrin, it was only fair that representatives from the company should meet with band members, as they had promised to do, and have some sort of discussion.
Ramsey-Moore said even though the company could not provide full sponsorship, bands should not have been dropped so unceremoniously.
She said the bands would have provided mileage fostering goodwill with their sponsors but also to their communities.
She said the steelpan was the national instrument and a source of pride and she applauded all those bands who persevered under the difficult situations.
Ramsey-Moore said one of the things that must happen moving forward for Pan Trinbago was that it must not be competition driven but community driven.
She explained that when bands are competition driven, they will wait for one particular time of the year to excel when there should be programmes for them to perform for the entire year.
Ramsey-Moore said that was the focus of the new Pan Trinbago.
Its aim was to inspire and empower its members to become self-sustainable, create wealth and the organisation will be working with them to achieve this, she added.
She said when looking at the pan movement, there was a new dynamic with different categories of youth participating. The organisation must do more for them to carry pan to the world stage.
Ramsey-Moore said the board members pledged to take Pan Trinbago by its bootstraps and lift it out of the hole it now found itself and put it on the mountain top.
She said pan was a way of life and Pan Trinbago was a vital organisation in the governance of T&T.