NCC, Pan Trinbago MOA signals a bright future for pan
Pan Trinbago president Keith Diaz is today assuring members of the steelband fraternity he was not complicit in his action when he took the decision to sign a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the governing steelband body and National Carnival Commission (NCC).
Speaking on his weekly Steelband Times radio programme on i95.5FM, Diaz moved to calm concerns among the membership on the issue.
Understanding the concerns of his members who believe the MOA would strip Pan Trinbago of its independence, Diaz, who has intimate knowledge of the document and its contents, declared that was the furthest thing from the truth.
“I am saying to the nation that I signed it. I am proud of signing it, because this is what we need to do. And, …is a document to not only deal with Panorama. This is not a Panorama document. People getting mix up. …Is a document dealing with any other project that the steelband movement is to negotiate with the NCC going forward. The country is now taking a different turn. The government says they are going to fund different things, not only Panorama…any organised cultural event. They will look at it and if they feel they could fund it, they will fund it. That wasn’t being done before,” he said.
Diaz added, “So if now we have a document that is signed…that you could approach with a budget and get funding for it, what is wrong with that? Most of the institutions, football, all the regional Corporations have to comply and answer especially with regards to accountability. It doesn’t have any favour for the pan movement. At the end of the day, we have to be very prudent in how we approach things as an organisation.”
Accompanied my members of his executive, he said, Pan Trinbago met with the NCC represented by its chairman Winston Peters and interim chief executive officer Colin Lucas. Diaz related that during the discussions both the NCC chairman and CEO asked if anyone on the Pan Trinbago team had any problem or objects with the MOA and there were no objections.
But days later a post on social media claimed that his decision to affix his signature to the document, meant he had sold-out the organisation.
“Sell-out what!? He asked.
Diaz turned his attention to Pan Trinbago’s after Carnival Champz of Steel Plus production which was not staged in 2017 due to funding issues.
“We didn’t have no money. I couldn’t go ahead with the show. We doh see those artistes when Carnival finish. After Carnival, they gone and the only opportunity they have is when you have Champz. The NCC gave up $200,000 (in 2018). But after the show, we had to submit to them exactly what was spent.
“This is what they (are) talking about. We just can’t go on as usual. I am saying to the nation: I signed, and I am proud to sign. I didn’t do anything wrong. I ain’t sell-out to nobody and what is important is that the NCC will negotiate with the steelband movement and other interest groups as they see it fit to fund any project that the steelband movement wants,” he said.
Diaz continued, “NCC has an Act (of Parliament). Pan Trinbago has an Act (of Parliament). In the next couple of years, when you look back, you would see the virtue of the said document that government is looking to help the culture of Trinidad and Tobago. That is what they going to do – help culture, not sell it out, but help it out.”