Pan Trinbago Inc., one of the oldest grassroots organizations in Trinidad and Tobago, is now fighting for its survival in the space and the arena that it struggled long and hard to establish and maintain for over sixty years.
What is saddening, maddening and frightening, is the fact that some people who don’t have a clear history of the evolution of the Steelpan are recommending that it be taken away from us, and placed in the hand of big business, who they believe are more capable and more competent to manage the business of Pan. This has brought tears to the eyes of many who made great sacrifice.
The same Steelpan that society rejected and branded its early pioneers outcast, rogues and vagabonds, who stood up and faced all the prosecution and persecution to preserve it. I have never seen any business man that invested in a business venture to benefit his employees. And I have not seen any big business that was or is successful with out their dependency on government for concessions or bailouts.
The impasse between the Minister of Community Development Culture and the Arts and Pan Trinbago, has nothing to do with accountability on the part of the Steelpan organization. That is all red herrings in order to implement their bigger agenda. Those who pays the piper call the tune. And today, big payback is expected.
Pan Trinbago produces an audited financial statement annually to NCC, the Minister and the Permanent Secretary, unlike most other entities across this nation. Yet, today, this very new line Minister is saying to the nation, that she has to protect the public purse: from who, Pan Trinbago? What a shame! Pan Trinbago Inc is now the whipping horse for all the years of mismanagement, corruption and wastage of our national patrimony, taking place in sweet TnT, and must be reined in as an example for all to see how serious the government is, in dealing with corruption.
It is clear that higher education does not define ones character, but morals and principles do go a long way. What a shame. Now that Pan Trinbago is maximizing its efforts to benefit from the billion dollar industry that we have created across the globe, by meaningful investments that would rebound to the benefit of all its stakeholders, all the red herrings and stumbling blocks are being placed in its way forward.
All organizations have challenges. Did the goodly Minister see it fit to offer to the organization, a few million dollars for capacity building and institutional strengthening? No, but she is hell bent on making a contribution at destroying an institution that is much older than her, because of malicious gossips - thereby showing contempt and total disrespect. But I must say to the goodly minister that this battle between Mardi Gras and Canboulay began long before her existence, and that one ought to be more tactful in dealing with such sensitive matters.
Today, Carnival has developed into a financially viable industry, heavily influenced by Canboulay groups. Mardi Gras is hell bent on taking back control by any means necessary. This battle, if not managed sensibly, could go on long after this Minister demits office, and it would record her as a major contributor.
The Panists’ remittance will be paid, and debts incurred through events, not corruption, will be serviced as is the custom over the years. While it seems to be the intention to distract and bog us down in petty internal struggles that would keep us in a state of eternal servitude. We are asking the government to extend the same concessions to us that is extended to all foreign and local investors in this country. We have invested over sixty years and today when we are poised to trigger our industrial thrust, some are working hard to keep us in Panorama mode, but history would not be kind to them.
The struggle continues. Long live Pan Trinbago.
Michael L Joseph
Public Relations Officer.
Pan Trinbago Inc T.C.