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Beverly Ramsey-Moore
Every cloud has a silver lining and out of evil cometh good. This in a nutshell describes how the steelband movement became organized in an effort to deter the rampant gang wars.
For this year’s Steelband month, a delegation of Steelband administrators and high profile panmen wended its way through narrow streets of East Dry River to the St. Paul Street Community Centre to celebrate the Anniversary of the laying of the Foundation Stone which commemorates the inaugural meeting of Steelbandsmen to form the first representative organization – The National Association of Trinidad and Tobago Steelbandsmen (NATTS), which was headed by Sydney Gollop and included such distinguished personalities as George Goddard, Oscar Pile, Baron Arietas and George Yeates. Politician Albert Gomes, Cleric, Canon Max Farquar and News Editor Sydney Espinet were Champions of the Cause of promoting the Steelband Movement as a Cultural and Social entity that had a place in the National Scheme of things. Social worker and Lawyer Lennox Pierre, was the facilitator of the whole process, he being actively involved with Invaders as a musical consultant. Probation Officer - George Moze was delegated by the higher authorities to oversee the development taking place and he ended up putting himself entirely into the project.
The darkest side of the steelband movement came to the fore during the formative years from the mid forties through the fifties into the sixties and as late as 1972 when the last recorded steelband clash saw Invaders running through its step daughter steelband Starlift in Woodbrook of all places .
The steelband was stigmatized by the behaviour of its robust practitioners and immortalized in song by the Mighty Sparrow in his iconic calypso "Outcast" .The most effective line being "If yuh sister talk to a steelpan man the family want to break she hand, put she out break up every teeth in she mouth pass yuh outcast".
The Steelband movement started out as a very  chauvinistic and macho entity where the African warrior tradition manifested itself in the Orisha spirit which was the genesis of the steelband movement. In the beginning women played a minor role and stayed contentedly in the background mothers always allowed their sons to use the yard for rehearsals, fed the boys and even hid them from the police in cupboards and under the beds when a raid was in progress .
The jamettes were women off loose morals and easy virtue, these were the girlfriends of the mainly of unemployed panmen who lived off the immoral earnings of their women wearing the latest saga boy apparel and obtaining pocket money for the purpose of gambling and cinema shows.
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