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From Michael Scobie, Public Relations Officer, PanTrinbago
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From Michael Scobie, Public Relations Officer, PanTrinbago

Some people are making statements and accusations against the present executive of Pan Trinbago, and one would swear they have all the facts at their finger tips, and really believe that whatever are the problems bedeviling the organization they can be fixed by removing the present executive, install some mocking pretenders who claim to have a magic wand, and, abracadabra, problems solved.

These people with all the answers and solutions to the problems should be vying for a place in parliament to run the country. Then everything would be great, including Pan Trinbago. And the Carnival Interest Groups will enjoy a happy Festival with no problems ever again.

Let me state clearly that I do have a name, a reputation and character to protect and defend for my sake, the sake of my children and future generations, and all the organizations to which I have ties. As a community and social activist, I have been involved in Trade Union, Labor and Steelpan activities for little over fifty years, and have always operated free and fair, free from fear, and above board.

Operating as chairman of the South/Central Region of Pan Trinbago Inc TC, I was encouraged by a fair number of Steelpan devotees, to run for national executive office to strengthen the team. I was elected to serve on the national executive of Pan Trinbago as the Public Relations Officer in October 2015, with a mandate to October 2018. This confidence shown is based on my track record.

Today, I find myself distracted and affected by the level of maliciousness that is overshadowing and undermining the work of this present executive of Pan Trinbago. Members seeking office through the back door are prepared to stoop to any low, including the character assassination of others to achieve their nefarious designs. Our organization is under attack in a most hostile and vicious manner from without and within, to the benefit of those waiting in the wings with open arms to take full control of what they once despised.  

It is nearly six weeks to the National Panorama that signals the start of Carnival 2018 and there is no NCC board in place to release funding to the Carnival Interest Groups so they could start preparations for the National Festival. The makers of our Steelpan Instruments are crying out, to no avail, for raw materials, the Steel drums, to hone their craft. All because a misguided few choose to create mischief and confusion in order to destabilize and distract, hoping to achieve their narrow agenda.

Boycott Panorama 2018 is their mantra, although many of them have no Steel band to participate and those who have are already registered with Pan Trinbago waiting on the final call. These agent provocateurs spend their time on social media spreading lies and propaganda, tarnishing the image of committed officers and bringing them into public odium, disrepute and ridicule.

I, as an officer on this present central executive for little over two years now, have not seen, condoned, indulged in, encouraged or am a part of any corruption as indicated by those malicious reprobates who are hell bent on creating confusion, and inflicting maximum damage to an organ they aspire to lead. They continue to be disruptive at every turn, showing a total lack of common understanding of the organisation's protocols. They have blatantly disregarded the negative and long term spiral effects such mischievous allegations would have on one's family, friends and associates at home and abroad. Are they immune from prosecution under the laws against slander and libel?  Irreparable damage was done to people's characters and they continue to wage a senseless war unabated, like hyenas scenting a prey.

And while we take a stance against those who believe that they must take control of our indigenous arts, we also find ourselves fighting off the hyenas: people with no moral scruples who would lie and cheat and sell out this organization in no time, for the best price they can attract. They are the ones without a sense of value, who are saying let us mash it up and start something new. Just as some have already mashed up the Steelband under their charge, and cannot see their way to start back. Are these the kind of characters the organization is looking forward to for future leadership?  

As chestnuts start roasting on open fires, so to, the Steelbands start to drink ah rum and ah Punch ah Crème straight onto the Panorama stage. But, where is the NCC board to facilitate the preparations? Are we witnessing a take over by any means? They want to get rid of the chickens, so mash up the coop?  It must be emphasized that the Steel bands are not prepared to relinquish the space they have carved out for themselves in the national festival through resilience. And it must also be noted, that it was the Steelbands that brought back the people from the Barrack yards onto the streets for carnival. Prior to that, we would stand on the side of the road, and watch Mardi Gras float gingerly by and wave.

If Pan Trinbago is allowed to carry out its mandate as enshrined by Act 5 of 1986, today there would be no shortage of raw materials. A shipment would have been sourced from Venezuela or the USA, months ago so that the production lines would have been very active. At this time, young Pan Tuners are on the bread line while the Culture ministry and the NCC fiddle.

The Steel bands played the role of liberator in the early days, as it will continue to play now. No set of deceptive and slanderous characters, lacking in integrity, will come in through the back door to reverse what little gains we have achieved.

I have offered my service to uplift the Steelpan movement, which is no easy task. I am not here to display the qualities of the proverbial Bull in the China Shop. I am no thief, and any one of my colleagues found to be indulging, those with the evidence must produce it, for the right steps to be taken. I hold no brief for anyone. To some of our foreign detractors: stop making false allegations against persons you know nothing about and have never met. Election for officers is October 2018, for all interested members. Please note.

In the mean time, the battle between mardi gras and camboulay rages on. Long live the Steelpan movement in this place, where cowards cringe and traitors sneer, we will keep Pan Trinbago's flag flying high.

Michael L Joseph

Public Relations Officer

Pan Trinbago Inc. T.C.

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