Pan Trinbago president Keith Diaz yesterday insisted that as head of the pan body, he has a right to call any meeting at short notice to discuss matters pertaining to the national instrument. This after a meeting called on Tuesday was disrupted by protesting panmen who claimed Diaz was breaching Pan Trinbago’s rules by calling a meeting without notice.
He also denied reports that the meeting had to be called off because of the protests, adding that the meeting began at 6 pm and ended at 8.45 pm, with 62 percent of all bands registered with Pan Trinbago having a representative at the meeting. Gregory Lindsay, speaking on behalf of Concerned Individuals for Pan (CIP) challenged the legality of the Diaz’s meeting.
But contacted for comment yesterday, Diaz thundered: “According to the constitution I have a right as president to call a meeting at short notice. So I don’t know who is advising them or which lawyer is telling them things. The meeting was to brief members and they (CIP) were not there when I started it (the meeting). The circular was to deal with Panorama and no other business. It was very straightforward.”
Diaz claimed that five people, “who never even played pan before” turned up and disrupted the meeting. “They are not panmen. I don’t know which band they claim to represent. People bring them out to talk and say no Panorama, just to disrupt a meeting! Ninety percent of the members want Panorama.
“But three bands say they don’t want Panorama and they hired some fellas to hold placards and make noise,” Diaz claimed. He reiterated that Pan Trinbago does not pay Panorama performance fees (remittances) to panmen but instead negotiates with the National Carnival Commission (NCC) and the Community Development, Culture and Arts Ministry.
Diaz said he told the members that they have to wait on the Budget to know what is the allocation for steelbands for 2018. He indicated that Minister Nyan Gadsby-Dolly asked the NCC to ensure all interest groups find a new way forward for Carnival and as Pan Trinbago president he conveyed this to his members at the meeting on Tuesday.
Coming out of that meeting, was a plan to carry small bands semi-finals for Panorama to Chaguanas where each band will be required to play a Chutney song in addition to the usual Panorama tune while the medium and large band semis will be in Port of Spain as usual, but with a change of format.
Diaz indicated that Pan Trinbago is considering mixing the medium with large bands in that after each medium band plays, a large band will follow. That format will continue into final night for the medium and large bands in Port of Spain, while the small bands final will be held in San Fernando. All prelims will be held at various panyards starting January 4.