THE time is ripe for a woman to lead PanTrinbago.
This was the view of ace pannist and arranger Dane Gulston as he weighed in yesterday on PanTrinbago president Keith Diaz’s announcement that he was stepping down as head of the pan organising body. Diaz is expected to resign at an extraordinary meeting to be called within the next two weeks.
A petition, which has been circulating for just about a year, is also expected to be delivered this Wednesday to PanTrinbago, Gulston said. Commenting on Diaz’s statement that he will demit office after serving two terms, Gulston told Newsday, “I am for a total change in how pan is run. I don’t mind a woman heading PanTrinbago since somewhere along the line, there could be a better sense of stability with a woman in charge.
“A woman puts things in place and would treat the organisation like she would treat her household and children. A woman would deal with things in a fairer manner. These are some of the things we are missing in PanTrinbago for some years. We are missing transparency.
Things are happening and nobody is coming to the floor and saying this is what we are trying to do, this is where we are trying to head. A women might really give us the change we need and (with a woman in charge) we might get a better sense of respect.”
One thing Gulston is clear about, whether a man or woman takes over, he or she will have a lot of work to do as PanTrinbago president.
“We have been seeing certain things come to pass which is why we kept pressuring him to leave. In terms of what happened that led to him deciding to leave, it was pressure and more pressure and the pan executive itself fell apart,” Gulston said. The panman said he was happy Diaz has decided to call it quits.
“It had to happen like that because there was no real respect for him after a while in terms of how he was treating the membership,” Gulston said, adding that the current executive has “no vision” to carry pan and its members forward.
Constitutional reform, Gulston said, is needed in PanTrinbago particularly as it relates to the organisation’s voting system. He believes every pannist should be able to case a vote and, “not your band telling you to vote for x,y or z, because they like them or does drink with them.” For his own self, Gulston said he has no plan at the moment, to run for office nor does he believe PanTrinbago president is his forte. People, he said, have already started putting slates together in anticipation of an election.
Contacted for comment, former PanTrinbago vice president Bryon Serrette said he is not for putting a woman in charge for the sake of putting a woman. “The problems Pan Trinbago have right now, I feel putting a woman in charge ain’t gonna solve it. Somebody who knows and understands what is taking place and has a plan and vision on how to direct the ship back to where it is supposed to be, be it male or female, that is what is required,” Serrette said.
Serrette said while Diaz has said he is stepping down, he noted that no definite date was given. “When is he stepping down? Yesterday which was the first of April...All Fools’ Day or the 31 of October? I will believe that when I see a letter of resignation.”
Educator and arranger Michelle Huggins-Watts, the first female arranger to win a Panorama title, said the post of PanTrinbago president requires a person who has the willingness, stamina and ability to marshal panmen across the nation to be united under a common goal ... to see pan not only survive but prosper.
While a woman in charge of PanTrinbago could be dynamic and could shatter yet another of the proverbial gender-based glass ceilings, Huggins-Wyatt said, “if a female leads but goes with similar agendas and follows previous failed prescriptions to treat the ailing art form, then it would not matter as nothing would change.”
What needs to be done, she said, whether a man or woman is in charge, is to “take a reflective approach of all the good things. All the things that need to be improved on and find ways to get the art form moving in a positive direction.”
When asked if she would consider putting herself up for office, Huggins-Watts said, “I would give it a shot but not in a singular manner. It would have to be with a team that is forward thinking as I am, sharing similar visions and prepared to work for the art form.”