Winston “Gypsy” Peters will start his new job as chairman of the National Carnival Commission (NCC) tomorrow and his first step will be to see what has been done and what needs to be accomplished.
Appointed on Friday, Peters told Sunday Newsday he was going into the position with a positive attitude. “I’m going in there with a very open mind and a clean slate. Whatever is written on it has to be done from in there.”
He said any ideas he had about the job or his aims were irrelevant until he had a better idea of his duties.
Asked if he intended to look into the matter of Pan Trinbago and its seeming collapse, he said, “What’s happening with Pan Trinbago doesn’t concern the NCC. Pan Trinbago is an autonomous body that needs to see about its own business... If I am asked to make an intervention I would consider it but I am not obligated to intervene in Pan Trinbago’s private business.”
In response to Peter’s appointment, Pan Trinbago president, Keith Diaz, was cautious. He said, “He is a culture person. I will wait and see what comes out of it and how he responds to culture.”
He also added that there would be a meeting of the Pan Trinbago interim committee on Tuesday when several matters would be discussed and a decision would be made in terms of the way forward. “All I have to say is that the membership is who I serve and if the membership says something then I respect that 1,000 per cent.”
However, Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation (TUCO) PRO, Steve Pascal, whose sobriquet is Ras Kommanda, was more optimistic. He congratulated Peters on his appointment and hoped he would bring “much needed improvement” in the relationship between the NCC and the interest groups, and by extension Government.
“I hope that his rise to this new status will only bring betterment to the Carnival interest groups as well as for the people of Trinidad and Tobago who have a vested interest in the Carnival product.”
Ronnie McIntosh, leader of 2018 Large Band of the Year winner, Ronnie and Caro, said he was hopeful about the appointment, and would like to expect great things, especially as Peters “came from the arts.” He also hoped Carnival plans were made earlier than in the past as bandleaders usually started preparations for the next Carnival almost as soon as the current one was over.
“We live Carnival. Many bandleaders have already started their preparations for Carnival 2019. But I have observed that, for the people on the boards of some of these bodies, it’s a kind of hobby for them. So I’m hoping that, whatever plans they have, they approach it much earlier than normal.”
Peters served a culture and community development minister under the People’s Partnership government but switched to the ruling PNM in the 2015 general election.