REGIONAL heads of Pan Trinbago want panmen to be paid directly and not through their organisation’s central executive.
Gerard Mendez (North), Marie Toby (Tobago) and Carlon Harewood (East) said so at a press conference held at Newtown Playboyz panyard yesterday to address pressing financial matters.
They want Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly to get the National Carnival Commission (NCC) to pay panmen their remittance fees for 2018 and outstanding prize money directly.
Last week NCC chairman, Winston “Gypsy” Peters said he had no intention of stepping in to resolve Pan Trinbago issues. Gadsby-Dolly also did not want to get involved.
But Toby appealed to the minister: “Pan people are at your mercy to pay them, but don’t release any monies to the Pan Trinbago executive. We are asking, pleading and begging you to settle this situation.”
Last Friday in the High Court Justice Joan Charles extended the injunction preventing any special membership meetings being held before June 28, when she will hear both sides in the matter.
On one side is Keith Diaz, president of Pan Trinbago who called a special meeting for May 17 purportedly to amend the organisation’s constitution.
On the other are six members of the central executive, led by secretary Richard Forteau and including treasurer Andrew Salvador, PRO Michael Joseph, events relations officer Darren Sheppard and trustees Allan Augustus and Trevor Reid, who took out the injunction to stop the meeting. There was then a discussion among the wider membership
When the matter came up for hearing on Friday, Mendez said, Charles wanted to know why the case came to her and not Justice Ronnie Boodoosingh, since he had a better knowledge of the situation.
Nevertheless all affidavits and summaries were to be filed by both sides by yesterday and the injunction stays in place.
Given this ruling and the unwillingness of Peters and Gadsby-Dolly to get involved, the wider pan fraternity is not happy.
Toby thundered: “Thirty million dollars in debt, and it is mounting. The central executive is only representing themselves. Workers in Pan Trinbago are not being paid, but they can find money to pay (lawyer) Farid Scoon and all sorts of things.
“I am calling leaders of all bands, let’s go back to (what happened in) ‘79 and (have) no Panorama in 2019.
“We need proper management rules. The constitution needs to burn, because there is nothing to protect the membership, only the central executive. It is time to put proper structures in place.”
She also told the media her regional office had received an eviction notice for non-payment of rent, and the staff have not been paid for two months.
Mendez said: “The chairmen are in solidarity with the membership and are saying that enough is enough and it is time fore the central executive to go and let the organisation breathe a breath of fresh air.
“The people who are hurting the most are the pan players. We are asking for the payments to be done through the NCC.”
Aquil Arrindell, chairman of the Concerned Individuals for Pan (CIP), accused the central executive of holding the entire pan fraternity hostage in the current impasse.