Tobago’s pan fraternity are in support of a move by the National Carnival Commission (NCC) to take control of Pan Trinbago’s operations for the next three years, with a memorandum of understanding signed on August 7 by representatives from the two entities.
Marie Toby, Chairman of Pan Trinbago, Tobago Region, described the move as the only way to save the pan fraternity.
“We have asked members of the executive to do the honourable thing and step down because we recognised they cannot manage. This is the position we have to be in and as a matter of fact, Tobago Region was the first region to send in a motion proposing this change,” she said.
Tobago believes the entire Pan Trinbago executive must be held accountable for mismanagement of the organisation.
Beverly Ramsey-Moore, former Assistant Secretary of Pan Trinbago and manager of the Katzenjammers Steel Orchestra, said she fully supports the decision and was ready to accept any sacrifices the pan fraternity may have to make to restore and enforce financial control in the organisation.
Ramsey-Moore also hopes this move by NCC would bring balance when treating with Tobago bands that qualify for the National Panorama final competitions in Trinidad.
She dismissed as rumours that NCC would be taking control of Pan Trinbago, pointing out that it was a non-governmental organisation, and agreed that only the Commission could enforce accountability.
“Anything for bringing order, I am all for it as there was nothing in place to guide and govern spending of government funds. Somebody had to bridle the horse…We also have to win back the trust of the private sector and cooperate bodies to assist us in running our affairs.”
Ramsey-Moore speculated that the contract was focused on oversight of the financial affairs of PanTrinbago, specifically for the annual National Panorama competition.
She said the move by the NCC was “in the making” when in 2017, Minister of Community Development Culture and the Arts, Dr Nyan Gadbsy-Dolly, announced a forensic audit will be conducted into the financial affairs of Pan Trinbago, National Carnival Bandleaders’ Association (NCBA) and Trinidad Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation (TUCO).
On June 22 in Parliament, Gadsby-Dolly revealed that an audit done on all three organisations for the period October 2013 to September 2016, confirmed conflict of interest, inadequate accounting controls and non-adherence to policies and procedures.
Ramsey-Moore said, “I suspect what is happening now is all because of the findings of the audit and by right the government needs to do what it has to do to ensure there is accountability and transparency.
“I know there is a lack of fiscal discipline in the organisation and that is one of the reasons I would have resigned because Pan Trinbago operated as a wild horse in terms of how they spent money. What NCC must do is put regulations in place so that when they give taxpayers money, they will know how they must account for it,” she said.
“We have to wean ourselves off government funding for our operations and this is the genesis of our problem. There is so much revenue we can raise is we really find the pillars where we can stand with pan as an industry but until then we cannot make that strong stand. We cannot continue to wait on government funds, we have to develop our programmes and policies to impact on the culture and economy in a positive way,” she added.