DAYS before 2018 Panorama finals, the Prime Minister called the results. During a visit to the CAL Skiffle Steel Orchestra panyard, San Fernando, Rowley predicted then BP Renegades would be victorious, with Skiffle coming in a close second. So said, so done.
Has he called it again?
This was the question on the lips of many Skiffle devotees during a similar visit to the Coffee Street panyard on Thursday night, as Dr Rowley again jokingly prophesied a first-place tie in the March 2 Savannah finals, this time between Shell Invaders Steel Orchestra and Skiffle. The two ended up in a three-way tie with Hadco Phase II in the semifinals of the competition. BP again triumphed.
The projection left many in the Skiffle panyard wondering if the PM was a psychic or had a “pan crystal ball,” especially when he congratulated them and said, “I hope this is your year.”
Rowley, accompanied by Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, along with Cabinet colleagues Camille Robinson Regis, Edmund Dillon, Kazim Hosein, Randall Mitchell, Shamfa Cudjoe and San Fernando mayor Junia Regrello, visited Pan Elders panyard on Carib Street, then walked down to the nearby Skiffle panyard.
After hearing Skiffle’s version of Nadia Batson’s Long Time I eh See You, Rowley declared he had been a fan of Invaders for the past 49 years, but: “Skiffle is my south band.”
“Right now, Invaders and Skiffle are tied together, how about a tie for first place?” he said to which Regrello, CEO of Skiffle, responded, “We would settle for that.”
Rowley said whatever the outcome, Skiffle was already a winner and one of the leading bands not just in TT, but in the world.
“Panorama is just a fun competition and you are doing extremely well. Your future is assured, given the tremendous participation of the young people in the steelband.”
Rowley said he was proud of the band, especially the management structure, which kept the young people happy and comfortable, “being engaged in such a positive piece of our culture.”
He told the group, uniformed in their white T-shirts, “You are not just a steelband, you are not just a player in a band, you are part of the culture of TT. So strong is that, that we can market it as something the country is holding out to the rest of the world.”
He noted, “The discipline that goes into pan playing is a discipline not normally associated with a number of young people, but you have said no to that, you are now part of a team.”
Gadsby-Dolly said while some bands may feel “they have it in the bag, it is close enough to be anybody’s game. I look forward to see what will happen on that night (finals).”
She observed that while some people say pan is dying, “Once you have people like this in the band, bringing the vibes, it would never die. It is really a heartening experience to see the discipline and commitment you put into it.”