Pan Trinbago President Beverly Ramsey-Moore has warned the public that the organisation, the local governing body for the steelpan, will not be insulted.
She also feels Pan Trinbago still has to "fight up" to get support from governmental and private institutions to carry out some of its activities.
Addressing the ninth instalment of a monthly lecture series, hosted by the Tobago Writers' Guild and Tobago Library Services on Thursday at the Katzenjammers Steel Orchestra Pan Theatre, Black Rock, Ramsey-Moore took to task people who persist in saying Pan Trinbago is too dependent on the government.
"No longer are we going to be insulted, because pan is yours. Always remember that. Pan is yours. It is not only Pan Trinbago's," she told the audience, which included Pan Trinbago executive members, Tobago steelband officials and founding members of Katzenjammers.
Recalling panmen were once frowned upon in the early development of the instrument, Ramsey-Moore wondered if this is still the case.
"Sometimes, I feel as though we still have to fight up too much to get support from private institutions, from governmental institutions because sometimes you wonder if they still watching you as rogues and vagabonds."
Ramsey-Moore, whose lecture focussed on the development of the steelpan and its impact on communities, revealed she sometimes has to behave in a "kinda manner" to get assistance.
"Recently, I had to remind somebody I am a marabunta. Sometimes, you have to behave in a particular way but we must not struggle anymore and I have indicated that we, the leaders of the movement, give support without being compensated."
She added: "Sometimes, when I think of how much money is being wasted paying tutors to teach people to make flowers every year in the community centre to put in they house at Christmas time and you have your trainers in the panyard giving of their time and talent. And then when you go to negotiate, people telling you pan people dependent too much on government. Who you want us to be dependent on?"
Singling out RBC Redemption Sound Setters captain Marie Toby and Uptown Fascinators manager Salisha James in the audience, Ramsey-Moore asked: "How many hours do you spend in the panyard one evenings giving of your time and talent?"
She continued: "When football coaches are being paid, when handicraft tutors are being paid, when all of those evening classes going on in the community centre are being paid, which pan leader, arranger in the panyard receives any type of stipend from any government institution to train and to teach every single night in the panyard."
Ramsey-Moore said pan is inter-generational.
"What you have in the panyard is the young people, the children, senior citizens, the grannies. They are all here and we have to take care of them giving of our time and our talent in the panyard for free"
Ramsey-Moore said pan players and tutors provide as service of empowerment, upliftment and youth development for free.
"And so, when the time comes for us to get the support, whether it be governmental, let the support come. We need it because we want to continue to build our communities through the national instrument of Trinidad and Tobago."
She said Pan Trinbago has over 200 registered steelbands, most of which offer "a safe and sacred space" for pan enthusiasts.
"The bands are disciplined. They have management and doing extremely well."