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Sunday 26 January 2020
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Let Pan Trinbago find its way

Labourers at work on the stage in front of the Grand Stand in preparation for Carnival shows, including Panorama, at Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain. - ROGER JACOB
Labourers at work on the stage in front of the Grand Stand in preparation for Carnival shows, including Panorama, at Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain. - ROGER JACOB

The differences between NCC chairman Winston' Gypsy' Peters and the new Pan Trinbago president Beverly Ramsey-Moore date back almost to the start of her governance of the national steelband body in October 2018.

In February 2019, Peters declared the Pan Trinbago headquarters site in Tacarigua an "eyesore" and demanded that the organisation do something with the site they had been given by the government in 2002.

Peters may have a point on that score, because the deteriorating, partly constructed building has been an embarrassment to Pan Trinbago for more than a decade.

But that project was only one aspect of the mess of pottage that Ramsey-Moore undertook to clean up when she took office. More pressing is the fractured state of the steelband movement, its disappointment with the executive elected to represent them and a pressing need for a refreshed direction for its musicians.

After an extraordinary general meeting of Pan Trinbago in June 2019, Ramsey-Moore announced that the organisation would be seeking to implement changes in the presence of the steelband during Carnival.

"Panorama must not be boxed in by Carnival!" the Pan Trinbago boss declared.

The latest conflict has arisen over what's to be done with the area north of the Grand Stand stage for Panorama. Pan Trinbago wants a new concept for the space, Pan City, while Peters demands a second chance for the North Park, which the NCC introduced in 2019. Ramsey-Moore has dismissed North Park as a failure and insisted on Pan Trinbago's concept, a revival of popular North Stand experience.

By Thursday, Peters had decided on a new approach and after an NCC meeting, went to Ramsey-Moore, hugged her and called for a truce on the matter,

Ramsey-Moore remains adamant about the Pan City concept but was willing to look at the Carnival commission's designs and concepts for the project, and both sides seemed willing to talk the matter through. Something effective must be done in that space, and it needs to be approached with the support and guidance of both traditional Carnival stakeholders as well as representatives of the audience they are trying to woo.

Pan Trinbago's president has been bristly about pan since her appointment. A month after the organisation complained bitterly about the absence of pan in the Carifesta performance finale, she declared at a lecture that the organisation will not be insulted. Ramsey-Moore is demanding more focus on communities and more business sense from her membership even as she calls for more respect for the time and talent of the movement's musicians from government and the business community.

It's an evolving engagement, but it's one that seeks to unmoor a stagnant steelband movement and steer it to overdue success.

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