President Paula-Mae Weekes was among a massive crowd at the Dwight Yorke Stadium on Sunday evening to witness and enjoy the historic inaugural staging of the National Panorama medium band competition in Tobago.
Courts Sound Specialists of Laventille delivered an energetic performance to Merchant's Ah Feeling To Rock to get the competition under way. Three Tobago bands – Katzenjammers Steel Orchestra, NGC Steel Xplosion and Carib Dixieland – vied for the crown.
Earlier, patrons were treated to a short cultural segment titled, A Taste of Tobago, which featured a speech band performance and entertainment by calypsonian Leslie Ann Ellis.
Pan Trinbago president Beverly Ramsey Moore and Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles said they were pleased and excited to host the medium band category of the Panorama competition in Tobago.
"Pan unifies. Pan connects. Pan is happy music," Ramsey-Moore said.
Prior to Sunday's finals Ramsey-Moore, who became Pan Trinbago's first female president in October 2018, criticised social media users who believe money should not have been spent on hosting the finals of the competition in Tobago.
"I want the people to know that this is one country. It is Trinidad and Tobago. And it does not matter, whether it is the air or seabridge, it does not matter. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago invests about $180 million on Carnival."
She said a study has revealed TT Carnival generates over $1 billion in economic activity.
"So, it does not matter where in the country that money is spent."
Ramsey-Moore said as a Tobagonian who has spent some time in Trinidad she has heard the negative comments often made about the island.
"Sometimes I wonder, questions like if we have food and if we have hotels and all that kind of thing has been coming forward and that Tobago is in the backwoods of society."
Ramsey-Moore said as manager of Katzenjammers, she has had close affiliations with steelband practitioners from Trinidad.
"Over the years as a band manager – our arrangers are from Trinidad, our tuners are from Trinidad, we buy our jerseys from Trinidad, our flags and our banners from Trinidad. And we are saying, from a Pan Trinbago perspective, that some of that money must now be invested on the island of Tobago because we are Trinidad and Tobago."