Despers going for number 13

Drill master Curtis Edwards is hugged by Anna-Lisa
Drill master Curtis Edwards is hugged by Anna-Lisa "Smiley" Pierre on Sunday. - ROGER JACOB


Chairman of Desperadoes Steel Orchestra’s management team, Finbar Fletcher, says the band’s members had a hunger to win after their four-year drought at the Panorama.

At their Tragarete Road, Port of Spain panyard, Fletcher said, “We worked real hard for this victory. I strive for perfection, but that is something you never attain but get close as possible to it. While no one is perfect, I think we got as close as possible in this competition.”

On being the steelband with the most victories, Fletcher said, “That feels good, but I don’t want anyone to catch us again. We already looking at number 13.”

He said the victory is dedicated to Dennis Ash, a player who is recuperating from surgery and is one of the players who played in the very first Panorama in 1963. Ash has been a member of Desperadoes from the 1950’s and also played in steelband bacchanal the forerunner to Panorama.

Desperadoes is the only band to win a Panorama in each decade since the start of Panorama.

Drill master Curtis Edwards, who guided the band through nine of their 12 wins, described the victory as their sweetest, a sentiment echoed by management and members at the camp.

Desperadoes members Rawle "Lil Bit" Flemming, Michael "Boogie" Duncan, Andre Grant and Carlon Morris celebrate their band's victory at their panyard on Tragarete Road, Port of Spain on Sunday. -

Edwards said it felt good to snatch the trophy out of the hands of BP Renegades Steel Orchestra who won in 2018 and 2019. They entered the finals sharing pole position with 11 points each.

“We managed to stop the hat-trick, so that felt really good,” he said. “We are lovers, so there is no animosity between us, but that is just how we play. They would have liked to do the same thing to us.”

Band manager Lyndon Spencer said tears came to his eyes when judges announced their victory, and thanked fans of the band for their support.

“I knew the type of work that we put in to get to this point. It was something incredible knowing that the people of TT had us down as winners before we even got into the final.”

Analissa “Smiley” Pierre, one of the players, said they worked tirelessly in the days before the competition and the result was worth it.

“After we played, I went home and slept because I can’t take the suspense of waiting for results,” she said.

A portrait of the late Ras Shorty I is displayed on one of Despers' pan racks. His granddaughter Nailah Blackman composed and sang the winning Panorama song More Sokah. - ROGER JACOB

“I told my nephew not to wake me up unless we won. Then when I was sleeping, I heard him banging on my door. I asked him if we won and he said yes. I started screaming and he started screaming. I was at the base minutes after that.”


"Despers going for number 13"

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