MARABELLA has lost a patriarch in the person of Michael “Scobie” Joseph.
Joseph leader of the Southern Marine Steelband and former Pan Trinbago executive, spiritual elder and former trade unionist who was jailed while fighting for the rights of people in 1971, died on March 24.
He was hospitalised with a lung infection. Tribute was paid to him during last Wednesday’s sitting of the San Fernando City Corporation statutory meeting.
San Fernando mayor Junia Regrello thanked him for his contribution as a cultural, social and spiritual activist, “somebody with a political consciousness and somebody that would have shaped the landscape of the community of Marabella.”
He recalled him reviving Southern Marines at a time when it was dormant and brought it to life by holding Talent Expression and other shows to give young and old an opportune to hone their skills. Regrello said Scobie, as he was commonly called, was a person who always stood up for the rights of people and advocating social policies.
“Wherever there was oppression, Scobie was there as a champion of the people and I would really like to extend condolences to his family and the Southern Marines family.”
Leader of Fonclaire Steel Orchestra Darren Sheppard hosted a show on Wack Radio to allow people to pay tribute to Scobie because there can be no assembly to give him the kind of send off befitting his contribution to TT.
“What is sad is that a man of his stature given the prevailing circumstance we would not be able to give him the kind of send off he deserves.”
A Facebook page, called Remembering Michael “Scobie” Joseph, has also been set up for people to share their condolences, memories and tributes.
Apart from his deep involvement in Pan Trinbago, serving at every level both regionally and nationally, Sheppard said Scobie was heavily involved in the Black Power movement as well as the trade union movement.
He said Scobie was the person who advanced and stood steadfast and resolute in encouraging Pan Trinbago to take the National Carnival Commission to court over the rights of the organisation to manage its own affairs for Carnival. Pan Trinbago won that battle.
“He was a strong proponent of anything that was Afro centric. A stalwart in the movement, his focus was always for the development of the steelpan beyond panorama.”
“While he would have been a towering figure, viewed sometime a little bit intimidating, once you got to know the man you know he was a big teddy bear. He always wanted to leave a legacy for generations to come. He was a giant of a man, not only in stature.”