SAN Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello has expressed his sadness on the death of leader of NLCB Fonclaire Steel Orchestra, Milton "Wire" Austin, on Sunday. Newsday understands Austin, 79, died at his home in Pleasantville on Sunday morning.
Regrello, who is also the leader of TCL Skiffle Bunch, said, "We have lost one of the real warlords of pan who would have transcended the decades, from the days of Terror." He said Austin was able to seamlessly make the transition through several changes in the steelpan fraternity.
Regrello also said Austin served San Fernando very well. "He has served the city of San Fernando tremendously. We simply appreciate his contribution over the years, his representation as a community leader, steelband extraordinaire manager. He will surely be missed. Regrello also said he was happy that Austin was honoured during the San Fernando's city celebrations earlier this year. He extended condolences to Austin's wife Joan and other family members.
In a statement, Tourism, Culture and the Arts Minister Randall Mitchell said, "Austin contributed significantly to our culture and has served us well. His musical arrangements will remain with us." Mitchell also thanked Austin for in creating Fonclaire Steel Orchestra and for the sweet melodies he arranged over the past decades.
"San Fernando and TT will forever remain eternally grateful for his contribution." In a post on Pan Trinbago's Facebook page, Pan Trinbago president Beverly Ramsey Moore paid tribute to Austin. "In this hour of grief I extend heartfelt condolences to the family of Milton "Wire" Austin."She added, "Take you heavenly rest and soar with the Angels, "Wire."