THERE was no allocation to special interests groups in 2021 because there was no Carnival. The governing bodies of mas, pan and calypso had to find alternative ways of raising funds to carry on its business for the year.
This caused Pan Trinbago’s president Beverley Ramsey-Moore – while laying in bed one day – to ask, “Lord where do we go from here?”
She also asked herself, “What is it that Pan Trinbago has? What do we really have?”
Then the answer came to her. The pan body has land, 11.5 acres at Trincity to be exact, and she has always believed that land is capital.
This, coupled with Ramsey-Moore’s vision to see prosperity in pan, has created Project Plant Trinbagrow.
While the project is in its developmental stages, the overall objective is to grow crops, package it and sell it under a Pan Trinbago label. Ramsey-Moore did not wish to say which crops will be planted just yet.
This will also help the organisation on its drive to financial sustainability, Ramsey-Moore said in a phone interview.
When Ramsey-Moore became the organisation’s president in 2018, it was no secret that there was nothing in the Pan Trinbago coffers.
“We met an organisation that was bankrupt and in debt,” she said. But this did not deter the new executive, and as a transformational leader she knew that “one day the glory would come.”
Pan Trinbago’s strongest asset has always been its over 300 steelbands and Ramsey-Moore said, “together we knew that we would have rebuilt this organisation.”
It is these members, their families and friends that Pan Trinbago will look to when it starts project Plant Trinbagrow.
Ramsey-Moore envisions the organisation’s members “walking into one of those spaces at the back of the headquarters” and buying their own food. Their own people selling it and their bands making their own money.
Siparia-based Why Farm, led by Alpha Sennon, is assisting the organisation with the project. Why Farm is a non-profit organisation which seeks to “counter the challenges relating to food security in communities around the world,” its Facebook page says.
Ramsey-Moore said Why Farm came up with the name Plant Trinbagrow and the idea. Why Farm also suggested what should be planted in the first instance and how it should be packaged, she said. But Pan Trinbago plans to take its time to properly grow and develop the project.
It has also been challenging raising funds in 2021 and getting the necessary funding to move the project forward.
She hopes however, to get things going by mid-year. She said one of the fastest projects Pan Trinbago could get into is agriculture because there is a thrust for agricultural growth and development in the country at this time.
“So the executive agreed we could use a portion of the land for agriculture. We had discussions at a five-at-a-time meeting. Due to pandemic we cannot have a general meeting per se which caters to over 400 people. “We met with them in smaller groups and most of the groups we met with, they would have embraced the idea of using a portion of the land to do agricultural projects.”
She said, at this stage, the organisation was setting up a committee to deal with it. And the clearing of the land at Trincity has started with the help of Enterprise band Pan Angels.
But the agricultural thrust also comes from Ramsey-Moore’s own upbringing. Her parents were in agriculture.
She recalled walking through her Tobago community as a young girl selling ochroes and tomatoes among others.
She learned then that when money came in there was cash flow.
It was all about money passing through one’s hands everyday.
Plant Trinbagrow is also part of the organisation’s wider plans to develop the Trincity space into its industrial headquarters, where it will be home to Pan Trinbago’s many businesses.
It will restart its drum factory in the middle of March, Ramsey-Moore said.
She told Newsday a container of steel was on its way so its double-sided drums can be made so tuners and pan technologists can have cleaner, safer drums.
“All of those factories, we are going to use that site to develop those businesses from which we intend to raise additional revenue,” she said.
Pan Trinbago was given the land, “off the Churchill Roosevelt Highway, Tacarigua, between the Orange Grove Road traffic lights and the Trincity Mall,” udecott.com says, for its headquarters.