HAVING been a victim of theft, president of Pan Trinbago Beverley Ramsey-Moore is crying shame on thieves who recently broke into Hatters and Exodus Steel Orchestras' panyards, carting away instruments and other items.
“It’s a shame. It’s a shame. How can you walk into a panyard – our national pride – and distress a panman?
“Steelbands are the soul of this nation, it is a spirit, and what they are doing is stealing the soul of the nation,” Ramsey-Moore said during a visit to San Fernando on Friday morning to the Hatters panyard.
Hatters is facing double trouble. Having lost some $400,000 in musical instruments and tools to bandits in the last couple of months, the band is now facing dislocation because of the San Fernando Waterfront Development project.
Its base, on Lady Hailes Avenue, San Fernando, stands in the direct path of the development project. A decision to relocate them to the Ministry of Works building, opposite their present location, has hit a snag, as demolition work began on that proposed temporary site on Monday.
Ramsey-Moore said, “When you think of the struggles of our ancestors who started this recycling project, taking up an old rusty oil drum and creating what we have today – the diamond called the steelpan – it pains me as a leader to know that thieves are going to walk into a panyard, cut locks and steal pans and or tools that are so important to the band.
“They don’t know our struggles. The only time a band would get some kind of grant is during Carnival, But after that we struggle on our own. We pay our own light bill, pay our own water rates.”
Ramsey-Moore spoke of her own experience with bandits who targeted the Tobago Black-Rock based Katzenjammers Steel Orchestra, which she managed.
She recalled having bought a television to put in the bar the band managed on the site during the last World Cup.
“First game we had a nice gathering and for the second game, the same night, somebody stole the television and everything from the bar.
“I cry shame on those individuals. They can never prosper. They will never prosper. The curse of our ancestors will fall right on top of their heads.”
Twice in the last month, the Tunapuna band Exodus was also struck by bandits, who stole tools. Exodus manager Ainsworth Mohammed condemned the break-in and likened the act to "a theft from God."