AFTER months of uncertainty, there is agreement that Hatters Steel Orchestra will remain at its prime spot, where the Urban Development Corporation (Udecott) is working on the San Fernando Waterfront Development Project
Udecott has agreed to build a state-of-the-art building at the band’s present location at Lady Hailes Avenue, where it will remain permanently after the project is completed.
The pan theatre will be designed to complement the new development.
An amicable solution was reached on Tuesday at a meeting of stakeholders, including president of Pan Trinbago Beverley Ramsey-Moore, Udecott’s Terrence Beepath, and representatives from the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) and Hatters.
Ramsey-Moore said she was pleased with the arrangement, which has quelled the tensions caused when the nearby Ministry of Works and Transport building earmarked for the band's relocation was demolished on the same day it was scheduled to occupy the spot.
She said she was told plans to relocate the band to the now demolished MOWT building opposite its panyard had changed, because HDC has plans to use the property before the end of the year.
HDC is set to construct a high-rise building on the spot at the corner of Lady Hailes Avenue and Steve Achiba Street, which is named after Hatters’ late captain who brought them 1975 Panorama glory.
In an interview after Tuesday’s meeting, Ramsey-Moore said she had confirmation from Udecott that construction of the new Hatters pan theatre will begin in the next three months.
“Udecott’s engineers will look at the area and remodel it so the band would get a little more space. The company will also meet Hatters’ executive to discuss the drawings.”
She said Udecott has already taken a piece of the land which Hatters originally occupied for the development, “so we will not be in the way of the project.
“There will be compromises all round. Udecott, of course, will make the necessary arrangement to modify the space and the building.”
Ramsey-Moore said she is looking forward to the start and completion of the pan theatre, which has brought the players great comfort.
“I know sometimes people take panmen for granted. But people got to take the steelband seriously."
Hatters PRO Whitfield Weekes also expressed gratitude that progress had been made.
The development work exposed the panyard, which was hit by vandals who carted away instruments and tools valued at approximately $400,000.
Chairman Wayne Poliah said the theft had caused the band to fall way behind schedule in terms of practice and its work with the young people from the La Romaine High School and in the community.