Pan Trinbago president Beverly Ramsey-Moore is urging the Government to pay more attention to the development of pan yards in Trinidad and Tobago.
She made the appeal on Sunday while addressing the opening of the newly-refurbished Tobago Pan-Thers Steel Orchestra Pan Theatre at Seaview Trace, Golden Lane.
The National Commission for Self-Help Ltd (NCSHL), an agency of Ministry of Sport and Community Development, upgraded the facility at a cost of $396,000. The funds were allocated through the commission’s development programme.
Some 70 residents are expected to benefit from the refurbished facility.
Ramsey-Moore, who is also the manager of the Black Rock-based Katzenjammers Steel Orchestra, applauded the commission’s role for upgrading the pan theatre but said the initiative should be replicated throughout the country.
She lamented that many pan players were practising in panyards that leave a lot to be desired.
“For too long, we have been using panyards that cannot even be termed as masterpieces,” she said.
“We have a number of young women playing the national instrument and there is no proper facility for our young people. When they come into these places, there are no proper facilities for them – not even a proper bathroom – and so we need to pay much more attention – the State and community organisations – to enhance and uplift those buildings.”
Ramsey-Moore added, “I really don’t put water in my mouth to say it. Sometimes I feel that Government should pass on community centre construction and focus a little more on assisting and developing these community spaces. Panyards are community spaces and more people spend time in the pan yard than they spend at community centres.”
Saying pan was born out of struggle, Ramsey-Moore recalled when she became Pan Trinbago president in 2018, she made steps to change the narrative.
“I realised that we had to speak things into being because we have been struggling for too long. And so, we have changed the narrative of being born out of struggle to that of prosperity in pan because we believe that we must prosper in all things.”
Ramsey-Moore said the panyard must be a safe and sacred space in communities.
“The panyard is for the people in the communities because it brings out not the just the players but their families and community members. It is intergenerational. And so, in this sacred space, we are friends, we are family, we are a community. Pan unifies us. It is a powerful tool to overcome all obstacles in life.”
Sport and Community Development Minister Shamfa Cudjoe, THA representative for Golden Lane Zorisha Hackett, NCSHL chairman Anthony Campbell, the commission’s CEO Elroy Julien and Pan-Thers manager Brian Thomas attended the event.
Two months ago, the Prime Minister turned to sod for the new Desperadoes Pan Theatre in Port of Spain. The facility is expected to cost $14 million and was described by Dr Rowley as "an investment in our people."
He added that the theatre would attract tourists and aid in the diversification thrust.