Pan enthusiasts, family and friends gathered at the Church of the Nativity in Crystal Stream, Diego Martin on Tuesday to pay their final respects to past Pan Trinbago president Owen Serrette.
He was buried at the Lapeyrouse Cemetery in Port of Spain. Newsday was able to view the funeral service which was streamed live on YouTube.Serrette, a former member of Ebonites, Harmonites and Pan Knights, died on March 6, at 82. His career and legacy in the pan fraternity are well documented, notably his time as Pan Trinbago’s president from 1988-1996. He was also a former member of the National Carnival Commission.
Overwhelmed by emotion, his son Kairon described him as a good footballer, cricketer, and also a good tenor pan player who was born in Basilon Street, Port of Spain and grew up in Morvant. He said his father taught the family about appreciating the culture and putting country first."Daddy, as we knew him, was a true patriot. His love of country and culture was so evident in his daily life. Pan was Daddy's love, apart from my mom and us, his children, of course, and he truly gave his heart to the artform and saw the potential in changing lives if it was properly managed. He dedicated his time to the success of promoting the national instrument onto the world stage and elevating the status of the pan players."He said as a testament to his father's character, the family has received and continues to receive a huge outpouring of love and support from family, friends and loved ones.
"The reminiscing of past interactions with Daddy truly warms the heart. 'Uncle Owen' was loved by everyone – always taking the time to lend an ear and offer advice and support. I personally came to realise, as I got older, the impact that Uncle Owen had on many of my cousins, with some referring to him and Mummy as their second mom and dad."Current president of Pan Trinbago Beverly Ramsey-Moore, paying tribute on behalf of the fraternity, described Serrette as a powerful leader. She said a steelpan leader is no ordinary leader."To me, one of the greatest leaders that you can ever find is a leader that is entrenched in community development. It's not just the music – some people think that when you're a steelpan leader, it’s about music and Panorama, but no, it is one of those organisations within the community where empowerment begins because you are able to touch the very social institutions, and the very first one is the family."She said when young people enter the "safe and sacred space" which is the panyard, it is about the moulding of minds."Owen Serrette demonstrated that he is one of those leaders in TT that would have contributed and would have touched the lives of several thousands of young people within his community and by extension, TT."