Mitchell, Gypsy to Pan Trinbago: Keep us out dispute

File photo: Minister of Tourism Randall Mitchell.
File photo: Minister of Tourism Randall Mitchell.

Tourism and Culture Minister Randall Mitchell and National Carnival Commission chairman Winston “Gypsy” Peters have made it clear to aggrieved Pan Trinbago executive members that they cannot help or intervene to mediate an ongoing dispute.

Carlan Harewood, former vice president; Gerard Mendez, former treasurer; pannist Dane Gulston; former secretary, northern region, Robert Hernandez; and Earl Morris, former vice-chairman, northern region, wrote to the Prime Minister asking him to intervene.

The group complained that Pan Trinbago president Beverley Ramsey-Moore is in breach of the organisation's constitution by failing to call an election when it was due. The last AGM was held in 2018.

Last November Ramsey-Moore said the election was postponed in the best interest of the organisation’s elderly membership to reduce their risk of contracting covid19 during the election.

She said the majority of the members also voted against a virtual AGM.

But part of her executive is still calling for her to step down as president.

The letter asked Dr Rowley to view the matter as urgent and said the issue was "a serious breach of the fundamental rights of citizens in our democratic society.”

The letter was sent on March 16 and copied to Peters and Mitchell. . Dr Rowley is yet to respond.

On Monday, asked about the election, Ramsey-Moore said after consultation with its members, the majority told the organisation to postpone the convention because of the threat the covid19 virus still poses.

She said postponing elections is not an unusual move, and the same thing had happened in October 2015, during the state of emergency. The election was put off as Tobago delegates could not come to Trinidad for the AGM.

Contacted for comment, Mitchell said, “In writing to the minister with responsibility for culture and to the Prime Minister, it is clear that those affected persons have confidence that both office-holders are fair and just men. I agree with that view.

National Carnival Commission chairman Winston “Gypsy” Peters. File photo/Roger Jacob

“However, Pan Trinbago is an organisation incorporated, that is, given its legal status, by an act of Parliament, and it is an organisation that is governed by a constitution agreed to by all its members. The constitution contains the mechanisms by which aggrieved parties may resolve disputes, and failing which, aggrieved parties may approach the courts for relief.

“Pan Trinbago’s constitution does not place any role for dispute resolution with the minister responsible for culture or with the Prime Minister. And any member of Pan Trinbago familiar with the constitution ought to know this.”

Peters thought the best way to help the group resolve this matter was to give it advice.

“I have nothing to do with this, it is Pan Trinbago business,” he said.

He told Newsday not only is he unable to intervene, but he has no power to help resolve the matter.

“I would ask them to get together and try to resolve this problem quickly for the sake of our national instrument.

“I’m the chairman of NCC and that has nothing to do with NCC. But anything that has to do with the culture in TT concerns me so I am looking forward to them dissipating (the dispute) in whatever way. Still, I am helpless to do anything, anyway.

“I’m concerned for the pan fraternity. The pan has not done anything, it’s just an instrument and is the pawn in all of this and it’s the only thing suffering in all of this.”

Peters said he is not offended by the group's decision to bypass the NCC to seek redress from the PM.

“If they feel the prime minister is where they are going to get the assistance, then by all means, let them go. I don’t feel any how.”


"Mitchell, Gypsy to Pan Trinbago: Keep us out dispute"

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