TO match the “mother of all Carnivals,” Pan Trinbago president Beverly Ramsey-Moore said Panorama 2023 will be a grand affair as it will be the diamond jubilee.
Speaking to Newsday on Sunday night at the launch of Panorama 2023 at Massy Trinidad All Stars panyard on Duke Street, Port of Spain, Ramsey-Moore said the first Panorama in two years will be a jubilation that will be marked with “style and class.”
The theme for next year will be “Nothing sweeter than pan.”
“In 2020, we somewhat re-engineered the Panorama, in that the medium bands final was held in Tobago. We carried a national event on a large scale for the very first time in Tobago, and we are going back to Tobago in 2023 with the medium bands final.
"The large bands, of course, will be another standalone but what we are going to be doing for 2023, instead of ten bands going into the finals, we are going to carry in 12 bands. So that is really, really a big one.
"Another thing is that the North Stand will be back!”
At the launch of Carnival 2023 the previous day, Tourism, Culture and the Arts Minister Randall Mitchell said coming out of this year’s Taste of Carnival, next year will be a grand affair, dubbing it the mother of all Carnivals.
Ramsey-Moore said the North Stand has nostalgic powers that will help to fan the uniting power of pan come next year and hopes corporate TT will partner with Pan Trinbago. Along with the North Stand comes the return of the Greens, which for many years pan lovers despised, as the fete-like atmosphere took away from the pan. Ramsey-Moore said this will change in 2023.
“I am telling you straight out that I don't like the Greens. As a bandleader I really felt that it was distracting, and I would normally tell my band, don't strike a note until they're quiet. I could do without that distraction.
"But at the same time, as we move forward, we need to find other avenues, so even the persons who really don’t like Panorama but just want to be in this space, we have to find a way to include them. Also, we have to ensure that we have sound management to control the posse when the bands are on stage.”
Ramsey-Moore said Panorama will kick off on Friday with the single pan preliminaries, with the finals in early December. In January the small bands finals will be held before moving on to the medium and large bands.
She said while the 2023 Panorama will be the diamond jubilee, the prize money for the competition, for her, lacks the regal status befitting such an occasion. She said she wished the $2 million first prize for large bands could return .
“We speak of a mother of all Carnivals; we do not have the mother of all Carnival money.
"But for us, it is going to be the performances, the execution of the music and all of that. Our bands are committed because we say that pan is community soul. Pan is Trinidad and Tobago, and we are prepared to give the crowd and give the audience a special show, a dynamic show, one that they will never forget.”
Asked about the possibility of increasing the prize money for next year, Mitchell, who was at the launch, said that was up to the National Carnival Commission (NCC), which he said is well resourced for a full Carnival.
Asked about plans to make pan the national instrument with legal backing, Mitchell said: “We have drafted something and now is to take it to the Ministry of the Attorney General for their eyes. Then there are some consultations, then we will bring it to Parliament.
“It will be great to bring that to Parliament for the diamond jubilee. I can’t tell what the parliamentary agenda is. It is a simple piece of legislation simply declaring pan a national instrument of TT. We have done the research: we have seen where other states and countries have declared musical instruments their national or state musical instruments, and we have adopted a draft piece of legislation, we have developed a policy, and we will see where it goes.”
On Sunday, while the dignitaries remained in the VIP area, the crowd outside thoroughly enjoyed pan from the likes of Uptown Fascinators, NGC Couva Joylanders, BP Renegades, Massy Trinidad All Stars and the Prison Service Band.
Those who didn't record their performances livestreamed them. One woman, Cheryl West-James, had her two sisters – Jennifer Thomas in Canada, Marilyn West in Atlanta – and her two daughters, Lashanna James and Michelle West, on a WhatsApp video call. The women were supporting her son Stephon West, arranger for the Joylanders.
Some pople stood still as they looked on. The rhythmic pounding of the pan evoked the gyrating of waists for others, jumping off the concrete ground for a few and the two-step chip in some. Drinks and phones were seen in hands, and very few people wore masks.
Raymond and Denise Straker said they left Tobago to come to the launch of Panorama and will return on Tuesday. Raymond is an All Starts supporter having grown up in Mango Rose, East Dry River, while his wife, who grew up in Woodbrook, is a Starlift supporter.
They said their love for pan brought them to All Stars' panyard, along with the young, young at heart and not-so-young who could not hide their jubilation over the country’s national instrument, whether or not it is supported with legislation.