Government to pay pan players $500 each

Genesis Pan Groove players pay tribute to the late Leroy
Genesis Pan Groove players pay tribute to the late Leroy "Black Stalin" Calliste performing Bun Dem at the Panorama small bands semifinals, Victoria Square, Port of Spain on Saturday. - SUREASH CHOLAI

Grants for unsponsored steelbands and remittances for steelband players have returned for Panorama 2023.

A release from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts on Saturday said Cabinet approved a remittance of $500 per steelpan player for Panorama 2023, for a maximum of 6,283 players which cost government approximately $3,141,500. In previous years, players were given a remittance of $1,000 each.

To qualify, players must be a TT citizen, a holder of a national ID card or other legitimate identification, a registered player with an eligible steelband, and perform with a band up to the preliminary round of Panorama.

The grants amount to $15,000 for conventional bands and $7,500 for single pan bands. They would be made available to 94 conventional bands and 59 Single Pan Bands to the tune (pun intended) of $1,852,500.

“These measures are taken in recognition of the significant role steelbands and the steelband movement plays in the cultural and social fabric and development here in TT, as well as, the financial difficulties faced by individuals and organisation in the steelpan movement as a consequence of the covid19 pandemic.

“These measures are aimed at taking advantage of the opportunities for human and social development, as well as engendering community pride and ownership that are available through greater participation in the Steelband movement and the structure and discipline it provides at its pan yards during the Carnival season and throughout the year.”

Speaking to Sunday Newsday at the Small Conventional Panorama semi-finals on Saturday at Victoria Square, Port of Spain, Pan Trinbago president Beverley Ramsey-Moore said she is ecstatic about the ministry’s decision, and she knows the bands and their players are happy about it.

“Pan is a lot of really hard work. It’s all about giving of your time and talent in service to community. Think of how these young people are so committed to the practice and spending long hours, keeping them off the street... The return of the remittance is really really a rewarding thing. I know it is going to go a long way.”

She believes the remittance, which was initially $1,000, was stopped in 2018 because the government wanted PanTrinbago “to get its act together.” Now that it is reinstated and the organisation in the process of “repairing it damaged brand,” she said PanTrinbago will negotiate with government to hopefully get the remittance returned to the $1,000.

Frontline players fo West Side Symphony at at the Panorama small bands semifinals, Victoria Square, Port of Spain on Saturday. - SUREASH CHOLAI

Ramsey-Moore said members of Pan Trinbago are ready to take the organisation to another level, where there can be financial and social prosperity as well as holistic development in pan.

So she is elated about the support Pan Trinbago has been receiving from government and corporate TT.

“We are very concerned about what is happening in our communities. So for 2023 onwards, we are going to do much more. We want to use the steel drum for peace in the communities. We have our work cut out for us but we’re up to the task.”

In addition, Ramsey-Moore praised the high energy and excellent playing of the bands on Saturday.

“When you think about the amount of youthful players and arrangers, I am so pleased with what I am seeing thus far. As a result, we have made a decision to take 16 bands instead of 14 into the finals, because the performances and the standard is so high.” The finals takes place on January 14, Grand Stand, Queen's Park Savannah.

While there will be an increase in the number of bands in the small conventional finals, the number of bands that will move on to the finals in the large and medium categories will remain at 12.


"Government to pay pan players $500 each"

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