TWO major steelpan events – Pan in the 21st Century and Pan Down Memory Lane – are being dedicated to late Pan Trinbago president Patrick Arnold.
And bands participating in both events will compete for the Patrick Arnold challenge trophy, Pan Trinbago president Beverly Ramsey-Moore announced on Tuesday while delivering a tribute during Arnold’s funeral at the St Joseph RC Church, Bacolet, Tobago.
Arnold, 84, who served as Pan Trinbago head from 1996-2009, died on May 9 from Alzheimer’s disease.
He was the founder and manager of the small, Scarborough-based conventional band, Our Boys.
Ramsey-Moore told the congregation, “I want to tell you that we in the central executive now have taken a decision to make for the events this year, Pan in the 21st Century and Pan Down Memory Lane, to do it in honour of Patrick Arnold and those bands will be competing for the Patrick Arnold challenge trophy.”
Mourners, who included THA Secretary of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities and Transportation Tashia Burris, National Carnival Commission chairman Winston Peters and Innovative Democratic Alliance leader Dr Denise Tsoiafatt Angus, responded with lusty applause.
Ramsey-Moore said Arnold, who became Pan Trinbago president in December 1996, had dedicated his life to the steelband movement and constantly avenues to enhance the organisation.’
She said Arnold’s efforts laid the foundation for many of the benefits the fraternity currently enjoys.
Ramsey-Moore said Arnold was responsible for getting increased prize money for conventional bands in the national Panorama competition.
She also recalled that in 1997, the champion band received $37,000. But now that sum has risen to $1 million. Players’ remittances have also been increased from $200 to $1,000.
Ramsey-Moore said Arnold was also credited with introducing pan in schools and promoting the national instrument on a global stage in countries such as Ghana, US, Cuba and several Scandanavian destinations.
But she recalled that in his latter years in the organisation, Arnold suffered a terrible blow that left him shocked and heartbroken.
Ramsey-Moore said in the run up to Pan Trinbago’s leadership election in 2009, Arnold and his team had established a comprehensive strategic development plan that was designed to uplift the organisation.
She said the document was not well-received.
“According to Patrick, all hell broke loose.”
Ramsey-Moore said although the document was designed “to take the organisation to another level,” Arnold lost many of his compatriots.
“It called for professionalism in certain places…. It was all about setting up the government of pan, a proper ministry where those who were elected, your elections officer, your external relations officer, we have those portfolios, but administratively we don’t have anyone to assist us to back that up.
She added, “So you may win an election based on popularity but you don’t have the necessary tools that are required for you to execute your portfolio because if you check the constitution of Pan Trinbago, you will see where under each elected officer there are a number of things that you have to do but you don’t have the required money, you don’t have the tools to do it.
There is where that plan was pointing.”
As a result, Ramsey-Moore said, some members felt their jobs were in jeopardy.
“Some people felt if you bringing in this one and we bringing in the professionals they will lose their job. But it had nothing to do with that.”
She said Arnold contested that election as a lonely man and lost badly.
“He was treated badly and when he came off that stage… something went wrong – the shock, a man that would have laid down his life, just as Christ, used his credit cards and bank cards as ATM.
“In Pan Trinbago, we serve a constituency so it is not just about the bands but the members. And they will always come and Patrick spent and spent and spent his last dollar in that when he was not elected anymore and the shock of that defeat, I tell you something went haywire.”
Ramsey-Moore also announced that Pan Trinbago will be moving to a new venue in Port of Spain by July while the structure at Trincity will be completed in due course as the organisation’s industrial headquarters.
“So the focus is there. We have started to clean that place up and something will happen very soon.”
Peters and former national football coach Bertille St Clair also spoke.
The funeral culminated a procession from Old Tambrin Square, through the streets of uptown Scarborough, to the church.
Arnold was cremated at Belgrove’s Funeral Home, Lambeau.