support of pan finals in South
positions being stated by certain steelband leaders about
the Panorama finals being held in Skinner Park, San Fernando,
do not surprise me one bit.
Being around the movement as long as I have and listening
to some of the leaders talk in public and in private, I knew
that steelbandsmen are still in a dogfight and it will take
us some time to rise to the occasion. What is this occasion?
Steelbands have become big business all over the world except
in T&T. Today people are leaving universities and joining
the steel pan industry, making it their career. But here in
the land of its birth we are fighting year after year over
a competition that is taking us nowhere. Its a dead-end
It is time we look rationally at the real position in which
we find ourselves. How many bands really benefit from Panorama?
After six to eight weeks of sacrifice, the majority of steelbands
end up dejected in their panyards long before Ash Wednesday.
We talk about the tourists coming for Carnival to hear the
steelbands. Is it five or six in Port-of-Spain, three from
the East and one or two from South and Tobago? The tourists
themselves complain that when they visit the panyards around
Carnival they cannot hear a tune...its only one line
They want to hear and jump to steelbands on the streets of
the mecca of pan. The festival is not Panorama. It is Carnival.
We have taken ourselves away from Carnival because of this
Pannists must not be distracted by the selfish few among us.
We must seek to get back in the Carnival, that is where we
all can benefit: all the pre-Carnival shows, bringing mas,
competitions on the road from JOuvert to last lap. Only
then will we all be able to enjoy our national cultural festival.
Let us look at Panorama 2007. The Grand Stand area in the
Savannah is not available, so we seek an alternative venue.
That should not be an issue. The Grand Stand was constructed
with horse racing in mind, not Panorama. The horses were there
for years and they were relocated. No horse, jockey, trainer
or owner died because of it. So what is the big issue with
relocating Panorama, particularly having the finals in South?
Isnt it called the national Panorama? Is San Fernando
not part of this lovely nation of ours? Come on people, lets
stop all this stupid talk about logistics and suitability
of large town bands and children having to travel so
far etc. Just try it, you may like it.
You go to Point Fortin Borough Day without a fuss. You try
the Sugar and Energy Festival, San Fernando City Day, Arima
Fest, Caribbean Panorama in Grenada. Going to Skinner Park
will only take a little extra effort on your part and we know
you can do it. Southerners have been doing it for more than
four decades without complaining and extra financial assistance.
Let us not get carried away by those who prefer to hang out
on the drag and not spend one red cent at the
gates to see and hear the steelbands perform. They say pan
is we thing and we shouldnt have to pay.
But at Skinner Park if you really want to see and hear the
bands on stage you will have to pay to get in and that spells
Patrick Arnold and his team deserve special kudos for their
foresight and strength of conviction. It is a thankless job,
but somebody has to do it.
Michael Leroi Joseph
PRO, Pan Trinbago
Time to pass those crime bills
again the citizens of T&T are being asked to accept mediocrity
and failure as a part of life.
The people of this country continue to live in fear for their
well being and the only consolation given are statements that
crime is down. Meanwhile, politicians continue to play out
cheap politics in the nations Parliament.
On November 18, 2005, Prime Minister Patrick Manning and then
Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday made a commitment to the citizens
of this nation to have nine bills (dubbed the crime bills)
passed in the Parliament.
This decision, by both the Government and the Opposition,
had come on the heels of the very successful Keith Noel 136
Committees Death March. To date, after more than one
year, the Parliament has failed to bring the crime bills into
Who is responsible for this? Who is going to tell the mothers
of this nation that their children have been killed as a result
of their inaction?
It is an absolute disgrace that the political leaders of T&T
can sit by aimlessly as our country falls apart, watching
countless families being destroyed as a result of murders
and kidnappings and not feel any pain.
YEStt once again calls on the parliamentarians to understand
the responsibilities appointed to them and deal with the murderous
crime situation. It is therefore imperative that all nine
crime bills, specifically the DNA bill not only be immediately
brought before the Parliament in a debate and passed into
law but be enforced.
Lesson for T&T in St Lucia polls
defeat of the St Lucia Labour Party in elections this month
did not come as a major shocker, although I expected the incumbent
to pull off a narrow victorynot the 14-3 win that the
The governing party should have known that it had lost ground
among voters because that is what I found when I was last
on the island a year ago. If pollsters told them otherwise,
then the party was mislednot that it could have done
anything to save itself from defeat because voters wanted
I did not conduct a survey for the elections but when I was
in St Lucia last year, voters told me they wanted change and
were complaining about rising crime and corruption and a decline
in revenues from the banana industry, which was falling apart.
I was surprised when I read that the polls forecasted landslide
victories because that was not the reality on the ground when
I moved around the island and queried voters.
Something went wrong with the normally reliable opinion polls
of the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Research Services
(Cadres) of Peter Wickham and of Jamaican pollster Bill Johnson
(from Carl Stones Poll).
The United Workers Party of former Prime Minister John Compton
has won 11-6. Several seats were very close and may fall within
the polls margin of error. The pollsters will have to
figure out how and why they were misled, if indeed they got
Congrats are in order for Compton who has pulled off a stunning
upset. No one expected an 82-year-old former Prime Minister
to make a comeback. It is unprecedented for Caribbean (indeed
An important lesson for T&T politicians from the St Lucian
election is the impact of crime and corruption. Unless the
Government gets a handle on crime and cracks down on corruption,
we could see an upset at the next polls.
UNC must act like Opposition
what planet is the UNC living on? I have been looking on and
wondering this especially in the last few days.
One newspaper shouted from its front page, Enough is
enough. Another newspaper carried the photograph of
a philanthropist kidnap victim! Inside the papers were stories
of murders and robberies.
The news items on radio and television were hot with possible
port closure and corruption probe.
And what is the UNCs biggest news item? It elects Basdeo
Panday, who is out on bail after appealing a conviction, as
its political leader!
Do they recognise that there is life outside of Rienzi? Has
the collapse of their party blinded them?
For Gods sake, worthless as the party is, it still the
Opposition and should try to act like it until the next election.
Buck must stop with minister
Minister of National Security really has no shame!
Just as one woman was released by kidnappers (thank goodness)
and another taken violently, he had the gall to say that the
increase in kidnapping is caused by business owners who use
enforcers to collect debts.
In any normal society where an individual constantly and continually
fails to perform and seems to have no sense of personal responsibility
for the job, that person would be fired.
When will the buck stop where it should?