Members of the steel band fraternity are adamant that the 2016 Panorama championship was never concluded.
The Grenada Steel Band Association (GSA) made known its displeasure over the way Panorama was handled during a press conference held at Tropicana Conference Room last week Wednesday.
Association member, Brian Sylvester felt that the state-controlled Grenada National Lotteries Authority (GNLA), the main sponsor of Panorama, was robbed of an opportunity to showcase its involvement in carnival.
Sylvester who read from a statement that was made available to members of the media registered GSA’s “disgust and disappointment” with the manner in which the 2016 Panorama Championships were treated by Spicemas Corporation (SMC).
The GSA member who is the Manager of Republic Bank Angel Harps provided the media with an account of a series of meetings the association held with SMC to discuss their concerns about the national event that took place on August 6th.
According to him, between December 2015 and June 2016, five meetings were held with SMC and several of the issues raised by the panmen were not addressed.
This year’s panorama was forced to share the national stadium with a private show on the same night.
Sylvester claimed that SMC never communicated with GSA about the staging of “Xtreme White” at the Grenada National Stadium on the night of Panorama.
“The staging of Xtreme White event came to the attention of the Grenada Steel band
Association only after a flyer advertising the event was made public on social media. It was then that the Grenada SteelBand Association contacted SMC seeking answers,” he said.
GSA rejected a proposal from SMC to have Panorama moved to another venue.
“The stadium is the national stage, it is where all the national events are being held. We (GSA) are part of Carnival and by extension culture, an integral part of culture. The show that was held after Panorama was not, so anybody that had to move was Xtreme White”, he said.
“We didn’t see it fit for us to move. Xtreme White came about because of Carnival, Carnival came about because of culture. The national stage is at the National Stadium, and any national show must have precedence over anything else that is happening”, he added.
The steel band fraternity felt that nothing was being done by SMC to prepare for Panorama, and concluded that the actions of the officials were based on what the promoters of Xtreme White wanted.
Sylvester indicated that one day prior to Panorama, GSA was forced to accept a time-change of 6:00 p.m. for the start of the show instead of the advertised 7:00 p.m. to facilitate the private show.
Acting GSA President Miguel Fortune gave an account of what happened on Panorama Night.
Fortune said when the steel bands arrived at the stadium for the “forced time change,” a sound check for the private show was being undertaken which caused a start of one hour later.
“It is clear that the two (events) cannot happen at the same venue,” he told reporters.
Former GSA President David “Peck” Edwards indicated that since 2009, the GSA has vehemently objected to the staging of any “White Show” on the same night of Panorama.
“Our fundamental principle is that there should be no private and competing event when we have national events, and since 2009 we objected to that when it was a distant way in St. Andrew’s. So for 2016 to have a show at the same venue with us that we know, and a venue that is considered to be the national stage, that was very disrespectful in our opinion,” Edwards said.
The former GSA President stated that assurances were given since 2010 to undertake some form of adjustment to the legislation governing SMC to avoid a repeat of 2009.
He noted that due to GSA’s pro-activeness that SMC became aware that the legislation was flawed.
Edwards said that in order to conclude any prize-giving ceremony, the GNLA normally presents a cheque to the winning bands on the night of Panorama.
“That was not done and we think that’s a grave injustice to the National Lottery and to the pan fraternity,” he told reporters.
The panmen and women are prepared to put their foot down to avoid a recurrence of what happened in 2016 at any future Panorama Championship.
The former GSA President announced that from hereon, while not being confrontational, the pannists will ensure that what happened this year would not be allowed to happen next year.
“We, from now, are taking efforts to ensure that we inform you… that while it happened this year and we tried to be principled, we are taking ….action to ensure that it does not happen again next year, so we’ll be proactive, but not confrontational,” he said.