Pan In Danger!!!


That’s the only word THE NEW TODAY can find at the moment to describe the treatment handed out on Saturday night to the winning band at this year’s Panorama that is part of Spicemas 2016.

FLOW Commancheros was prevented from going on stage to celebrate the victory after the results were announced at the venue, which is the national sporting stadium at Queen’s Park.

This newspaper is forced to adopt the song written and sung by late Trinidad calypsonian “Merchant” that  “Pan In Danger.”

Saturday night’s event will serve once again to lead supporters of this wonderful musical instrument to reinforce their view that pan in Grenada is indeed in danger after witnessing the events that unfolded before their very eyes.

The blatant and scant courtesy and disrespect shown to Cheros after winning the competition is highly unacceptable.

Some blame must be put at the footsteps of the Minister of Culture, Sen. Brenda Hood who heads that Ministry along with the CEO of Spicemas Corporation, Kirk Seetahal whose mandate is to promote all aspects of our culture.

It was sad to sit in the stadium and witness first hands that members of Flow Commancheros after winning the competition were prevented by members of the Production team from taking to stage to celebrate their victory – a customary practice for any of the winning bands.

And the strong arm of the law to be precise senior Police Officers
were used by the powers-that-be to chase patrons out of the stadium to facilitate a private show.

Is this one of the things that was in the bag by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SMC that for Spicemas 2016 it will not be business as usual?

Too much lip service is being paid by those in charge of the artform when they come in the public space and domain and give nothing but false assurances that certain shows will not be allowed to clash with the official carnival events.

THE NEW TODAY calls on all concern to make sure that every effort be made to give pan the courtesy and respect it deserves.

We must not lose sight of the pain the men and women who play this important instrument have to go through night after night in getting their respective bands ready for panorama.

Many parents can be seen around the various pan houses very late into the night waiting around to take their children home after a practice session to fine tune for Panorama night.

And when the winning band is announced the players are prevented from going on stage to celebrate this momentous occasion? This is not acceptable.

Even the cost of preparing a band for panorama is very expensive. And that is how we treat our pan players at the end?

The money provided by Corporate Grenada to the steelbands is just a drop in the bucket, although this pittance is appreciated.  But what about the unsponsored bands which have to struggle to pull through, just for the love of the culture.

Steel Band Arranger of Flow Commancheros, Andre Greenidge was totally correct in telling the local media “I am vex.”

Greenidge made it clear that having won the panorama competition on a national stage, they are unable to come before the people to thank them for their support on a night when pan should be able to rule supreme at the national stadium.

This newspaper holds the view that both SMC and the Management of the stadium should be very sensitive in allowing the promoters of private shows to book the stadium for events on the same night as the major carnival shows.

There should be no clash with our national events.

What happened on Saturday night is highly unacceptable and disrespectful to our pan men and women especially at a time when women as well as children are gravitating towards playing that form of musical instrument.

What is the message coming out from the Ministry of Culture?

Isn’t it the same Ministry of Culture that is using already scare taxpayers money to send persons to the schools in an effort to promote the art of playing pan at the school level?

Why chase out the pannists from the national stadium in order to facilitate a private show?

Shame, shame, and more shame on all those who disrespected pan last Saturday night at our premier cultural venue at Queen’s Park.

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