As a peaceful and law-abiding citizen, and as a hardworking taxpaying Grenadian, or more so, as a poignant lover of Steelpan music, I am motivated to ask a few questions about the state of Pan in my country.
I have heard all the market talk, all the rum talking, all the political prattle about steelpan, especially after the calamity that left patrons of the 2017 Panorama finals in awe, today many are still in anguish after the effects of such an appalling episode.
It was also pleasing to see the members of the steel band association coming together to have their new constitution adopted, and also install a new executive committee, led by a young vibrant, no-nonsense, go-getter, Mr. Jason Skeete.
If the truth be told as much as he may have what it takes, I only hope he knows that it will be a quavering task in trying to change the mindset of some of the older ones who were there for years and have nothing to show in terms of what they did for the development of pan during their tenure.
The movement has been stagnated for years, and I remember the days of Raymond Anthony and Bobby Benjamin, and so on, and really we had much to launch off from, but something went wrong somewhere.
My sources tell me that for years there has been:
-No financial accountability from the past ten years or more.
– Less than a poor method of conducting business, and the business of the association was conducted for years without an official letterhead, and email address, among other things.
-There have been some questions concerning the financial management of the business of pan during the past few years
-Those members of the various bands have been calling for greater accountability and support from the Executive Committee.
Now with this new dispensation, the new and vibrant Executive Committee gave me a little more confidence, because I can see a clear difference in the governance of the business of steel pan.
This is so because the new executive reached out to all bands to hear their concerns for the first time ever.
I choose my words carefully because this new Executive Committee will also have to prove to me that they have the tenacity to do what is right even though I know they are constantly attacked by some members of the previous Executive. Even trying to sabotage activities put on by the newly elected executive committee.
It is also my hope that the various steel bands make a special effort to ensure that their business is in order as well.
Members of various bands have been speaking about their own internal business structure, about their own internal financial management; about their own inter public relations and the overall participation in the holistic development of the industry.
Public speculation has it that one steel band has already started with a full shake-up, after a senior member was unable to account for hundreds of thousands of dollars or maybe up to a million from the steel band account.
The truth is, if this level of financial mismanagement has been taking place in the various bands, then I quiver to think what was happening inside the former governing body, especially since we are speaking about the same people who were leading the bands were also in charge of the steel band association.
Another element is the constant mismanagement of the flow of information between the band and the leadership – we cannot harp on secrets and lies.
Maybe at some point sooner than later, someone may want to consider a forensic audit into the funds of the association, and the bands.
Mr. Jason Skeete, please do not hesitate to clean up and clear up all potential forms of alleged mismanagement by the previous executive of the Grenada Steel Band Association.
If there is anything in the pipeline it must be cleared and cleaned.
The loudmouth and arrogance of the past must never be allowed to surface to stunt the growth of the Steel Band Movement. What is necessary is to have a very good relationship with the people in charge of culture in our country first before you can have your way.
The members of the various bands are clearly in support of the direction this new Executive Committee is currently taking the pan movement to another level, but, as usual, there are the “ones who are acting in a power hungry” mode and are behaving as if something was stolen from them.
Corporate Grenada has shown their interest and willingness to work with the new leadership, which should be a lesson to the former executive that they need to allow the business of pan to move ahead.
If this new group has the trust of the business community then it will only work well for steel pan.
The Government needs to show that they are also serious about the development of the industry, by making some serious commitments and working along with the new leadership going forward.
The members also need to demonstrate a decisive attitude towards growth and development of the pan movement and to ensure this new executive body remains focus by enhancing the image, reputation, financial standing, and personal development of all members.
I am looking forward to Panorama 2018 because something is telling me it will be great, something is telling me it will be different, something is telling me there are numerous plans in place to have more steel pan played throughout the year.
Let the truth be told, I like what that sounds like. I am seeing a difference, and I like it, but like every other Grenadian, ah watching too.
Steel Pan Lover