A leading figure in the pan movement in neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago has left Grenada with a bitter taste in the mouth following the cancellation of the 2017 Panorama championship in Spicemas 2017.
Ex-player with former TNT Panorama champions, Trinidad All Stars Steel Orchestra, Sylvester Enile, is dumfounded over the decision by the authorities to allow a show involving a private promoter to take prominence over a national event like Panorama.
“This year I was very disappointed with the way the Carnival Committee handled things because I am of the belief that the Pan, Mas and kaiso (are) bringing revenue to the state – so (I) cannot see how the state could rent their facilities where they are supposed to be having their (national) activities to a private promoter on the same night as Panorama”, Enile told THE NEW TODAY newspaper in an exclusive interview.
The pannist who played with All Stars from 1973-1989 has been a frequent visitor to the island in recent years to attend Carnival.
This year’s panorama competition was called off at the last minute on August 12 at the national stadium due to an incomplete stage.
However, the same venue was used later in the night to host a show the ‘Xtreme White’ show by private promoter, Ian ‘Judah’ St. Bernard.
According to Enile, the authorities should instruct the private promoter to put his show on a night which does not clash with national events.
“Every year I am in Grenada for Carnival (and) I feel that the private promoter should find a next night…I can’t see how they having (Xtreme White) on the same night as Panorama. Let them (the private promoters) find a day in the week before the Carnival,” said Enile, who is now involved in the industry as a pan maker and tuner on the neighbouring island.
“The committee that is in control of the facilities for Carnival need to sit down and rethink how they do things because I can’t see how no private promoter, when coming to the Carnival, taking over in such a manner that the panorama can’t go on”, he added.
He went on: “It was a big embarrassment, not for the country alone but also for pan because after all these months of practice (and) setting up late, when I watched the condition of the kids long before David “Peck” Edwards, the President of the Grenada Steelbands Association) told them what going on (that there would be no panorama), it was sad”.
The Trinidad panman believes that the local organisation can run the Panorama on its own because back home, the steel band body in the Twin island republic has a “solid say” in how pan events are managed.
“Back at home we call the shots – the pan men run the panorama. We give the dates that we have and the government provides the facilities, while at the same time generating revenue for the state,” he remarked.
Another disappointed individual told this newspaper that her brother spent $3500.00 to purchase a ticket to come from Canada for Panorama.
She spoke of him feeling “very disappointed” with the turn of events as he travels back home every year to play pan with the Republic Bank sponsored Angel Harps Steel Orchestra.
“He was very, very disappointed…every year he makes it his duty to come and play pan,” said the woman of her brother who grew up in Mt Parnassus and has been playing pan since the age of 6.
President of the local Steelband association, “Peck” Edwards also told reporters that “the whole debacle (with Panorama) started last year when we (pannists) were pushed off the stage because of the same ‘Xtreme White’ show and it was very embarrassing”.
In recent years, there have been two privately-run shows, “White In The Moonlight,” and “Pure White”, taking place on Panorama Night.
Last year, the Xtreme White promoter sought permission from Spicemas Corporation (SMC) for the show to be held at the stadium on Panorama night and this left a sour taste in the mouths of panmen.
In an explanation to the public, “Judah” said that the state-controlled SMC owed him over $300, 000.00 for services previously provided and agreed to allow him to use the Stadium on Panorama night for a $30, 000 deduction of the debt owed to him.
THE NEW TODAY has been unable to confirm if a similar arrangement was made this year.