Culture Minister addresses issues surrounding Pan Association

Newly appointed Minister of Youth Development, Sports, Culture and Arts, Norlan Cox is working along with the state-run Spicemas Corporation (SMC) to address the issues that are currently facing the Grenada Steel Band Association.

Minister of Culture, Norlan Cox

Speaking on a current affairs programme last week Wednesday, Minister Cox said that the solution to addressing the problems faced by the association must begin with the installation of strategies with government’s cultural policy.

“We must first, I believe, start with a critical policy document which is a cultural policy and I must commend the Cultural Foundation of Spicemas for implementing a significant portion of the cultural policy and that is where everything stems from”, he said.

“I’ve already indicated to Pan my willingness to have that engagement with them going forward so I presume if not by this week, certainly by next week I will be engaging them in that regard”, he added.

Cox went on to say: “As you know, there are a number of things happening, so we keep moving quickly and we’re trying to engage as much people as possible.”CEO of Spicemas Corporation, Kirk Seetahal who also appeared on the radio programme, hinted that the Steel Band Association, under the leadership of Jason Skeete, is in good hands.

Seetahal also referred to the unfortunate situation in the last carnival season in August when the lack of a stage forced the cancellation of the annual Panorama competition which is a part of the Spicemas festival.

“What happened last year really have to make all of us take account and take account of the importance of pan and take account of what needs to be done and that there needs to be some serious dialogue…”, he said.

“There were hundreds and hundreds of recommendations put forward, people called with all kind of different scenarios and it is something that we have to look at and I am happy to see the Grenada Steel Bands Association under the leadership of Mr. Jason Skeete pushing forward because I know they have judges’ workshops happening this month. They have the symposium happening this month which is key and important”, he added.

The Keith Mitchell-led government has not given any details of the report submitted by the Colin Dowe-led committee to look into the Panorama fiasco.

The then Minister of Culture, Brenda Hood had taken responsibility for the failure to host the Panorama competition.

According to Minister Cox, his ministry has a plan to develop Pan in Grenada and to help alleviate the many problems faced on a yearly basis by the movement.

He said, “As regards to pan, I can even go far as Carriacou and Petite Martinique – it’s a critical social asset for us. My two daughters (are) involved in playing pan, I know how much they love it and so what we need to do is to have that discussion, look at all the aspects that need to work on.

“…We have issues with training, we have issues with infrastructure in terms where we can have that teaching aspect taking place. We have also issues with finances…there are a number of things that we are looking at.

There are some positives, I wish not to go into the details but we have a plan. We have a plan and we are going to go forward to ensure that pan operates along with other critical social assets, operate in a sustainable way.

“The main focus is for us (is) to sustain it….and you find that happening, four, five years things going nice and then for some reason a particular individual decides that well I contribute enough, I am taking a back seat.

“We recognise also the issue of commitment form a critical part in the sustainability process for us. We’re working towards that and I can say that we’re on a good part right now.

Grenada’s Spicemas festival will run from August 13-14.

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