“Since “Pum Pum” means pan, Kirk Seetahal loves “pum pum”.
This is the response given by Chairman of the Spicemas Corporation (SMC), Kirk Seetahal to reporters at a press conference to clear up speculations raised in Finley “Scholar” Jeffrey’s song,
“Pum Pum” which is creating quite a controversy for 2018 Spicemas.
Seetahal said that since the song hit the airwaves, it has been “personally painful for me”.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I am a human just like you and this has hurt me. It has made me the target of ridicule – in the morning before I get to the office I am heckled, when I go on lunch I am heckled, when I’m sitting on my verandah at home people pass by heckling”, he said.
“Honestly, this song has made it very difficult for me because it has embodied burdens and it has passed disparaging remarks at me. Whatever the creator of the song intended it to mean, that’s up for debate.
Individuals are using it to be very nasty towards me”, he added.
Scholar has defended the song by insisting that it focused on the failure of Spicemas under Seetahal’s leadership to hold a Panorama competition in 2017 while some pundits speculate that it addresses a particular gender issue.
Seetahal said that the song and how it is interpreted by the general public has made him a victim of bullying.
“It is my wish that no one has to go through what I have gone through these past weeks and I say this to the public, for the sake of anyone who is being bullied or abused, this experience is not easy and if anyone has a friend who is subject to bullying, give them as much support as possible”, he told reporters.
“I am (a) strong person, I think many of you know that. My aim is to stay focus and to get the business of Carnival done but I will say, speaking my truth, that this has been difficult to me”, he said.
According to the CEO of Spicemas Corporation, the song “Pum Pum” reflects a scene of personal “attack” on the part of the writer.
Seetahal said: “It also says that the gentleman (Scholar) who holds the highest office in the Ministry of Education, may not care about the example he is portraying to the children and teachers of this nation. One has to ask how does he address bullying in schools if he is involved in his own campaign of bullying.
“The song also tells of a man who has bait his career on attacking individuals, that he may not have grown as an artiste but maybe is not able to exist as an artiste if he is not attacking someone,” he added.
Scholar currently holds the position of Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education.
Seetahal stated that there are other much more important topics that Calypsonians can spend their time writing on instead of “Pum Pum”.
“In summary, it tells a sad tale of an individual who cannot seem to rise to a level where he only tackles the issues we face in our country and I could name it – child molestation, drugs, violence, big man interfering with little children…so many different issues that can be tackled by Calypsonians,” he said.
Seetahal confirmed that he has no intention to take legal action against Scholar on the song but prefers to spend his time doing the business of Spicemas.
“I am not interested in that… I am interested in the truth. I can speak my truth I am not hiding who I am. I am not telling you that something means something when it doesn’t mean something because I am not going to insult the intelligence of the Grenadian people.
“I think the Grenadian people are more concerned with whether I am getting the job done or not. I don’t want Spicemas to be about me.
What I do in my private confines and my personal choices has nothing to do with whether I am capable of handling the job – Spicemas is not about me.
Seetahal used the opportunity to dispel reports that he should take full blame for the Panorama fiasco in light of the failure of the organisers to erect a stage to showcase pan on the night of the competition.
He told reporters that he was against the directives that were given for the stage to be built but it was over ridden by his bosses.
He said, “If you were to ask any member of board, they will tell you that I objected on several occasions to the process and what was happening with Panoroma last year and it is on record in our minutes that I objected because I said to myself the contractor that we were asked to use that was recommended by the Steel Pan Association was the said contractor that we had the year before who could not deliver. It is in the minutes of my board…if you were to ask any member or any director on my board, you would see that regardless what I objected and I insisted that it be tabled in the minutes that I objected.”
“Now, I know a lot of people said that he is the CEO of Spicemas, yes, but I do have a boss, and my boss is the Board of Directors of Spicemas Corporation and the Minister of Culture. I cannot disregard the wishes of my boss. Even though I disapprove or I disagree with what is being done, I am hired in the operational capacity of Spicemas so I follow the orders given to me.”
An investigation into who was responsible for the failure to host Panaroma in 2017 was launched by government in September 2017 with Byron Campbell and Collin Dowe being given the task.
Seetahal said that the findings from the probe are still out on that.
“The investigation of who is responsible for the failure of pan has not been completed. For all I know, there were two Commissioners – I know that there was Mr. Dowe and Mr. Campbell. Mr. Campbell would have submitted his report, I think the report outstanding was that of Mr. Dowe. From all indication, I know that the new minister has requested that there must be some contingence or some level of closure, so hopefully we will get that closure very soon,” he remarked.
Former Culture Minister Brenda Hood took responsibility for the 2017 Panorama fiasco and resigned her post but was soon offered another high-paying position as Advisor to the new Minister of Culture.