With the annual Spicemas festival only four months away, government is making a last minute desperate effort to bring an end to a bitter internal feuding within the Grenada Steelbands Association (GSBA).
A well-placed source told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that Minister of Youth and Culture, Senator Norland Cox on Tuesday facilitated a meeting along with Attorney General Darshan Ramdhani with the President of GASA, Jason Skeete and two of his Executive members and several persons associated with the so-called breakaway faction involving the major bands on the island.
The source who spoke on condition that he was not identified said that Skeete walked out of the meeting after a certain statement was hurled at him by Andre Greenidge of defending panorama champs, Commancheros of St. Paul’s.
He stated that the GASA President deemed the remarks as unfortunate in light of a legal warning letter that was allegedly hand delivered to Greenidge months earlier requesting him to desist from making similar utterances in the future.
He quoted Skeete as saying that he now has no choice but to instruct his lawyer to take legal action against Greenidge for defamation of character.
Skeete has the majority support of seven of the small bands on the island while four other bands categorised as “the big bands” have been trying to form a new umbrella body outside of the GASA framework.
According to the source, the meeting continued despite Skeete’s departure with the Minister of Culture notifying the warring parties that he intended to call all the steelbands together for a Friday meeting to try and resolve the conflict.
The source said that there was a suggestion in the meeting to hold election of officers at the Friday meeting to put together a newlook GASA executive but it would be difficult to do so in light of the by-laws of the association governing the holding of elections.
He added that it was more than likely that most of the small bands would boycott the planned meeting in light of growing differences with the so-called group of rebels.
He pointed out that a government action plan is seemingly in the making to call individual bands and pay them to participate in the annual Panorama competition in August in order to avert a possible boycott of the event by some of the bands.
Grenada did not have a Panorama competition in 2017 as organisers failed to complete a stage to host the event resulting in an investigation that was allegedly aborted.