Supporting Grenada’s Carnival Culture for the Future

Brimming with pageantry and artistic expression linked to Grenada’s, African, French, British and Caribbean heritage, Carnival is colourful, humorous and full of surprises.

This is a time when the nation comes together to enjoy the celebration of its history and culture in the most picturesque manner.

The island also welcomes hundreds of visitors to do the same.

One week before Carnival Saturday the main events are preceded by the Children’s Carnival Frolic, held this year on August 5 at the National Stadium.

The importance of this event lies in the opportunity it affords, generations of young Grenadians to be involved with, and learn about, the importance of Carnival as a cultural expression and part of their heritage.

These young participants will be the next generation of masqueraders, playing ‘mas and the keepers of the country’s traditions and culture.

With this important baton pass of responsibility in mind, Guardian General Insurance (OECS) Ltd. once again lent its support to Commancheros & Associates – ‘This Is Us!’ through the sponsorship of the children’s pageantry section of the band.

The Children’s Carnival Folic began with Junior Panorama, where eight bands competed, followed by the individual traditional and fancy masquerades portrayals.

Managing Director of Guardian General Insurance (OECS) Ltd, Ronald Hughes, commented, “We see this as a golden opportunity to make our culture come alive for children, from a very young age. Our commendation goes to the band organisers for the extra time investment and their tenacious efforts to seek the financial support required to ensure that the Children’s Frolic remains an integral part of our annual Spice Mas Carnival events.”

He added, “It also allows a window for showcasing the talent of the nation’s youths, and may even give them access to the regional and international arena. That’s why we are very pleased to have been able to support Commancheros & Associates over the past five years to date”.

Investigation announced for Panorama cancellation

The Government of Grenada will launch an investigation into the circumstances which led to the postponement of the National Panorama Championships which were scheduled for Saturday, August 12th at the National Stadium.

The Government is extremely concerned about the fact that Panorama did not take place as planned and pan lovers, as well as pan players, including the large number of young people, were deprived of an opportunity to participate in this rich annual cultural tradition.

The Government expresses solidarity with pan lovers and everyone in general following the last minute postponement of this important aspect of our carnival and culture.

We recognise steel pan as an indispensible stakeholder in our biggest cultural festival which draws thousands to our island every year.

It is unfortunate that, at the height of the carnival season, pan players were not allowed to showcase on our biggest cultural stage, their extensive hours, days and weeks of preparation.

We reiterate our regret to the general public at home and abroad and to all our visiting friends for this unfortunate incident.

We promise a comprehensive probe with the aim of answering any lingering questions the public may have.

We are in communication with the necessary bodies responsible for making those decisions and we look forward to them providing timely answers.

Already we have been told that plans are being put into place to host Panaroma 2017 next Saturday.

Like the general public, we look forward to more details as plans unfold.

Research training for Multi-Dimensional Poverty underway in the OECS

Training seminars that build the capacity of public servants, and community representatives, in data collection on multi-dimensional poverty are currently being held in select OECS Member States.

The OECS Commission, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Sub-regional Office for the OECS and Barbados, is conducting Training of Trainer Workshops in Participatory Action Research on multi-dimensional poverty.

The initiative, which forms part of the Multi-dimensional Approaches to Poverty Eradication Project (MDAPP), has successfully completed training in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and Antigua and Barbuda.

Additional training sessions are scheduled to continue in Dominica and St. Lucia in the weeks to come.
UNDP Project Coordinator at the OECS Commission, Dr. Julie Xavier, said the MDAPP intends to leave each project country with trainers who will be equipped with the skills to train others in the implementation of this research methodology.

Participants were targeted from various social service ministries, as well as Departments of Statistics.
Project Coordinator at Grenada National Organisation of Women (GNOW), Jacqueline Pascal said that, despite her years of experience in the field as a researcher, the training highlighted areas for development.

“I have experience in doing research, both qualitative and quantitative, as well as interviewing techniques at the highest level. This gives a person a bit of complacency (with regards to) their knowledge base but, coming here, I have realised that I was on a learning curve as far as research is concerned,” Pascal said.

One participant from St. Vincent and the Grenadines commended the comprehensive nature of the new approach stating that “participatory action research encourages community participation and ensures that some specific action comes out of the research.”

Overall, the project is aimed at promoting greater awareness of the multi-dimensional nature of poverty through the development of policies and programmes that move away from the traditional focus income or employment, and underscore the importance of other dimensions of holistic human development such as experiences in health, housing, education, and feelings of safety and security.

The MDAP project is sponsored by the Government of Chile through the Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AGCID).

Boyzie takes soca crown again to Sauteurs

By Nisha Paul

Boyzie – retains Soca Monarch title

24-year-old Jalon “Boyzie” Olive made history at the National Cricket Stadium last week Saturday morning when he was crowned Soca Monarch for the third consecutive year on conclusion of the highly anticipated National Soca Monarch Competition.

Hailing form Sauteurs, St. Patrick’s also known as “Crown City”, Boyzie successfully defended his crown as one of the people’s favourite, performing a selection called “D intention” from position 13.

He was clad in a gold suit and surrounded by his accompanying team, which presented a display of various aspects of Grenadian culture.

Hoisted from a crane, the defending monarch, who was also joined on stage by former monarch Hollice “Mr. Killa” Mapp for a short while, completed his performance by taking full control of the packed stadium.

Lil Natty and Thunda copped the second spot

Boyzie amassed a total of 429 points, 7 more than his closest contender, the singing duo out of St. David, Lil Natty and Thunda (Dingaan Henry and Nyelon Williams) who opened the show with their top tune of the season, “Top Strikers,” which landed them 422 points.

Completely indulged in the historic moment, a humbled Boyzie told reporters that he had to work harder in 2017 than ever before to retain the prestigious title because the competition this year was a very stiff one.

The soca artiste thanked all those who supported him over the years, stating that this crown in particular means a lot to him because he always wanted to leave his mark in the industry.
With this win, Boyzie has broken the 3-time Monarchy tie he shared with Sheldon Douglas, Elvyn “Zingo Alexander, “Mr Killa” and “Luni Spark and Electrify.”

Boyzie, came on the scene in 2012 and served notice by placing second in the national soca monarch competition with a hit song, “Born Troublesome”.

Luni Spark and Electrify placed third

The following year in 2013, Boyzie captured the crown with a song entitled “Mass Everywhere”.
However, he was unable to successfully defend the title and placing third in 2014 with a selection called “State of Emergency.”

Boyzie bounced back in 2015 when he defeated his rivals in dethroning 3-times Soca Monarch winners, Kellon “Luni Spark” Ogiste and Kelson “Electrify” Ogiste with another big hit called “Batallions.”

This year, the former monarchs, Luni Spark and Electrify returned to the competition with a track called “Natural disaster,” and placed third (419 points).

The 4th In spot went to veteran entertainer, Elimus “Inspector” Gilbert on 384 points with his selection “Uncle still relevant.”

Shondell “Dash” Amada placed fifth (383 points) with his selection “Last Post.” He was followed by newcomer to the big stage, Kevon “Blaze” Francis in sixth on 382 points.

In seventh position was Javis “Muddy” Cuffie on 370 points with his rendition “Say a prayer.”

The other positions are as follows: Finley “Scholar” Jeffery came eighth on 362 points, followed by Sherwin “Mr. Walkie” Paul (354 points), Brendon “Killa B” McKie from the sister isle of Carriacou on 352 points, Rawle “Kandle” Thomas (338 points), Kenton “Bubba” Aston (327 points), Keron “Lil Kerry” Noel (323 points), Cloud 5 (Jason Phillip and Prince Andrew) on 316 points, Keishon Squeeze head” Hazard (315 points) and Sheldon Douglas on 265 points.

Dash retains national Groovy title

Policeman Shondell “Dash” Amada has successfully retained the National Groovy Monarch title with a selection called “Hit after hit,” having amassed a total of 435 points.

Dash – remains as the 2017 Groovy King

Dressed in a gold boxing outfit, the 26-year-old La Borie, St. George resident executed his rendition with a boxing demonstration coming to the end of his performance with matching gloves.

Speaking with reporters following his performance, Dash expressed full confidence that he did what was needed to retain the title this year.

In an earlier interview with THE NEW TODAY, the performer gave an insight into the concept of his song, which came about because of “the doubters” who had approached him at a popular bar in St George’s saying that he could never ever again make another hit like “No Company,” which won him the coveted title last year.

He wrote the song with the intention to prove them wrong and so he did, with an amazing performance last week Friday night at the National Cricket Stadium to retain the national title.

There were only two points separating the Groovy King from his closest contenders, Shem “Terror D Governor” Bernard who was caught up in a three-way tie on 433 points with Marcus “Lavaman” James and Wrenroy “Blacka Dan” Ogiste, who returned to the big stage after years of not participating in the competition.

Blacka Dan return to competition after a number of years

Lavaman performed his selection “No Personal,” Terror D Governor sang a song called “The Compliment,” while Blacka Dan did one of the favourite song for the season, “Last Horn.”
Blacka Dan told reporters that although he is a bit disappointed with the results, he respects the judges’ decision.

He also said he was quite pleased with the response of the crowd to his presentation and felt that he was received like he never left” the big stage and that “everyone had to bring their A-game to the table.”

Blacka Dan also indicated that he was in the process of rebranding and looking forward to stomping his mark in the industry.

Kirton “Alma Boy” Roberts placed fifth on 415 points with his selection “Mind games.” He was followed by Mandella Mc Donald (Mandella Links) in sixth position on 398 points with his selection “Richness” and Valene Nedd in seventh position on 389 points with her selection “Great things.”

Newcomer Alma Boy – performing his hit song “Mind Games”

Micah “Baracka” Joseph placed eighth on 388 points with his selection “Passe,” followed by Brendon

“Killa B” McKie on 386 points in ninth position with his rendition “I am a Grenadian.”

Lavaman

Damion “Pappi Boy” La Pompe scored 382 points to take the 10th spot with “Oh baby oh.”
Cariacou’s Patrick Dickson (Major Dickson) came eleventh on 376 points, with his rendition “Bumper vibration” and was followed by Otis Celestine (Otis) in twelfth position on 374 points with a song entitled “Ah safe.”

Finley “Scholar” Jeffery placed thirteenth on 373 points with a song called “Carnival tabanka,” while Mishael “Mr West” Williams copped the fourteenth spot on 353 points with his selection “Wings.”

Financial Sense…Stepping Out on Your Own!!

Passion and purpose, these are two very important and necessary ingredients for my journey through life. I believe if whatever you are doing does not make you happy, then it’s not worth doing.

I resigned from a job that held great promises for me, because doing that job and working with some of the people I worked with at the time brought me more dark days, than bright ones.

Too many of us are doing jobs or are in careers that bring us no joy, we simply go through the paces because it pays the bills. We all have special gifts and talents, however, only a few use those gifts and talents to live life to its fullest.

Bundling your gifts and talents with your personal purpose can not only lead to a satisfying, fulfilling and financially lucrative career but also a life full of great experiences.

So many people go to work every day feeling dissatisfied and unhappy with the work they do, it’s almost as if they are stuck in a rut unable to climb out, but there is a choice, we always have a choice.

You may be thinking “I have my family to feed; what am I supposed to do?”

As one reader, commented on my last article, that to achieve the things that I’m suggesting, people will have to eat grass; but that’s the kind of thinking that keeps us forever in a downward spiral. We can all achieve success because success looks different to each of us.

An abundant and happy life is not only for a chosen few. Yes, I agree that some of us were born into wealth, but they could easily squander that wealth, by simply making a decision to do so. It’s the same with the rest of us, we can decide that there is more to life than living month to month or going to a job we don’t enjoy, with people we dislike.

I am not suggesting that you walk off your job without an alternative, what I am suggesting is that you make a decision to have a more fulfilling life and take steps in that direction. The issue most of us would have is taking the steps necessary to make our lives better.

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who complained that life isn’t fair and that the universe is conspiring against them? Did you notice that every suggestion you gave to them that would help to enhance their situation, would be met with an objection as to why what you are suggesting will not work? That’s because it requires some purposeful action on their part.

People seem quite happy to sit around feeling sorry for themselves or going onto social media and getting involved in other people’s lives or situations that do not serve them in any way. We seem to be better at talking and complaining, rather than doing.

Resigning my job was the best thing to have happened to me in terms of a career move, don’t get me wrong I was nervous, but I used that nervous energy to push me toward what I wanted to do most – help in the development of people.

Starting my business was scary and exciting at the same time, scary because we all have a level of fear of the unknown, and exciting since this business will allow me to live my passion with purpose.

When you find your passion, you can use it to create your own business or find a job that aligns with your purpose. The idea is to start by defining what a successful, happy life would look like for you. This is not about what others may think, it’s about what you want for your life.

Once you have a firm idea of where you want to go, then you are now ready to take the necessary steps to get there. In our current economic climate, we work harder, play less and generally forget the reason why we strive to be successful in the first place – to enjoy life experiences. We must be willing to confront our fears to find out what drives us, and where our passion lies.

For me, helping others achieve is the forefront of everything I do. It’s about providing support, passing on knowledge, helping others to always give their best, and inspiring others to live purposely and with passion. You can give your best to others only when you live your passion purposely; without true passion, it becomes nearly impossible to reach your full potential.

Attempting to live with passion and purpose without clearly stated goals is folly, therefore it is equally important to have clearly defined goals and dedicate yourself 100% to the achievement of those goals. It is critical to remember that we all have passion and purpose in our lives, but some action is required on our part for activation.

(Judy McCutcheon is a partner in the firm Go Blue Inc, a Human Development Company)

The Panorama fiasco!!!

THE NEW TODAY is anxiously awaiting the outcome of the inquiry as announced by government into the fiasco that resulted in the cancellation of the national panorama championship last Saturday night at the national stadium.

There has been no official statement from the government set-up body known as Spicemas Corporation (SMC) as to what might have triggered the decision to call off the show that turned out to be a grave and serious national embarrassment.

Quite naturally, there has been all kinds of speculation from the public in the face of what appears to be a black-out on information from the panorama organisers.

The Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell has stated publicly and quite rightfully that anyone who is found culpable for the no-show that was panorama cannot be expected to remain in their position.

This newspaper can only conclude that the Prime Minister is prepared to take decisive action against even his own Minister of Culture, Senator Brenda Hood and the SMC Chief Executive Officer, Kirk Seetahal.

The cancellation of the annual Panorama competition has created a number of problems for SMC including the return of money for tickets purchased by patrons.

It is our understanding that several persons had already entered the Panorama venue at The National Stadium when the decision was taken over an hour after the scheduled start to call off the show.

Persons are claiming that on leaving the venue nothing was given to them to take back to the ticket outlets to recover their monies.

It will be interesting to see how SMC handles this particular problem.

THE NEW TODAY has been told by a number of persons that they come to Grenada every year to attend only the Panorama competition and have no interest in the other aspects of Spicemas.

The “No-show” that was Panorama might have left a bitter taste in their mouths.

There is talk about holding Panorama on Saturday but that can put some of the steelbands at a serious disadvantage.

Our information is that some of the bands like Flow Commancheros, Republic Bank Angel Harps and Coyaba New Dimensions have pannists who are flying out of the island to take part in this weekend’s Carifesta in Barbados.

Any resolution to the panorama fiasco must include a reasonable compensation package for all bands that were down to perform in the competition for their transportation and waste of time on the night in question.

Who can guarantee that the overseas Grenadians and foreigners who came for Panorama will still be on the island Saturday to attend the show?

The panmen must also take a deep look into their own representation at the level of SMC.

THE NEW TODAY understands that Pan has a representative serving on the SMC governing board and questions ought to be asked about that individual.

It will be interesting to find out what kind of information was filtered to the pan association by the member as regards the readiness and lack thereof of SMC to put on a Panorama competition as part of the 2017 Spicemas.

Was information forthcoming and what did the pan association do with the information given by its representative on the SMC board?

If that is the case then the panmen will have to shoulder some of the blame for what transpired on Saturday night.

However, if the representative of pan on the SMC Board was found to be sleeping on the job then the association should fall in line with the pronouncement made by the Prime Minister and take action against its own representative.

And the public also needs to know that taxpayers money were used to bring in foreign judges from Trinidad to adjudicate the panorama show.

Those involved in putting on this important cultural showpiece for us called Spicemas had 52 long weeks to learn from the mistakes of 2016 and rectify all the problems for 2017.

Pointing fingers at Judah Sound system for the failure to have a stage in place last Saturday night should not cut it with anybody worth their salt.

Police Welfare Association supports education

Fifty-six children who are sons and daughters of police officers were recipients of back to school stationery items and $200.00 in cash for being successful in the 2017 Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA).

ACP Trevor Modeste hands monetary contribution to parent

This annual initiative from the Police Welfare Association (PWA) that has been taking place for over 20 years, was held last week Friday at the Red Cross Building on Lucas Street, St. George.

The recipients were encouraged to put the donation to good use at the ceremony that was attended by Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Trevor Modeste and officials of the Welfare Association.

In brief remarks, Chairperson Cpl Jessel Grant reminded the recipients that the donations are made possible due to the hard work of their parents.

“Let me say to you students, it is your activity this afternoon. Yes, you might be saying time and time again, mom leaving me, dad leave the family and go to work…these are some of the returns and the benefits that you get when mommy and daddy work hard daily,” she said.

Chairperson of the CPEA Committee within the Welfare Association, Cpl Jason Hagley encouraged the recipients to continue to excel at secondary school, not forgetting that they each have a talent that can be used to contribute something to society.

“You have come to the end of your primary school life and you are about to embark on another journey, a different journey…a journey that will call on you to do more, to be more, to give more of yourself, allowing you to continue to build on the foundation received at the primary school level.

“…We encourage you to embrace your true potential, embrace and develop your talent, your skills, your strength. There will always be persons who are gifted in ways you are not. Remember you are blessed with your own unique gifts. How you use these gifts is what is important.

“You may fail the Social Studies exam the first time, challenge yourself to pass it the next time around.

You may receive a low but passing grade, challenge yourself to receive a higher grade the next time, compete against yourself but always stay focus on your goals and what you want to achieve.

Welfare Executive Member, Inspector Trevor Rodney was full in praise for the work of Welfare Association which he said shows its commitment time and time again to members of the police force.

He said: “We are glad that we can do something like that to demonstrate a commitment as the Welfare Association show you that we in fact care about the success that the students have achieved but I also want to let you know that that success came about because of your commitment, your dedication and the sacrifices that you have made in the lives of these children.

“…Let it serve as a motivation to continue to achieve further and this gesture serves to say to you students and even to you parents that you have succeeded and there is reward and the reward is translated in offering you something tangible that will affect how you do in your school life.

Recipients of CPEA grant from Police Welfare Association

“In the past we would have given cash but we examined it and we realise sometimes cash does not go the way that we want it to go for one way or the other. If that is accompanied by something that is tangible, something that you can receive and hence we purchased that quality of bags, you would notice sitting on the table…not just any bag but a quality of bag that will last for a while and bring some sort of satisfaction and that you would appreciate together with a small contribution of cash that will take care of the other expenses.

ACP Modeste who was representing the Acting Commissioner of Police at the event reiterated the importance of the parents’ roles in their children’s life and how it contributes to the success of the young ones.

“I would like to remind the parents that your children’s success is not their success, that’s your success; it’s you who have been successful, not your children. It’s your children but it is your success and in particular being Police Officers to succeed at this level is very stressful. Police Officers are out there mending and caring for other people’s business and their children and your children, you don’t even have time for them.

“…A society cannot function if the education is not continuing. So, it’s you the parents who train your children so you can have a brighter future. So, please remember it’s you and only you who make your children successful. As parents, you must understand that you should show your children love…”.

Postponement of Panaroma

It was a disappointing night for the nation’s steel orchestras as the 2019 national panorama competition scheduled for August 12th was abruptly postponed on the night the event was supposed to be held.

A look at the stage under construction on the night that Panorama was supposed to be held

Eight Steel Pan Bands were gathered at the National Stadium at Queen’s Park and left disappointed as the stage was not completed in time for their presentations.

It was quite noticeable that while patrons started to arrive in the venue for the event after purchasing tickets, the stage was still being built by the workmen contracted to do the job.

Even the lights for the stage were not in place around 9.00 p.m for a show that was advertised to start 8.00 p.m.

About one-and-three-quarters of an hour after the much delayed start, an announcement was made over the PA system sometime around 9.45 p.m. that the Panorama show was postponed until Saturday.

THE NEW TODAY understands a few minutes before the postponement, there was a meeting held between the Minister of Culture, Senator Brenda Hood and members of the Pan Association where the decision was taken to postpone the event.

Representative from defending champions, Flow Commancheros, Stephen Greenidge, expressed his disappointment with what he termed the disrespect shown to pan men.

According to Greenidge, it was decided by the bands themselves that Panaroma will not be held Saturday night because of the condition of the stage.

“The stage actually started yesterday (the Friday) morning. There was also some problems in starting to build the stage – it was supposed to start on Thursday, there was some difficulty…they did not have all of the materials that (were) promised”, he said.

“…Pan has been crying out disrespect since 2002 or 2003 when…we keep asking for respect, not just for pan but for the government to sign a legislation to protect all national events and that was not done…”, he added.

Greenidge believes that the show planned for tomorrow (Saturday) will not have the same effect as the traditional Panorama Saturday night – two days before carnival.

“It will not have the same effect on the players, on the patrons. Some of the foreigners they will not be here. Some of the players will be leaving (for Carifesta in Barbados). My band has players that will be going away to Carifesta – our best players, frontline players are going away to Carifesta and as the defending champions of Panaroma, we’re already compromised.

Pannists and their Bands outside of the National Cricket Stadium after it was announced that the event was being postponed

Like Greenidge Pan Ossia’s Robert Cadet also vented his frustration with the authorities for the postponement of Panorama.

“We came down with four trucks that we have to pay out of our pockets (as) we are an unfunded band. So, we have to go back up and come down again next week. We will have to spend double the money,” he said.

Cadet believes that the players in his band will be able to deliver their panorama piece on Saturday but that a lot of the enthusiasm will not be there.

“The players are capable … but as far as it (the performance) being at the level 10, no, because a lot of them might lose interest. Me, myself, I live in New York…we have to extend out tickets and this is on our pockets again.

“It’s going to affect the children a lot because really and truly, our band itself has a lot of children and we ask a lot from them.

Cadet noted that his players refrain from attending a number of pre-carnival fetes like the popular Preeday on the Wednesday before Panorama in order to put in hours in their practice sessions.

“…This (Panorama) is the one time, ten minutes, that they have to put on a show for people…they miss out all the events for Carnival and then to see that today (Saturday night) it is cancelled, it’s hard on the children…” he said.

Manager of Digicel Florida All Stars, Martin Joseph termed last Saturday’s postponement as the worst thing that ever happened to pan in Grenada over the decades.

“After you have prepared for months and it comes to this anti-climax. It was really a disappointment. We have volunteers who left Tobago from the ferry (and) actually came in from Trinidad to play with us…prepared and ready to execute and now there is no show.

“…Let’s look at the children for example, they worked hard in Junior Panorama, they also worked hard (for the) Senior Panorama, some of them and tonight, nothing happening. My understanding was that we were going to have a proper stage here. What we have is a platform and not only that, when we saw the people working on the stage, they were literally digging out ply because it was rotten. So, the stage was a no, no from the start. If you look at the size of the stage, some of the instruments will be on the grounds,” he remarked.

Panaroma 2017 is expected to be held on Saturday at the National Cricket Stadium.

PAN is still relevant

Two weeks ago, the Catholic Pharisees in Grenada were in a tizzy over plans to have the Ordination Ceremony for the new Bishop at Spice Basket and not the built and dedicated Cathedral in St. George’s. For a moment, they failed to remember that Peter’s offer to build a tent for the Lord was refused. They also forgot that human flesh cannot contain or limit the Lord and that His Glory is everywhere and in everything!

So the time is now that the Pan Association understands that pan was not made for the glory of Panorama. Pan is for the enjoyment of the people wherever it is played. Who says that the place of glory for pan music is a wooden stage at the stadium?

A few nights ago, my Millennium Gift, who plays with New Dimensions, awoke me from sleep to deliver the bad news! Panorama postponed! I had left the band practising in the precincts of the stadium after nine o’clock that night, having spent hours listening to the band do its final preparations.

I had walked over to the stadium carpark where Rainbow City All Stars was having a go at it!

I could tell that patronage was going to be poor, as usual, but could not have envisaged that the stage would not have been ready!

As far as I understand it, ‘Spicemas’ is one cultural event containing a variety of shows. My understanding also is that the SMC exists for the purpose of planning and executing the Carnival, all of it! To say that money was given to the Pan Association to build the stage is to trigger the basic principle that the SMC has a duty to hire competent contractors to get its work done. Other legal arguments attend the matter, but are not for this article to treat with.

The authorities have announced that an investigation will follow promptly. That is encouraging, but they have to ensure that competent people are appointed for the purpose. More broadly, they must also realise that the management of culture must be in the hands of our best sons and daughters. In this cause, neither the ‘Greenery’ nor the ‘Bleached-face’ matters. It is our culture that speaks for us and defines who we are as a civilisation. The current arrangements are inadequate and lacking. Let’s leave that there, for the time being.

In the meantime, the Pan Association has to clear its head. Do like Specky. No longer a boy singing “Two Bull Cow”! Now he sings ‘Uncle still relevant’! He has moved on to more success. Bigly!

Pan is still relevant to Carnival, but Panorama is dead! Relevance is established on two grounds; firstly, to who and; secondly, to what? Pan music is appreciated by people beyond its cultural/heritage value, as a source of musical entertainment. Breaking out the “who” factor, one finds that, on account of demographic and generational shifts, the main consumers of the Carnival product are young people (locals and visitors). Their primary interest in Carnival is not really the cultural/heritage value, but the fete/ party value.

Significantly, Carnival has become a huge fete and young people do not sit down to fete. Do not expect them to go sit in the stadium and listen to pan being played. They want to jam with pan music! So we have effortlessly established the “who” and the “what”.

Hopefully, the Pan Association will find the strength to do an honest reality check of itself and the prevailing situation. If, notwithstanding the high quality of the music, only a few hundred diehards pay to attend Panorama, something is speaking that needs to be listened to. The leadership of the Pan Association must reckon with the relationship between the pan and the people. If the people are saying we want pan, but not Panorama, and that noise has been consistently clear, it has to be listened to.

A proper and sensible response is needed. Pan was not made for Panorama. Glory is not nailed to the stadium fence. Glory for pan players can be had other that at Panorama!

So here we go with a suggestion. ‘Pan-tastic Thursday’! Have Queen Show on Saturday evening at Spice Basket, followed by the big fetes. On the Thursday, roll out the pan sides from Port Highway to the end of the Carenage. There could also be a big stage opposite the GTA’s Offices. Yuh go see the effect! People from here and everywhere will jam with the pan music and be fully entertained. If you are as old as I am and ‘cayn take de jammin’ then go around the pan yards in the days ahead and listen to the bands rehearse.

So what is the way forward? A well-built stage ready and tested two weeks before carnival and an empty stadium on the night, or ‘Pan-tastic Thursday’!

Pan music is an uplifting product. Talented pan musicians must lift their minds and understand the times. Do we please ourselves in keen competition, but with a handful of patrons, or do we shift gears and uphold the value of pan music in its natural relationship with the people?

William Joseph