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Trinidad & Tobago Panorama 2007

~ Destination San Fernando ~
2007 Trinidad & Tobago Panorama Finals
To Be Held In Southern Trinidad

Michael Leroi Joseph of Pan Trinbago Speaks


Merrytones On Stage at Skinner Park - 2006 Panorama Finals - Small Band Category

Trinidad - The positions being stated by certain steelband leaders about the Panorama Finals being held in Skinnerís park in San Fernando do not surprise me one bit. Being around the movement as long as I have and listening to some of the leaders talk in public and in private, I knew that steelbandsmen were still in a dogfight and it will take us some time to rise to the occasion. What is this occasion?  Steelbands have become big business all over the world except in T&T. Today people are leaving universities and joining the steel pan industry, making it their career. But here in the land of its birth we fighting year after year over a competition that is taking us nowhere.  Itís a dead end situation.

It is time we look rationally at the real position in which we find ourselves.  How many bands really benefit from Panorama? After six to eight weeks of sacrifice the majority of steelbands end up down-spirited and dejected in their panyards long before Ash Wednesday.

Fascinators Pan Symphony line up on the track awaiting their turn on stage for the national finals of the
small conventional steel orchestra panorama on Thursday February 23 at Skinner Park, San Fernando

We talk about the tourist coming down for carnival to hear the steelbands.  Is it five or six in Port of Spain, three from the east and one or two from South and Tobago?  The tourists themselves are complaining that when they visit the panyards around Carnival they cannot hear a tuneÖis only one line for hours.  And we have the gumption to mention the tourist!  They want to hear and jump to steelbands on the streets of the Mecca of Pan. The festival is not Panorama.  It is carnival. We have taken ourselves away from carnival because of this Panorama dotishness.  Steel pannists must not be distracted by the selfish few among us.  We must seek to get back in the carnival.  That is where we all can benefit.  All the pre-carnival shows; bringing mas; competitions on the road from J'Ouvert to last lap: only then will we all be able to enjoy our national cultural festival.

Let us look at Panorama 2007.  The Savannah Grand Stand area is not available, so we seek an alternative venue. That should not be an issue, although some people are hell-bent on making it one. The Grand Stand was constructed with horse racing in mind, not Panorama.  The horses were there for years and they were relocated..  No horse, jockey, trainer or owner died because of it..  So what is the big issue with relocation of Panorama, particularly having the finals in South?

Isnít it called the national Panorama? Is San Fernando not part of this lovely nation of ours?  Come on people: letís stop all this stupid talk about logistics and suitability of large town bands and children having to travel ďso farĒ etc. etc. Just try it, you may like it.  You go to Point Fortin Borough day without a fuss. You try Sugar and Energy festival, San Fernando city day, Arima Fest, Caribbean Panorama in Grenada..  Coming to Skinnerís Park will only take a little extra effort on your part and we know you can do it.  Southerners have been doing it for more than four decades without complaining and extra financial assistance.

Let us not get carried away by those who prefer to hang out on the drag and not spend one red cent at the gates to see and hear the steelbands perform.  They does say pan is we thing and we shouldnít have to pay.  But in Skinnerís park if you really want to see and hear the bands on stage you will have to pay to get in and that spells profits.  Patrick Arnold and his team deserve special kudos for their foresight and strength of conviction.  It is a thankless job, but somebody has to do it.  Merry Christmas and may the almighty bless all of us with the spirit of progress and success in the new year.


Yours for D Steel pan Culture

Michael Leroi Joseph

Public Relations Officer

Pan Trinbago Inc.

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Pantrinbago Contact Information
Telephone: 868 623 4486

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