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Trinidad & Tobago Panorama 2007

Patrick Arnold Speaks
On 2007 Panorama and More

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Patrick Arnold - President of Pan Trinbago

Global - When Steel Talks (WST) caught up with Patrick Arnold, the president of Pan Trinbago -  the governing organization of all maters related to steelpan in Trinidad and Tobago - as he discussed the special plans for the 2007 panorama and carnival.  In addition, Mr. Arnold shares his views on the recent removal of the steelpan image from the soon-to-be-launched air carrier, Caribbean Airlines.

The 2007 steelband panorama semi-finals will be held at the Queen’s Park Savannah (QPS) in Port-of-Spain and the finals, at Skinner Park, San Fernando.  The latter was the venue for the 2006 National finals for steel orchestras in the small category.

The western end of the QPS, near the paved paddock area is the venue set for construction of the staging area for the 2007  National Panorama semi-finals.  Construction is expected to get underway shortly to erect the temporary stage and seating structures.  Arnold said that seating accommodation would probably not match the capacity of the Grand Stand and North Stand, and there would be a lot of people 'on the grounds.'   UDeCOTT (Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago Limited) plays a role in pulling the entire plan together.


Live Exclusive Interview with the president of Pan Trinbago

Arnold indicated that with the semi-finals of the national panorama competition fielding some sixty-odd steel orchestras combined, in the small, medium and large categories, it also draws the largest crowd of pan enthusiasts, and the Jean Pierre Complex would not be able to handle the tens of thousands who always attend.  The same would hold true if they attempted to hold the competition 'in the streets.'  The stage is being set at Skinner Park in San Fernando, south Trinidad, for the grand finale celebration of the National Panorama Finals.  

The decision by the Trinidad and Tobago government to proceed with the demolition of the Grand Stand at the QPS also means that the carnival parade of bands and other related events of the season usually held at 'the Big Yard,' will now be outside the savannah facilities.  The carnival pre-shows such as the calypso competitions, etc. will  most probably take place at the Jean Pierre Complex.

Asked about the prize purses up for grabs in the 2007 National Panorama competition, Arnold said that Pan Trinbago had not yet received a response to the budget submitted by the organization, but anticipates that some news would be forthcoming as early as 'next week.'  He explained that the NCC (National Carnival Commission) usually receives the funds, and from those then the allocation set aside for Panorama activities is known.  "We never get what we ask for" said Arnold, adding that usually it is a 'fight' to get sufficient funds.

There is an ongoing controversy about the non-appearance of the steelpan logo on the new carrier, Caribbean Airlines.  The pan took pride of place on the underbelly and tail on the fleet of the outgoing national carrier, BWIA.  Arnold said that Pan Trinbago only saw the [new Caribbean Airlines] plane when it came in, and they immediately contacted the government, which, according to Arnold is the major - if not the only - shareholder in Caribbean Airlines.  "The Trinidad and Tobago government is pumping a lot of money into Caribbean Airlines" Arnold  continued.  He noted as examples, that other countries, such as Jamaica had their airline called Air Jamaica, and Japan- Japan Airlines, but that previously the country's airline was afflicted with improper branding, and called BWIA - British West Indian Airways, which did not represent Trinidad and Tobago, and now 'they are Caribbean Airlines.'  He explained that with other countries, it was apparent where the major interests lay with their air carriers. 

"The humming bird [the new logo on Caribbean Airlines] is not peculiar to Trinidad & Tobago, or the Caribbean" said Arnold; [there are at least sixteen species of humming birds in North America alone, and many more in other countries].  He believes that the pan should be included on the new Caribbean Airlines, but says that Pan Trinbago does not know if the other aircraft in the fleet still to be delivered, will sport the steelpan.  "They need to put the pan back on the plane." Arnold declared.  "The pan would be more suitable for representing the Caribbean countries, especially Trinidad and Tobago; not only the other Caribbean islands, but the whole world, in fact, have adopted the steelpan instrument," so Arnold 'does not see how the humming bird can take the place of the pan [as a logo for Caribbean Airlines]." 

Arnold also made reference to Invaders Steel Orchestra in Trinidad, formerly BWIA Invaders Steel Orchestra, now known as Caribbean Airlines Invaders Steel Orchestra.  Arnold feels that the government should continue in this vein, and as they kept the sponsorship for Invaders, should also keep the pan on their planes.

Plans are also in motion for the upcoming World Steelband Music Festival (WSMF).  The previous festival was held at Madison Square Garden in New York in 2005.  Pan Trinbago's president said that the next WSMF is scheduled for June 17, 2007 in Miami, Florida, USA.   WST will keep abreast of steelpan matters in the land of the steelpan, Trinidad & Tobago, including the 2007 panorama, and the WSMF.



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