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Don’t blame Diaz. Drink a beer syndrome determines our president

By: Andy Edwards

Woman on the Bass

Trinidad & Tobago - The time for change in Pan Trinbago’s executive is now. However, this change should not go without a change in the thinking of band leaders. The unprecedented debt; allegations of corruption and mismanagement; the lack of trust by government towards the executive and the poor management of Panorama 2017, hangs like a dark cloud over Pan Trinbago.

The blame cannot be placed squarely at the feet of Mr. Diaz however. We band leaders have to take responsibility for some of the blame as well. We were once the organization’s driving force, not only in our bands but also in our communities. In the last two decades, things have changed. We have become lazy. This could be because of the lack of gratitude and support from our communities; the corporate sector; members within our group; the government and our parent body, Pan Trinbago. As a consequence of this, our laziness is costing us big time.

However, due to the stigma and the “villain” culture carved through to the roots of our organization, men and women within our movement with credibility want to have nothing to do with the running of Pan Trinbago. This leaves us with a very small pool of people to choose from and even then, we tend to choose the worst of the lot. Putting our X’s to the smooth talkers, “insurance salesmen”, “Wall Street” personalities and pan politicians who ‘seem’ to be bright and whose only degrees are Masters in “how to full the pockets” of their friends, families and themselves. Well, let this be the last magic show where tricksters appear and pan man money disappears.

There are those band leaders who are informed and make intelligent decisions on who should run our organization but unfortunately, they are few.    

According to one of our comrades, band leaders, because of their laziness, like a lot of hand-outs and favours. These leaders are those who the organization have diagnosed as suffering from the Drink-a-Beer Syndrome. These are the bandleaders who would vote solely on the fact that the president would buy a beer for them in a lime and could get some type of favour from the president. The sad fact is, leaders like this has been affecting the outcome of our elections. Two solutions to this would be 1) Carib would stop making beer or 2) band leaders would educate themselves about the candidates.

Then there are the ignorant leaders. The ones who don’t attend any meetings; don’t have any interest in any progressive movement of the organization and basically look forward for Panorama so that at the end of the season, they might cut up enough pan players to leave some money in their pockets. After three years of no information, they find themselves in the permanent secretary’s offices, asking him who to vote for. The only solution again is that we must have information on our candidates.

Questions to be considered when electing our candidates;

  1. Does the band he/she is in charge of have a successful stage side? Running a band successfully all through the year is important. It shows the depth of ones’ management skills and the ability to be a team player. (Success at Panorama alone could be due to hiring a brand-name arranger).
  2. What is their position in their band and is it related to the post they are vying for? If they only served as a committee member with no responsibility other than to open the yard for practice, then it would not be advisable to vote him in as treasurer of Pan Trinbago because of his lack of financial management capabilities.
  3. What programmes has he/she been responsible for in the pan yards and by extension the community? Example: education officer candidates should have education programmes running in their organization. Public relations candidates’ bands should have good public relation programmes to boost the image of their bands etc.
  4. Consider the health of the person? Would the organization have to carry the burden of an unhealthy person who is staying home more than he can be on the job? We have just experienced officers staying away because of heart-related problems. Healthy minds and bodies are important for our officers.
  5. Consider the ‘era’ of the person. Is he/she up to the times; Does he/she know how to exploit social media? Could they send an email? Is he/she vibrant or walks around with a cane?
  6. What qualifications and experience does the candidate have for the task of the position. E.g. Degree in event management; Certificate in office management; worked as an auditor for a long period of time; Degree in music; Certificate in business of the arts; Law practice etc. These are the skills which would take the organization up to an international level.
  7. What treatment do candidates as band leaders issue to their players? Do players complain of poor treatment and lack of payment under the remit of our candidates? This would be an indication of how they view or may treat players. Some bandleaders view pan men as ‘worthless’. How would these men, as executive members, deal with players’ issues and concerns?
Beer and the President

Our organization is close to insolvency. This means that the organization cannot pay what they owe and in most cases organizations like this have to shut down and sell off their assets to pay their creditors. Band leaders must by now have realized, based on political history, that there are more people, in the steelpan movement, who are motivated by self-interests and not the best interest of the organization. It is now our responsibility to know the wrongs of our past so that we are able to fix our future. Let us become responsible band leaders and not vote in our friends for a drink of alcohol, but vote for the persons best suited for the job. Educate ourselves because our youths in pan depend on it. Next election would soon, hopefully. Vote wisely.

From the News Desk of:
Andy Edwards


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