Trinidad and Tobago - With media reports of murders exceeding “seventy” in forty-seven days to the date of February 18th 2014, the nation continues to receive a perplexing spanking from the minor/criminal elements in society.
The majority of homicides – the most heinous crime – are “gang-related” say the police, putting a spin on turf-war, but it is without say that the just-concluded Panorama semi-final competition for the large-band category proved music, more so, pan, can be a conduit to curb the turf conflict and bloodshed – reduce deviance and hatred, and encourage peace and love.
There was absolutely no “Spankin,” “In de Minor,” even in the face of the Desperadoes Steel Orchestra’s purple gang of panists – guarded by their army of supporters from ‘the hill’ – sharing turf with Renegades’ leaf-green gang of panists, equally guarded by their army of supporters from ‘the Harpe.”
It was two days prior to, when Pan Trinbago revealed the order of appearance for the semi-final competition, and cited was Desperadoes’ to perform in the No.3 position and Renegades in the 4th, setting tongues a-wagging in certain corners…” but they have a gang-war brewing between some factions ‘on de hill’ and some ‘in de Harpe’.”
This knowledge, however, didn’t deter pan supporters, in general, from mingling among what one could contextually describe as danger zones.
At the mouth of the ‘drag,’ in true battle style, ‘Despers’ was facing south, with the ‘Gades’ having approached from the Frederick Street entrance, facing north, directly opposite, but this was simply a battle of music…no guns, blades, bottle-pelting, fighting or kidnapping.
Most admirable was the interweaving of supporters from the two communities on each other’s turf on the ‘drag’ meeting and greeting, embracing each other, sharing drinks and cordially critiquing the respective tunes, within the space that saw the unavoidable rubbing of shoulders and occasional mash and bounce.
Oddly, even if the bands could not have been easily distinguished from a distance, cited were the expansive banners and brandishing of flags that would warn of Despers and Renegades in the same space.
The reality is, many individuals that got themselves enmeshed with the minor factions of society are actually cautiously retreating, making strides to better themselves, while individuals who have been bound by criminal activities from birth are themselves developing to believe that there is greatness in them.
They are instinctively gravitating closer to pan. They are learning of a better life from others, ‘biting the bullet’ and defying the odds.
Owing to the inflated volume of irresponsible parents and adults in general, many young people are trying to develop common sense.
Realizing what it speaks to, they are quickly and easily identifying unwise behaviour within their family and communities, resulting in desisting from wrong-doing, while at the same time, apprising reckless souls who are to direct them, of their new-found mental capacity.
As motivational speaker, Edison M Chilala out of USA says, “No man ever walks the path of greatness harboring small dreams, mediocre beliefs, negative thoughts….” Further stating, “The only way actions will produce virtuoso and excellent results is when everything within us and about us is conditioned to the right beliefs, big dreams and optimistic attitudes.”
Thus, on Sunday February 16th, during the entire Panorama experience, with Desperadoes playing Austin “Super Blue” Lyon’s Spankin and Renegades…Winston “De Fosto” Scarborough’s In de Minor, the sweet strains of pan music inspired the communities’ warring factions to embrace peace and love.
As such, when the Panorama curtains closed almost 11pm, the only spanking the police recorded among the two rival community supporters were a spanking, musical performance by Despers, immediately followed by a major, masterpiece of In de Minor by Renegades that transferred into a marrying result of a tie for third place with 243 points.
Sandra L. Blood is a Life Skills Consultant, Lecturer (on Life Skills) and Panist for 39 years
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