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Despers Say "Enough is Enough"

Steelbands and Panmen must be in charge of their own destiny

When Steel Talks

Exclusive interview with Verne Rosemin, President of Despers USA as he speaks on 2007 panorama problematic issues and more.

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New York - In an exclusive interview with When Steel Talks, an unwavering president of Despers USA Steel Orchestra, Verne Rosemin, terms this year's panorama results a "wake-up call" that calls into question the rewards and benefits of participating in the West Indian American Day Carnival Association's (WIADCA) annual New York steelband music panorama.   Mr. Rosemin goes on to say in a scathing rebuke of WIADCA, that given the type of investment the New York steel orchestras and supporting music organizations put out every year in terms of time and finances, the pan community deserves far better.  And of most concern to him is that the pan community is in turn failing the youth by allowing their efforts to be exploited and their development and future stunted as a result of the disrespect and contempt meted out to them on an annual basis by WIADCA.

This year's uncharacteristic 10th place is a 'first' in the history of  Despers USA.  They are publicly questioning the validity of the results as it relates to them, and take issue with a panorama that was filled with irregularities.  Of particular contention is the lack of comments on score sheets by judges, in addition to an unsigned score sheet [not personally validated/endorsed by one judge] (click here to see copies of Despers USA score sheets), in addition to the unknown qualifications of judges.  Rosemin, (pictured left) perceives this highly irregular behavior coupled with the total lack of attention to or concern with details by WIADCA as a continued pattern of disrespect.

Despers USA represents one of the oldest and most respected steel orchestras in the United States.  Their brand of sophisticated music and style of playing is admired throughout the world.  The group's six consecutive panorama wins remains an unmatched and treasured record. 

"Pan people take the business aspect of panorama for granted.  There is no real accountability" says Rosemin.  He believes that ultimately the New York steelband organizations are to blame for not holding others and in particular WIADCA, responsible for things agreed to.  Incredibly, there are no signed contracts - just verbal agreements, according Mr. Rosemin.

The Despers USA president strongly recommends that the steelband music performing organizations and steelband association come together and produce their own panorama.  While he is not calling for an all-out boycott of the WIADCA, he sees no reason why the pan community cannot produce their own.

Under the current conditions Mr. Rosemin reiterated that, "steelbands are not respected by WIADCA".  Moreover Mr. Rosemin believes panmen need to "be in charge of their own destiny... panorama has long out-grown the museum."  Furthermore, pan people deserve much better given the contribution to the New York Carnival festivities and the multi-million financial gains received by the city and promoter.

Contact Verne Rosemin at 1 (917) 648-2491


Panorama 2007 in full review - pictures, stories, audio, music - click here:

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