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Date:  8.14.05

New York

Countdown to New York Steel Band Panorama 2005

Pan People Know Math

Think With A Billionaire Mind

Recently a beautiful picture of two beautiful WIADCA officials with the billionaire mayor of New York, Mike Bloomberg, was released.  These two high-ranking female officials looked stunning. I admit to looking at pictures first before reading. Pictures are a funny thing though, sometimes they only tell you half the story.  You still have to read the article


As I quickly scanned the article and picture my eyes picked up the image '$150,000.'  I thought quickly to myself "oh - that's interesting - WIADCA must have donated $150,000 to Bloomberg's re-election campaign fund for the upcoming November elections."  I quickly corrected myself, realizing that WIADCA is a non-partisan, non-profit organization, so that's not possible.  Again, still guilty of not having read the article I jumped to the next conclusion that maybe WIADCA had donated the sum of money toward some college fund or retirement fund of the steelpan or mas movement.  There are a lot of brilliant but financially-strapped young steelpan people entering college this fall, and of course as the New York pioneers are getting older, so a little pocket change could not hurt.  Then I thought, "wait a minute, there it is, that's it!" 'Pocket Change'."   Bloomberg must have stuck his hand in his pocket during a meeting with WIADCA and his pocket change dropped out and must have said "go head keep this for now I forgot to walk with by check book"...


To my shock and disappointment upon reading the article I learnt that the city of New York had donated $150,000 to the carnival association, WIADCA.  Any rational, reasonable person would come to the conclusion that this must have been a misprint.  There had to be a few zeros missing.  Maybe they meant 150,000,000 or $15,000,000 or in the worst case $1,500,000...

Before you call me an ingrate, let's look at what $150,000 CANNOT do in New York:
  • Pay WIADCA for the work they do -- even pan men will admit that
  • Can't put one steelpan youngster through college
  • Can't build a performance facility for steelpan concerts
  • Can't buy a building for even one steel orchestra to practice and call 'home'.
  • Can't pay the rent for two steel orchestras (recent real estate agents wanted $14,000 a month for the space to house a New York Steel Orchestra)
  • Can't pay for the extended hospital stay for any ill steelpan person

  • Can't maintain a full orchestra for one year properly (instruments, tuner, arranger, housing, travel)
  • Can't fund the rightful stipends, or reimburse the personal funds that the steelband management should receive annually for their commitment and work they do for and on behalf of the youth and community

In a 2002 report to the New York COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT it was estimated that “The West Indian Day Carnival has grown from a community-oriented festival into NYC’s biggest parade, drawing an annual estimated revenue of $300 million to the city”[16]


Estimates of the combined numbers of parade participants including spectators vary, participation is commonly quoted as ranging from 2 to 4 million.[9],[10], [11]  As one reporter describes it, “[w]ith its terrific music, spectacular costumes and spirited dancing, the West Indian Day Parade has become the largest, most elaborate parade in the city—and the largest one-day event in the USA and Canada as around 3.5 million persons from all over the nation and the Diaspora join in celebrating the proud Caribbean culture.”[12] 


In the case of WIADCA it is not our place to tell folks how to do their business or when they should feel insulted.  But in the case of the hundreds of thousands of you steel pan folks who click on the When Steel Talks site for one reason or another from all over the world, we have noticed a recurring global fact: Pan Men Do Know Math...  The zeroes make a difference... it's the difference between pocket change and real money and fair play.  It's the difference between looking intelligent and looking ________ well - you know the word... 


A billionaire recently told us that the difference between a millionaire and a billionaire is that a millionaire has a millionaire mind, and a billionaire has a billionaire mind.  A billionaire thinks billions...  And when pan people are in the presence of billionaires, they think - at a minimum 'millions.'  So does this mean that the carnival association $150,000 guys have only five-figure minds?


Moreover, does this mean the New York steelband panorama won't go over a million dollars in prize money this year?


It looks like pan people won't get to flash their billion-dollar or million-dollar smiles this year.  And definitely not for pocket change - a mere one hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

From the News Desk of  When Steel Talks
Saturday August 13, 2005


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