Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. - Panorama 2016 kicked off on January 8th at the Queens Park Savannah. This signalled the real start of the Carnival in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. As always, all Carnival lovers know that the barrels must rumble to signal the start of Carnival.
On behalf of the entire Steelpan fraternity, I take this opportunity to express heartfelt thanks to corporate Trinbago which sees it as a civic duty to partner with Pan Trinbago, to ensure that Panorama 2016 comes off successfully.
Again, thanks for the assurance guaranteed by the many young people of this nation, who took time from their other commitments, to be in the Pan Yards nightly to make it happen and your signal to them that their efforts are recognized and appreciated.
In spite of the negatives bandied about by all those who don't believe, this mega industry that we have developed from the grassroots is one where our children can enter universities all over the world to teach and learn carnival and festival arts, and continue to spread it globally and are able to contribute meaningfully to the national economy.
There are some challenges that exist here at home because of a lack of awareness by people who don't have a true sense of patriotism, and tend to devalue anything that is local, but support and uplift all things foreign. Look at the patronage and support for our national Panorama where thousands of our young people joined by quite a number of foreigners come together in every Steelband yard across Trinbago to showcase our national instruments.
Where is the family support? Pan Trinbago needs the support and the players need it also. It would be so nice when family members would purchase tickets and sit in the audience cheering their children as they perform. Without a doubt, this would surely lift their spirits, and, by extension, strengthen the coffers of Pan Trinbago, thereby, guaranteeing that all performers are paid in a more timely manner. I am making a clarion call to the parents of Trinbago: show love by supporting your children in all their positive endeavours if we must enjoy a stronger and crime free nation.
Most of the successful business people in the communities are only blinded by profits and do not see themselves as having a social responsibility to the people from whom they source their wealth. Most of them don't even live in these communities, so they see no need to give back anything. They come in at 8:00 a.m., and exit at 4:00 p.m., so there is no connection. This is so sad.
The Steelbands, on the other hand, are playing such a great role in the area of crime reduction that is hardly ever noticeable. Because of the Steelbands in the different communities there are much less idle youths out on the streets hassling your business places and customers. As a matter of fact, the Steelband yards are the most disciplined youth institutions in any community. And I say this without reservation. What they could get away with at home and in school is not tolerated in the Pan Yards. This is where most youths learn communication and social skills.
People across the world recognize and respect Trinbago for having the largest percussive festival in the world, and it’s called PANORAMA. Yet we here take it for granted. As the saying goes, a king has no honour in his own land. We must use it or lose it.
Where is the government in all of this? Most of the time when they are not using culture as a political football, they just go about making reckless statements that could be used to devalue the hard work and sacrifice of those involved in creating our indigenous art form that we have developed into a major industry which can and is attracting much needed foreign exchange to our coffers. How long will we continue to endure this disrespectful approach by our politicians who were put in office to serve and make life a little easier for us in our living years?
Every political regime that gets into office for the past one hundred years, has had a great plan for our culture that is different from the previous. And we keep saying to them, stop planning for us without consultation. Being in control of the public purse, does not give them the right to bully the artist into submission, because of their dependency. When they demit office, another comes along with different ideas and culture becomes a merry-go-round. Same old…same old! As Benjai so nicely sang, we tired of the same thing, over and over, over and over.
If culture, which is the soul of the people, must flourish to the benefit of the country and its practitioners, it must be devoid of politicians and politics. The politicians must be willing to work with the proponents of the arts for them to improve. Most of them have been involved for all of their natural life preserving the arts, and only need support financially to perfect the formulas. If politicians are serious, they would ask the question, how can we assist to make what you are doing better? Then and only then we will be able to move forward to the benefit of all.
The theme for Panorama 2016 is Excitement and Excellence. Let us all come out and show our patriotism as all other nations do with a sense of pride. Show our panists that we are fully in support of their efforts, and we appreciate our national instrument.
Wishing our nation a safe and enjoyable carnival season. May we all end up in a ‘win-win’ situation at the end of the season. PEACE LOVE and SUCCESS!
Michael L. Joseph
Public Relations Officer
Pan Trinbago Inc. T.C.
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