Michael Joseph - PRO of Pan Trinbago
Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. - Established in 1949, for over sixty years the Steelpan fraternity have been evolving and reinventing itself in a way that is a marvel to many. From Sydney Gallop, our first president, right through to Keith Diaz, every executive and president have been maliciously accused of mismanagement and corruption. Every Steel band leader have been accused of robbing the players of the band. The executive of STEELBANDS have been made to operate in a most hostile environment throughout its eveloution. Yet, in spite of all the negatives, the movement kept on rising to establish its presence as the world governing body for the Steelpan instruments.
Men and women have sacrificed and invested their time and efforts to shake off the negatives stigma, and contribute towards the development of a strong and resourceful organization that is Pan Trinbago today. There will always be challenges, both external and internal, like all other institutions including the family. But this only served to make the institution stronger. Because of resistance, resilience and true grit, the image was changed from BAD JOHNS, to STEELPAN SCIENTIST and MUSICOLOGIST, creating an industry that is taking the world by storm, with the potential to attract enormous amounts of foreign exchange to our blessed twin Island nation.
The present executive under the leadership of brother Keith Diaz, have embarked on an industrial, commercial and globalization thrust which is slowly but surely taking shape and getting off the ground. Only now to be distracted by an over ambitious individual who swears to stop at nothing to have his own way. He is not the first, and certainly would not be the last. But his malicious and reckless allegations are doing untold damage to the fabric of the organization that he has an obsession with wanting to lead.
He has accused the president of mismanagement and wastage, claiming that for things to improve, the president must leave, resign and pass on the leadership to him. Realizing that he was on his own with that position, he took to the position that some of the executive members together with the president must go. Today he is saying that the whole executive must demit office so that he can fix all the ills of the Steelpan movement. Is he a magician, or is he suffering from some sort of dementia?
Pan Trinbago prides itself with being one of, if not the only and oldest democratic grass root organization in the Caribbean, and it caters for the ambitions of all its members, by holding elections for officers every three-years. The membership are the ones with the power to elect its leaders at a convention held for that purpose. All members with such ambition must stand the scrutiny of their peers in order to be elected to office. It is not something that a present office holder can give or pass on to another.
Pan Trinbago presents an audited statement of accounts to its membership, and copies are sent by the secretary to the line ministry and other relevant agencies as soon as it is ratified and passed at its annual conference held for that purpose once a year. All allegations of misappropriation and corruption made by the former vice president who served for over seven years, are malicious, unfounded and unfortunate.
Pan Trinbago was never in the habit of conducting its internal affairs in the public domain, but this prevailing situation give rise to us having to place the facts before the world, to eliminate all the misconceptions created by a mischievous individual.
(1) Pan Trinbago’s executive or its president at no time imported or tried to import two high end vehicles for use by individuals or organisation.
(2) Pan Trinbago is not operating within a deficit of thirty million dollars created through corruption or mismanagement. As a matter of fact, the relationship with governments over the years have always placed the organization in a deficit position coming out of the national festival. This is kept to a minimum by servicing during the year, through our many fund raising activities.
(3) The Keith Diaz regime that took office in 2009, inherited debts that had to be serviced in order to stabilize the organization. National insurance and Health Surcharge that was never paid by previous regimes, had to be addressed to bring the staff in line with common practice. This was done at a cost of 1,300,000.00 dollars.
(4) A debt of over 1,034,000. dollars were carried on the books of the organization for over ten years, coming out of a Caribbean Steel band competition held in Grenada in 2001,where it was said that some Caribbean governments were on board to take care of the expenses. This never materialized, and Pan Trinbago was left holding the tabs.
(5) In 2013, the then minister of Culture had given the assurance that his ministry would provide the necessary funding for our national Steel band music festival “ PAN IS BEAUTIFUL 12. Only to start dancing away after the fact, until he and his regime demitted office, leaving the organization holding the tab.
(6) The world conference and Panorama that was held in 2015, which had such a significant impact on our nation, was another project that left the organization in dire financial straights in spite of its contributions. After the blueprint and a budget for thirty million dollars was submitted, and favorable and encouraging response was received from the government, Pan Trinbago went ahead and engaged the Steelpan world. At the very last minute, government committed to only half the cost, which was fifteen million dollars. And I can go on and on to show that the deficit that Pan Trinbago is working assiduously to reduce, did not come about through mismanagement or corruption, but was fostered on us by deception.
(7) The players remittance that is still outstanding to date, is on account of untimely releases by the relevant authorities. Having experienced an unexpected increase in the number of Tobago Steel bands for panorama 2016. Pan Trinbago informed the relevant authorities that there is a shortfall of 2.7 million dollars which was taken from the reduced budget to pay for the accommodations of our Tobago contingent. To this date, it is still outstanding.
(8) Pan Trinbago received the outstanding five million dollars which was the balance of its 2016 allocations minus the 2.7 million dollars on the 28th of October 2016. This cannot satisfy full payment of the player’s remittance. We are making every effort at negotiations for the shortfall.
Pan Trinbago takes its mandate very seriously, and frowns on anyone try to bring its good name and the members of its hard working executive into public odium and disrepute. We have our challenges as all other. But we have always served the best interest of those who voted us into office. The organization cannot be accused of corruption if two misguided workers are found selling complimentary tickets at panorama, or letting people pass through a back gate for a fee. Those are matters that would always be dealt with in our domestic settings.
Pan Trinbago Inc. T.C, has now established a drum assembly factory that is producing a special type of drum for the instruments, and saving the Tuners from the chemically poisonous drums of the past. Outside of the global thrust, a number of initiatives are in the pipeline that is geared towards our self-sufficiency. Distractions by one over ambitious individual cannot and would not be allowed to impede progress as we continue to build a strong and economically successful Steelpan Industry to the benefit of our members and country.
Pan Trinbago remains an ambitious and progressive organization that is intent on building an image that reflects its status as the World Governing Body for the Steelpan. Any and all assets acquired by the organization is geared toward such end.
Michael L Joseph
Public Relations Officer
Pan Trinbago Inc
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