Trinidad and Tobago, W.I. - Beverley Ramsey-Moore with 117 votes created history as the first woman to win the presidency of Pan Trinbago in what has to be considered one of the most contentious elections in the history of the embattled organization. For the first time there were select teams running campaigns, and the election cycle was also the one to take advantage of the accessibility of social media platforms; one where a first-ever debate (organized by the Invaders Steel Orchestra music organization) among six of eight presidential hopefuls was hosted; and efforts put into wooing and winning prospective votes via interactive visits to pan yards of the steelband fraternity.
Applause erupted on the afternoon of Sunday October 28 as Ramsey-Moore’s victory was officially announced, while excited and happy supporters surrounded her at the elections venue of Mucurapo East Secondary School in Port-of-Spain offering congratulations, hugs, and snagging pictures with the incoming executive.
One jubilant supporter next to her repeated loudly “This is for “Boogsie”. This is for “Boogsie” and “Professor”.” She was alluding to the public plea “Boogsie” had made just before his musical homage to the late icon at the celebration of the latter’s life. There, “Boogsie” shared that “Professor” had called him recently and in conversation said to him in part “We’re going and tell all the pan men….vote for Beverly Ramsey-Moore – a woman….” There was more to the conversation, but “Boogsie” apparently agreed with the idea, subsequently urging that “Pan men from all the bands all over – vote for Beverley, Beverley Ramsey-Moore, and Carlon [Harewood] – and her team.”
Ramsey-Moore herself ecstatically pumped her fist in the air, saying “....And today I am so elated! We’ve broken the glass ceiling! Women! We have broken the glass ceiling.” Her most effusive and visually heartfelt response had been reserved for young Joseph Alleyne, of Arima-based Marsicans Steel Orchestra’s management. Enveloping Alleyne in a bear hug and keeping tight hold of him, Ramsey-Moore exclaimed repeatedly “....This is the man! This is the man tell me I must run....This is the man that convinced me....This is the man that called forward the purpose in me.”
Additionally, and soon after, in an on-the-spot interview with Jryck Williams of ComPANions on Facebook live she went further. “....It is such a wonderful, historical day, for me, and for the country, by having the first female president of pan.” She touched on her focus on bringing order and integrity to public affairs, and now, to Pan Trinbago the organization, as its newest president, and gave thanks to both her supporters and non-supporters. “At the end of the day, we are going to respect the members’ decision. It will no longer be any ‘slate,’ but it will be Team Pan Trinbago, and all of us will work together for progress, and all of us will work together to develop our beloved organization Pan Trinbago...”
The president-elect was given a clear mandate having won the seat by 62 votes ahead of her nearest challenger, Keron Valentine, who received a total of 55. With the election of Mrs. Ramsey-Moore much hope and promise ride on her as president and her incoming administration.
Nine out of her ten Team Re-build contingent were successfully installed in their respective positions of the organization’s Central Executive. It was even a ‘clean sweep’ for a few hours - until a re-count broke the tie of what was initially 96 votes apiece for Team Re-build’s public relations candidate Salisha James, and Sandra Awai of “Team New Times.” Later, the revised number of 97 votes was tabulated in favor of Awai.
Ramsey-Moore’s preferred vice president Carlon Harewood who received more than twice the number of votes (138) than his nearest rival—Peter Kanhai with 67—echoed her in part. Harewood: “....not “Team Re-build,” we’re now Team Pan Trinbago and we all have to do it together.” He also articulated his intention to submit to his president (Beverley Ramsey-Moore) “in whatever it is,” while adding that he had his ideas also that he was going to bring to the forefront, to “make pan the winner.”
Former education officer now incoming Secretary Denise Hernandez did not mince words, declaring “....As secretary it is my intention to bring the organization back to where it was when I was Education Officer. This organization is a world organization, and we need to show the world that this is the home of pan - and the industry that will give fifty thousand people employment, especially the young people of this country.”
The new External Relations Officer Dane Gulston, along with call-outs, handshakes and congratulations, got a well-intended heads-up, if you will, from a ‘serious’ pan man. “Dane, the work now start, yuh know. Understand. The work now start.” Gulston spoke to Jryck Williams, emphasizing the need in part to review some of the “local standings” of Pan Trinbago, even as his portfolio was tasked with the “foreign” focus [relative to the art form]. Himself a renowned performing artist on the global stage, he is drawing on his experience and bringing that to his position. In a nutshell, Gulston’s view is “If we don’t deal with it here first, we can’t go outside....We have it, in terms of the instrument and the playing, but we want to make sure that we ready. When we go outside, we must know what we about.” He also stressed, “We [his team] are not Pan Trinbago. Pan Trinbago is the members. Members, members, members....I am a member first - take me to task!....Take the administration to task, anytime you feel we screwing up.”
Marcus Ash, the organization’s next Education Officer is clear on what he sees as necessary for ‘improvement.’ “Looking forward, there’s a lot of work to do - we have to ‘re-build’ the organization—no pun intended....My dream, or my goal, is to deal with the generation that is to follow after. I need to deal with the youths, re-develop the ‘youth arm’ and make sure the generation [now] don’t have to go through what we went through there in the last few years.”
On the key aspect of finances, Treasurer Gerard Mendez spoke on the measures his team wanted to implement, and bringing transparency and accountability back to the organization. He elaborated on some aspects. “....For example, we want to put limits to the spending, of the CEO, the president, and we also want to implement...an internal audit department within Pan Trinbago to ensure that we spend government money in the correct way.” Mendez extended thanks to the electorate for placing their confidence in him, to be able to manage and handle their affairs. “I am humbled by this whole affair about voting [for] me to be the Treasurer of Pan Trinbago.
Four members of the previous administration who were on the ticket in an effort to return as part of the next iteration of the pan body Executive, were ultimately unsuccessful. Darren Sheppard, Richard Forteau, Michael L. Joseph and Trevor Reid had thrown their hats in the ring for the respective positions of president, secretary, public relations officer and trustee.
Patiently and diligently reflecting the votes as they were counted throughout the afternoon was Renegades Steel Orchestra captain Candace Brumant-Andrews, alternately on her feet, and then a chair, as the evening wore on.
Kudos to unflinching and impromptu on-the-fly reporter Jryck Williams of Exodus Steel Orchestra and part of ‘CompPANions’ on Facebook. Jryck engaged in yeoman’s service for several hours as she, with support from her ‘crew,’ facilitated coverage via an uninterrupted live stream of the hours-long election process on the social platform, complete with follow-through interviews of successful candidates.
Now, with votes cast and counted, the 2018 elections over, and a new central executive installed at Pan Trinbago, time alone will tell how this story is written going forward.
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