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Police intimidation of Southern Marines Steel band Foundation in Trinidad & Tobago - the “Home of Pan”?
Is the music community being targeted for playing their National Instrument?

by Michael L. Joseph - President
Southern Marines Steel band Foundation

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Trinidad and Tobago, W.I. - The Southern Marines Steel Band Foundation of Marabella is amongst the Small Steelbands practicing hard to take the title of Small band Champions 2011. Somehow we are starting to believe that there is a plot by somebody or body of People - to distract our members from their set goal.

The last time I raised this issue, I was given the assurance that the matter would be dealt with, and we should continue our rehearsals without fear. But today, I do have some reservations. Again last night March 1st, two nights before the National Small Bands Finals, the Police in the person of officer Cupid and another who did not give his name, is intimidating our membership by insisting that we are breaking the Law, and that we must have a permit giving us permission to assemble to beat drums.

Now my difficulty lies in the fact that since the first set of harassment some weeks ago, no one informed us on the facts of the Police claim. We are starting to believe that we are being targeted.

When five or more Police Officers in a district start to warn and threaten you over your action, isn’t it time for concern?  But what are we doing? Playing the National Instrument; preparing to represent our area in the National Panorama, which we believe to be something worthy of compliments.

Please, I am asking again for someone in authority to give us the assurance that we are not being targeted for harassment, and that we are not breaking the Law. This situation is having an adverse effect on the minds of our youthful membership, who are expressing reservations with coming on the road for Carnival... and Southern Marines is bringing Mas in 2011.

Please, somebody, tell us: what is the policy on the playing of the National Instrument of Trinidad and Tobago?  We want no war with the Police, but we also don't want any officer taking it upon him or herself to try and stop our Freedom of Expression. Last year the Police stopped the band from playing music three hundred yards from our Pan Theater, on our way home. If we know that this is likely to happen again, we will scrap the Mas and not come on the Roads.

Michael L. Joseph
Bro. Scobie
Southern Marines Steel band Foundation

Contact Michael L. Joseph at his WST profile - http://whensteeltalks.ning.com/profile/MichaelLJoseph

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