I must express my disgust and indignation at the attitude and behaviour of a few misguided, uninformed panists, who attended a general membership meeting at City Hall, Port of Spain on 28/12/2016, called by Pan Trinbago Inc. to discuss players’ remittances for 2016 and the future of Panorama 2017.
It was clear to me that some people came with an agenda inimical to the best interest of Pan Trinbago, but I believe that in a democratic organization, everyone is entitled to their own views, once expressed in a dignified and respectful manner, but when they are filled with malicious accusations and hostility that is a horse of a different colour.
I have been a social, cultural and community activist for over fifty years and, throughout, I have been doing my part to advance and promote the cause of the Steelpan. I served as chairman of the south/central region of Pan Trinbago on two occasions between the mid 80s and 2015. I have also served as Public Relations Officer of the central executive on two occasions, once on the Patrick Arnold regime, and presently on the Keith Diaz regime.
I have been active in the labour movement and the advancement of workers cause, especially in the construction industry over the years, through which many panists benefited. I spent my twenty second birthday in political detention in the esteemed company of the likes of George Weekes, Makandal Daaga, Kafra Kambon, Clive Nunez, Winston Lennard, Winston Suite, Allan Campbell, and Leslie Ramdoo, men of integrity who dared to struggle for social and political justice and improvements to the lives of the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, by lifting the yoke of colonialism from their minds.
Here in the evening of my days, I am still making a valuable contribution towards the advancement and protection of the future of the Steelpan. But today, I am being disrespected by misinformed, misguided individuals, who have no sense of value and appreciation for contributors. Some, only interested in their own welfare, are trying to ‘belittle my integrity’; persons whose belief of progress in the world governing body for the Steelpan is guaranteeing that they be given the opportunity to break rules in our national Panorama competition by playing with multiple Steelbands, thereby compromising the integrity of the competition, once they can freely collect a panorama cheque or ten.
The same people who would not financially support any programs put on by the organization to guarantee its success to the benefit of all. As the tendency is to get, get, get and forget. Some persons never stop campaigning from one election to another, always trying to undermine any and all initiatives of the serving regime.
But while we are engaging each other in meaningless confrontation, Mardi Gras is taking back the space that Canboulay has carved out, right before our very eyes while fanning the flames of our disaffection, as we dance to their music of doom and self destructiveness, presiding disrespectfully over our own demise. The class struggle has been intensified and the Philistines are now at our gates, whilst we move around like zombies, wide awake in a dream, leaving Bunker Hill defenceless.
Blame Keith Diaz, for all the ills and shortcomings of Pan Trinbago, he was voted into office like all other Presidents for that very purpose. While the membership who render little or no support, where and when needed, sing crucify him; He, who they believe, should satisfy their every need and selfish desires. And, if this is not happening, the perception is no progress, and the ritual would go on for three years, after which they will decide if they will retain him, or elect another bobolee for the beating.
I’m making an appeal to those misinformed and disrespectful souls to ‘doh mix mih up.’ I am doing what I have been doing for most of my adult life - making a meaningful contribution to improve lives. But a word of advice, if taken, could go a long way in saving us from ourselves. Let us not be divided in our struggles against Mardi Gras to maintain our space, carved out through blood, sweat and tears and great sacrifice. History will not be kind to any of us if it falls now. Little Axe and the many others will not rest comfortable in their graves.
Panorama cheques have never defined the panists or the Steelpan movement before today. What a travesty? Wake up and see the big picture. United we stand, divided we fall. And just like HUMPTY DUMPTY, you know the story. But please, ‘doh mix mih up’. I’ve been treading on the wine press much too long, with pure love and total commitment. Nuff respect!
May peace love and blessings flow continually, throughout the New Year and beyond. Long live Pan Trinbago. Ase! Ase! Ase!
Michael L. Joseph
Public Relations Officer
Pan Trinbago Inc.