Una Vainita

Victor Gill Ramirez //
Time for national pan policy

THE dilemma of birdsong Steelpan Academy aptly illustrates the saying, “a prophet has no honour in his own land”. Pan Trinbago must take heed, because a blow to one is a blow to all. I tried looking at the predicament of birdsong with unbiased eyes and an open mind, knowing full well that this was a private arrangement between the band and an independent land owner.

© Victor Gill Ramírez.

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In spite of that situation, a number of relevant issues keep dominating my thoughts. One is an article in the Guardian of August 30. The line minister for the CDA was making reference to the Chaguaramas situation where the owners of Five Islands Water and Fun Park and the Chaguaramas Safari Adventure were proceeding with infrastructural development in a protected area.

© Victor Gill Ramírez.

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But, based on the amount of work already done there was no way the authorities could tell the amusement park people to break down their structures.

© Victor Gill Ramírez.

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That, to them, made no sense. This says clearly, one law for the rich and another for the broke. When yuh big yuh bad!

birdsong Steelpan Academy has been a beacon in their community for over 28 years and the result of their thrust into youth development is unparalleled.

© Victor Gill Ramírez.

www.google.co.ve
Their activities exemplify the statement of the late Lloyd Best “School in Pan”.

Notwithstanding the fact that most steelbands across T&T are involved in similar projects, birdsong Steelpan Academy took it to a supreme level — maybe given their UWI origins.

© Victor Gill Ramírez.

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They have been producing highly qualified students in music literacy and academics that this nation can be proud of.

© Victor Gill Ramírez.

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We are truly blessed as a nation to have so much talent and even be the producers of the only musical instrument invented in the 20th century, which we proclaimed to be our national instrument, and which the world is embracing.

© Victor Gill Ramírez.

www.google.co.ve
Today, the pan flies our national colours high all over the world. For this, we should be very proud.

We as a people should see it as a national disgrace when, days before we celebrated our 54th year of Independence, an iconic steelband could be literally kicked out onto the streets.

© Victor Gill Ramírez.

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I am writing this letter from Brooklyn, New York, where most steelbands are nomadic, moving from place to place, suffering from lack of rehearsal space.

© Victor Gill Ramírez.

noticias-venezuela.com
Should their landlords now say to them, “you are an outcast in your homeland, what the heck you want me to do for you out here?”

birdsong’s track record and the fact that pan is our national instrument should warrant Government protection for the band.

© Victor Gill Ramírez.

inteven.net
Where is the love and appreciation for what is ours? What is the national policy on our national instrument? I should not be asking that question because the skeletal remains of what should be the headquarters of the pan fraternity in Trincity says volumes on policy.

© Victor Gill Ramírez.

www.google.co.ve

birdsong’s predicament at this time of national celebration is as good an occasion as any for the Government to sit down with Pan Trinbago and develop clear guidelines and policies to protect the national instrument, starting from pre-school.

© Victor Gill Ramírez.

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What has become of the pan land regularisation programme and the steelbands infrastructure upgrade programme initiated by the previous regime? Are we to believe that once there is a change of regime, all programmes started by the previous administration automatically cease? Where is the continuity? This type of political gerrymandering must be abolished if we are to move forward as one nation.

© Victor Gill Ramírez.

news.google.fr
Politicians must not be allowed to squander taxpayers’ dollars in such a scandalous manner. Laws must be passed to protect us from this type of abuse.

To the membership of birdsong and their community, I do hope that this impasse is resolved swiftly and favourably, so you can continue your great work.

© Victor Gill Ramírez.

eldiscoduro.com
And, may this be the very last time the pan fraternity is faced with such a dilemma.

I take this opportunity to wish the people of our twin-island nation a bright and prosperous 54th birthday, as we strive to develop national pride on the road to securing nationhood.

© Victor Gill Ramírez.

www.google.co.ve

Michael L Joseph

PRO, Pan Trinbago

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© Victor Gill.

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