bpTT cancels pan space over ‘security concerns’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

bp Trinidad and Tobago (bpTT) Victoria Avenue , Port of Spain – SUREASH CHOLAI

Citing “insurmountable security concerns”, bpTT has confirmed that it decided not to move forward with plans to carry out a proposed activity in the Savannah as part of its support of pan after doing a risk assessment.

In a release, bpTT said it had been in discussions with the National Carnival Commission on a proposal for use of a small area of the Savannah opposite bpTT’s head office during the Carnival season.

“The proposal was a new initiative as part of bpTT’s overall support for pan. It would have included a designated public space highlighting steel pan music, including performances by steel bands, all open to the public. Having fully risk-assessed this activity, we took the decision to not move forward with the activity at this time. This was communicated directly to the NCC via email.”

It noted with concern that a private email between a company representative and the NCC has been circulating on social media.

The email, obtained by Newsday and confirmed by bpTT, said,

“bpTT has noted the recent uptick in gun-related incidents in Port of Spain and environs, which has resulted in the death of a number of persons.

“We have noted with grave concern the murder of someone in the Queen’s Park Savannah over the weekend in the vicinity of the booths that are being erected for Carnival – this being the area that we were looking to collaborate with the NCC on for creation of the pan related Carnival space opposite our office.

“This has prompted internal risk reviews and consultations with our security team, and our business has concluded that the rise in criminal activity and this recent murder in the Savannah makes it impossible for us to move forward with this project.

“We, therefore, regrettably have to rescind/reverse our decision to partner with the NCC to establish the pan performance space.”

The email said bpTT was disappointed in the outcome and thanked NCC for its willingness to partner with them to make the idea a reality.

“We apologise for all inconveniences caused and look forward to a safer time in our nation to be able to revisit.”

In its release, bpTT said its commitment to the support of culture and for the national instrument remains unwavering, and it would continue its customary support for Carnival 2024 and beyond.