Pan Trinbago President: We will complete headquarters on our own

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

PLAYING ONE FOR PATRICK: Members of Proman Starlift Steel Orchestra play a song in tribute to former Pan Trinbago president Patrick Arnold at the Grand Stand, Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain on Thursday evening. PHOTO BY AYANNA KINSALE – AYANNA KINSALE

PAN Trinbago head Beverley Ramsey-Moore said the organisation, along with the pan fraternity, will be building its headquarters on its own. She made the statement at a tribute service for former president Patrick Arnold at the Queen’s Park Savannah on Thursday.

Ramsey-Moore said land was given to Pan Trinbago for construction of a headquarters over 20 years ago, but there was no formal agreement between Udecott and the then Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts.

“There was some goodwill based on discussions, but based on the several letters we would have seen, Udecott has been asking the ministry to engage them formally and from where I stand, tonight I can tell you that Pan Trinbago will be building that structure on its own, based on discussions thus far.

“When I say Pan Trinbago, and we have to do this for Mr Arnold, it doesn’t mean it is the central executive. Pan Trinbago is an organisation of steel bands, we have several steel pan enthusiasts, several people who would want to see the completion of this facility, and if you should pass there at this time, you will see something will be happening, we will all work together to make sure our industrial headquarters will be completed in the future.”

Ramsey-Moore said the Pan in the 21st Century competition will be dedicated to Arnold’s memory, with participants competing for the Patrick Arnold Challenge trophy.

Former eastern region vice chair Peter Kanhai said Pan Trinbago was 23 years into the 99-year lease on the property given to the organisation, so he was happy to hear things were moving forward.

Former president Richard Forteau said “people keep saying what Pan Trinbago do with the money. The organisation was never given a cent for the headquarters. The money was always kept by the Ministry of Community Development. I want this to be the last time I say this, this is a Udecott project.”

There were tributes from the various regions of Pan Trinbago, with Arnold being remembered for his many contributions to the steel band movement. He was remembered as someone with vision and drive who was always willing to listen to suggestions for taking the steel band movement forward.

His contributions included changing the names of the pan around the neck players to single pan, ensuring higher prize money for bands, demarcating bands into small, medium, and large, the creation of Caripan, taking Carnival Champs in Concert to Tobago, advocating for pan players to have agents, starting tuning courses in North, East, South/Central and Tobago, taking pan to the US, and many others.

Among those paying tribute were former Culture Minister Joan Yuille-Williams, current and former executive members, and others who would have worked with Arnold, including Urselin Blackett, Desiree Myers, Sandra Awai, Keith Simpson, Amelia Guillaume of Our Boys conventional steel band, Richard Foteau, Keith Diaz, Peter Kanhai, and Judith Laird.

There were also tribute performances from Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, Joseph Lett, Proman Starlift Steel Orchestra and Desperadoes Steel Orchestra.

Arnold’s funeral service will be held on May 23 in Tobago at the Roman Catholic Church in Scarborough.