Former Port of Spain mayor Keron Valentine boldly promised to pay pan players before the end of the year, if voted as president of Pan Trinbago in the organisation’s October 28 election.
“I want to commit to all pan players, with every confidence, that outstanding payment for Panorama 2018 will be paid before the end of 2018, should Team New Times (TNT) be elected into office, and of course with Keron Valentine as your president,” he promised.
Valentine made the statement at the launch of the team TNT slate at Newtown Playboyz panyard, Woodbrook, on Thursday night.
“We are a competent and well structured group of pan players, tuners, arrangers, administrators and leaders with a common thread of commitment to service as we seek to steady Pan Trinbago’s ship that has unfortunately run aground,” he said.
“We must begin to operate at the level of good corporate governance, financial independence, integrity, accountability, reputation and confidence to be acknowledged and respected by corporate Trinbago, the government, foreign investors and of course you, the rank and file of the steelband movement, its membership.”
At the start of proceedings, Valentine surprised the gathering when he played the national anthem on his tenor pan, and drew loud applause at the end of his performance.
Peter Kanhai, who will contest the position of vice president, and who comes from a business background, gave a perspective on a TNT-run Pan Trinbago.
He first acknowledged that the task of any incoming executive will be a tough one, and prioritisation as to what can be done in the short, medium and long term must take place.
The memorandum of agreement and what it contains has to be made known, he said, and the true position of the organisation has to be dealt with.
Kanhai also said it will take a new team of people to instil confidence in the business community, the Government and international bodies to bring them back on board to help Pan Trinbago.
He lamented that 17 years after receiving 12 and a half acres of land in Trincity, the organisation’s planned headquarters remains a shell.
Team TNT will go to local and international bodies, he said, to engage them in assisting the organisation to complete that headquarters, which will include a pan factory and warehouse, a chrome factory, an amphitheatre, an 80-room convention-style hotel and a gas station.
“We will pursue that because we need to become self-sufficient financially and there many opportunities to do so,” Kanhai said.
He also spoke of Pan Trinbago Multi-purpose Incorporated, a registered business that has been dormant for the past ten years.
He said it was intended to provide the members of the steelband fraternity with an opportunity to save, and to import in bulk things used by steelbands and the fraternity, as well as to operate like a PriceSmart-style business.
“We need to revive that and bring it alive, because we need to move Pan Trinbago into the industry that is the steelpan and everything related to the steelpan.”
Kanhai also spoke of the need to review the 1986 Act of Parliament incorporating Pan Trinbago in an effort to get it enhanced and strengthened to give the organisation more teeth to control the development and the trajectory of the steelband movement.
Contesting the PRO post is Sandra Awai, who comes from the corporate world and has experience in the pan business, having been part of the Pan Works and Sydney Gallop committees and involved with the More Love Foundation. She said the launch was the beginning of Team TNT’s journey towards growth and further development of Pan Trinbago.
“I always wanted to have a major input, so now I want to work from the inside.”
Today, the candidates for Pan Trinbago president are to meet for a debate at Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain. Valentine is one of seven who filed nominations to be elected president, including the sole woman candidate, Beverly Ramsey-Moore, manager of Tobago band Katzenjammers.
Incumbent Keith Diaz will not seek re-election after a tumultuous term amid allegations of financial mismanagement.