If Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts Minister, Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, is correct, where did the $5 million given to Pan Trinbago go?
Panmen took a decision on Wednesday night to boycott Panorama 2017 because of outstanding monies owed to Pan Trinbago for 2016.
But on Friday, Gadsby-Dolly said the entire subvention was paid to Pan Trinbago for 2016.
Gadsby-Dolly said, “Five million dollars were released to Pan Trinbago by the National Carnival Commission (NCC) in October for this purpose. This represented the last tranche of 2016 subventions to Pan Trinbago. Government has therefore supplied the entire 2016 subvention to Pan Trinbago and expects they would remit what is outstanding to the members of their organisation.”
At a meeting of panmen on Wednesday, Pan Trinbago President Keith Diaz said Pan Trinbago received $5 million on October 28, “which was a shortfall of $2.7 million and which was spent on the steelband from Tobago for hotel, meals and transportation.” He added, “I did not want to start paying panmen and end up in a situation where all would not have received their remittance but this exercise will begin shortly.”
At Wednesday’s meeting, it was reported Diaz said that Minister Gadsby-Dolly was unwilling to meet with Pan Trinbago to discuss the allocation of money.
But Minister Gadsby- Dolly said, “I continue to be accessible to all persons as much as possible. In some instances, when I am not, the Permanent Secretary and/or Deputy Permanent Secretary stand in and meet with groups and/or individuals.” Minister Gadsby-Dolly said that $168 million was allocated for Carnival 2017 and given to the NCC.
On Wednesday night, panmen insisted “no money, no Panorama.”
Ace pan arranger Len “Boogsie” Sharpe told reporters the Pan Trinbago executive should resign immediately and an interim body be established to run the 2017 Panorama competition if there was to be one. He also said the event should be boycotted under the existing circumstances.
“No Panorama! No Panorama, No Panorama,” angry attendees shouted.
He later said he could not guarantee the staging of any Panorama competition next year.
“They are very serious with what they are saying,” Diaz said.
He said allocations are not given to his organisation but the National Carnival Commission (NCC).
Diaz said Pan Trinbago was seeking a meeting with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to discuss the matter.
Several panmen walked out of the meeting, expressing their displeasure over the situation and even called for Diaz’s resignation as leader of the steelband body.
Pan player Dane Gulston said panmen were owed money and despite a promise to have some of the outstanding money paid, there was no guarantee of Panorama next year. He said the Pan Trinbago executive must “shape up or ship out.”
Manager of Desperadoes, Panorama champions for 2016, Curtis Edwards said his band was in support of the proposed Panorama boycott if the money issue was not settled. “Time for talk done. It is strictly no Panorama,” he said.
DR NYAN GADSY-DOLLY