Disappointing turnout for Pan Trinbago’s peace march
By CAROL MATROO Sunday, August 11 2013
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Boats are drawn along the Western Main Road in St James yesterday in the Carib Great Race Boat Parade....
Disappointing. This was how chairman of the northern region of Pan Trinbago, Gerard Mendez, described yesterday’s turnout for the peace march held by Pan Trinbago.
The organisation held a peace march from Morvant Junction, along the Eastern Main Road and finished at Victoria Square, Port-of-Spain. Only a handful of supporters turned out.
“I would have thought that with the number of steelbands in Trinidad and Tobago, I would have seen a better turnout. It is disappointing. There is so much crime in the different communities that are affecting the steelbands negatively, you would have thought that the affected bands would have turned out.
“Crime is ravaging our society. Even those who are not directly affected, they could have shown solidarity by joining this march,” Mendez said.
Pan Trinbago vice-president of Bryon Serrette said the pan body was disturbed by the levels of violence and crime in the country.
“The steelpan movement, we have walked that road already. In the early years of steelpan, as everyone knows, the steelband was formed in communities. There was a lot of fighting and warring in those days. We have matured from that. We have come full circle and instead of being the problem, we think we are the solution,” Serrette said.
Serrette said the panyard was a place of peace and believed that if those in authority had more dialogue with panmen, and gave them more support, they would be able to assist in solving crime. He said the steelpan could be used to move the youth away from a life of crime.
“Please come to the steelpan movement and let us help fight crime,” Serrette pleaded.
He said they were not marching against anything, but marching for peace.
“This is a positive march, we’re marching for peace. Even the bandits, we are not marching against them. When we march for peace we are trying to get them out of a life of crime. Their life is under stress. As a bandit your life is under stress because you don’t know who is coming to shoot you. We are trying to get them out of that life where they are not comfortable,” he said.
“Come let us talk about ways and means. We could reach out to the youth in all those communities. We wouldn’t solve all of the problems, but we could make it better,” Serrette maintained.