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Pannists want Panorama pay

SEAN DOUGLAS Thursday, January 5 2017

ABOUT 100 pannists protested yesterday outside Pan Trinbago’s office in Portof- Spain to demand the payment of $1,000 in appearance fees for Panorama 2016 and to demand the resignation of the Keith Diaz led executive.

Leading the protest, ace pannist Dane Gulston lamented the relatively modest turnout of protestors but was undeterred in his demands for action.

Initially an irate Gulston told reporters he had met hostility when he had entered the building to try to present a letter signed by him calling for Diaz and his executive to resign.

He alleged past disrespect shown by the Diaz administration to the calls of pannists, and call for a new interim executive made up of regional heads. Gulston read aloud his letter, hitting the executive for claiming a $1.6 million loss from Panorama 2016, and for rendering Pan Trinbago as a “sinking ship”. However about an hour later, he said two of his fellow protestors - Pan Trinbago Eastern Regional head, Gerard Mendez, and Northern Regional head, Carlon Yearwood, were engaged in talks with Diaz inside.

Concerns arose that pannists had not been paid, against a backdrop of Culture Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly saying the allocation had been sent to Pan Trinbago, against claims that Pan Trinbago is $30 million in debt and concerns about Pan Trinbago’s spending on luxury vehicles.

Among the protestors were Desperados former captain, Martin Cain; Power Stars representative, Lyndsay Tom; Roger Thomas of Moods Steel Orchestra; and a member of the Codrington Pan Family.

Cain was confident the turnout was sufficient to send a message to the executive, and once 60 percent of members sign a letter to call for the resignation, the executive would have to go. He hoped Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley could step in to resolve the impasse.

Nearby, watching the protest was former vice president, Byron Serrette, who said he had come to observe, even as he disclosed his own concerns about the Pan Trinbago administration that had led him to voluntarily resign in protest. He alleged that the administration was inept and had been unwilling to take advice that he had proffered to try to put Pan Trinbago on a more professional footing. Serrette alluded to having been met with hostility by the executive.

Asked if he’d support any call for Pan Trinbago’s governance and financial affairs to be scrutinised by the likes of the Auditor General, Integrity Commission and Parliament’s committees such as the Public Accounts Committee, Serrette said a hearty yes. While he supported pannists raising their voices for their just due, he said that it is now time for the involvement of these type of higher-level watchdog bodies. Denying that he wants to become Pan Trinbago chairman, Serrette said only a madman would want to lead an organisation that is $30 million in the red.

Dennis Singh of Edinburgh 500 Steel Ensemble vowed to boycott Panorama 2017.

Mervyn ‘Boots’ Britto said yesteryear’s panmen would not have engaged in dialogue but have got physical over their disgruntlement.



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