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WHAT DIAZ?

Melissa Doughty Friday, January 6 2017

click on pic to zoom in

PANMEN who went to the bank yesterday attempting to cash cheques individually valued at $1,000, left empty-handed and singing a sour tune, after the cheques ‘bounced’ with bank officials saying there was no money to pay them.

This was confirmed by ace pannist Dane Gulston and came hours after PanTrinbago president Keith Diaz promised the nation, via a television morning talk show, that $1,000 owed to thousands of panmen, as playing fees for the 2016 Panorama competition, would be paid. Gulston said he intends to lead another protest of panmen while PanTrinbago executives hold an emergency meeting tomorrow at the Grand Stand, Queen’s Park Savannah.

“Today (Keith) Diaz came on air ‘live’ and said cheques will be given out today. Yesterday (Wednesday) in a meeting when we had the march…people collected their cheques at their regional offices and when they went to the bank, the cheques were not honoured,” Gulston yesterday said. The pan organisation, Gulston added, hastily ran and issued the cheques without saying the money was not yet deposited in that account.

“It’s only after, when people went to the bank and did not get the cheques cashed, they were told the money was not there.

Then the (PanTrinbago) office called and said to tell the rest of people not to try going to the bank today (yesterday). That is real unprofessional!” On the TV6 Morning Edition talk show yesterday morning, Diaz was asked more than once by host Fazeer Mohammed whether or not the monies owed to panmen would be paid. Diaz said ‘yes’. “To date yes,” Diaz said, when asked if pan players had not been paid.

He said a meeting was held with the membership to explain the situation to panmen. “We did not hide. We said to our membership this is how it is. They were annoyed and felt that they should be paid. I want to state to the general public that that position is dependent on Government funds being received. But we have made arrangements and the money will be paid. So that will be taken care of,” Diaz said.

Asked yesterday by Morning Edition host Mohammed when panmen would get their money, Diaz responded, “today and beyond today.” Mohammed asked if Diaz was stating that pan players would receive their money today (yesterday). Diaz said, “yes.” On Gulston’s Facebook page, a picture of one of the PanTrinbago cheques which ‘bounced’ was posted and drew many comments.

“Well look bacchanal now. PanTrinbago giving people bounce cheque. Just came from the bank and they not going to change any Pan Trinbago cheque,” Dareem Ford commented.

“I was told now to wait until Friday to change the cheque,” another person said. “The cheques are not ‘bounced’, the money just ain’t reach the account yet”; “That’s called total disrespect and will make confidence in the organisation even lower”, were other comments posted.

On Wednesday, panmen protested outside the PanTrinbago head office in Port-of-Spain over the non-payment and called on Diaz and the execution to resign.

Contacted for comment, chairman of the National Carnival Commission (NCC) Kenny De Silva said the commission intends to look at the operations of individual cultural groups after this year’s Carnival. He described meetings the NCC held with Pan- Trinbago as “inconclusive.” LATEST: DIAZ FALLS ILL A press release from PanTrinbago, issued last night, claimed that Diaz had a “medical emergency” and was rushed to a medical facility at 1.30 pm. As a result, the release added, PanTrinbago urged panmen with cheques not to go to the bank “until further advised.” Richard Forteau, the release stated, has been appointed to act as PanTrinbago President.

The release added that the scheduled emergency meeting set for tomorrow at 1 pm at the Grand Stand of the Queen’s Park Savannah was “postponed until further notice.” The release ended: “In light of the circumstances, if ever we need togetherness is now, we urge members to be united in prayer.

Please be guided accordingly.”

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