The funeral services for former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, veteran trade unionist and politician, Basdeo Panday were conducted in Trinidad’s second city, San Fernando last week. His body was later cremated according to Hindu rites and his ashes scattered in the Gulf of Paria according to his wishes.
His death led to a pun on his name, given that his country is now into the 2024 Carnival season to the effect that “No pan dey”.
However, the local steel band movement, united as Pan Trinbago, has been demonstrating that Pan is very much alive and an active ingredient in Carnival activities. Given the scope of the pan, all over both Trinidad and Tobago, Pan Trinbago has been undertaking the colossal task of organizing Panorama activities, not just on a single national level but also at regional and age levels, as well as for different categories of pan.
Last month, Pan Trinbago held a national competition for single pan bands, won by the Hord Masters Steel Orchestra, for the second year running. Then no sooner had the new year come than Pan Trinbago was at it again, organizing competitions at various levels.
Last Friday night, the New East Dimensions band from Tobago ensured that the trophy for the Small Bands category, and the TT$400,000 which went with it, remained in Tobago by emerging victorious in that category.
Then, this past Sunday was a real Pan Day at the Queens Park Savannah with competition in three categories starting at 10:00 a.m. and lasting until after 8:00 p.m. The bands were judged in three categories- Primary Schools, won by St Margaret’s Anglican Boys; Secondary Schools with the Holy Faith Convent from Penal the winners; and the Junior category for players 21 years and under. Here the traditional Big Bands were allowed to enter their young players and the reigning Senior Panorama champions, Renegades, must have had huge satisfaction in their juniors emerging champions.
Mr. Panday has departed but “Pan still dey” in T&T.