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OASIS OF HOPE By Frank Sears

posted 3 Feb 2016, 11:41 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 3 Feb 2016, 11:56 ]

Why are we allowing scalpers to brazenly prostitute the Panorama by selling tickets at cut-prices to the detriment of Pan Trinbago unless, of course, there are officials of this said organization in on the take? I am simply asking why?

Why is TTUTA (Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association) allowing our primary school children attend school as beasts of burden with undeniably overloaded book-bags on their backs?  I am so disgusted that I feel to swear and turn violent. TTUTA if it is one national act you can do, it is save the children from eventual physical damage. I am simply saying have a heart nuh!

And now the damnedest public display of them all. I bluntly refuse to go to another Calypso Fiesta semi-final held every year at Skinner Park in San Fernando. It is sickening to see what everybody knows and nobody in this ‘fool’s paradise’ is doing anything about. I refer to the vexatious, mob-incited toilet paper haranguing of any artiste who does not subscribe to the underlying view that calypso is exquisitely African and being black then (ipso facto) you are PNM.

Therefore, if the artiste is too fair in complexion, like Plummer, or attaches him/herself to another (Indian) political party, like Gypsy, or curry favour like Aloes – the artiste must be heckled even before emitting a note. This has been going on for years, especially when the PNM is in power, so that marginally talented calypsonians would ingratiate themselves before their turn on stage by hugging and high-fiving the known instigators who normally queue in front.

When it’s their time to compete it’s invariably ‘nation-building’ songs with trite references that with the return of the PNM all corruption will stop. The end result is what lovers and students of the art-form have been experiencing over the last decade or more – tuneless, puerile, rehashed monologues.

Now, don’t get me wrong, all past regimes deserve condemnation, none more so than the last one. What I am objecting to is the underlying theme that we seem to believe black people cannot be racist since over time they or their foreparents have been victims of racism. But the point must be made. Culture could only reflect what the society throws up and our society is projecting endemic corruption; urban violence; child and domestic abuse and vapid politicians.

But there is one bright spot, an enigma of sorts. It is really an evolution of working class attributes – the pan-yard. There have been hundreds of steel-bands since the decade of the 40s when Pan, as an instrument, was fashioned. Some died, others frag

mented and still others produced satellite bands. Over all these decades, tens of thousands of people, mostly young and increasingly female have been, and are still being drawn into the pan-yards by the mesmerizing pull of the music.

In the pan-yards, people form bonds of friendship, practise teamwork, express creativity and engage in hard-work through discipline. Yet, with this fusion of people there has never been any taint or perception of violence, abuse or gang 

formation. It means, therefore, that within this same ‘blighted’ society, these are oases of learning shaping

 youth into adulthood driven by an accepted management team which is largely unrecognized.

If these nurturing spaces are allowed to wither then as sure as night follows day, all hell will break loose in our country.  It would be the last straw and barbarism will stalk our land.