Daly Bread: Mamaguy in reflection season—TTPS, Gov’t and Business community must improve

EPL Infrafred Sauna

There is a discernible season, which commences on Independence Day on 31 August and ends when the annual National Awards Ceremony takes place on the evening of Republic Day on 24 September, which falls next Sunday.

That period may be categorised as a season because it characterized by certain events taking place annually: decorative bunting in our national colours strung on buildings, official messages of reflection on being a nation, attempted inspiration, a military parade, toasts at protective service locations, pan music gigs and an official fireworks display.

A flagman walks on the running track at the Hasely Crawford Stadium before kickoff of a Concacaf Nations League A fixture between Trinidad and Tobago and Curacao on 7 September 2023.
Photo: Daniel Prentice/ Wired868

I call it reflection season.

There was nothing inspiring about the messages delivered on the 61st anniversary of our Independence. The officials indulged in deflection, victim-blaming, petulance in the face of criticism, and delusional balancing of what we have “achieved”.

These messages, unsurprisingly, had little positive influence in lifting the gloom pervading the nation about our vulnerability to violent crime at any time and any place of the criminals’ choosing. To make matters worse, “Crime Down Christopher” poured salt into the gaping wound.

I refer of course to the now notorious remarks of Commissioner of Police Erla Harewood Christopher, who claimed on Independence morning at the gathering at the Police Administration Building that the Police Service “has been making substantial progress in its crime-fighting initiatives”.

We were the recipients of a mamaguy repeatedly performed for two decades. The abysmal crime detection rate and the impunity the criminals enjoy cannot be deflected.

Commissioner of Police Erla Christopher.
Photo: TTPS

The abundance of pan music during the season of reflection provided brief suspensions of the pervasive fear of violent crime. There is a well-established relationship between pan music and the season. The relationship has grown with the designation of August as pan month.

The month of August has become a full prequel to the reflection season and gives the season a feel-good factor.

Before the pan month designation, there was pan music in celebration of Independence Day.

Steelpan supporters enjoy pan on New York Times for World Steelpan Day on 11 August 2023.
Photo: Consulate-general

Subject to correction by pan historians, Starlift, now Proman Starlift, led the way with an Independence Day panyard brunch—which I am informed began in 2000 when Starlift were still at their Western Main Road location close to Roxy cinema.  There are now other gigs on Independence Day.

Significant tribute must also be paid to Cleveland Garcia now, deceased, and his family for the success of the Pan on the Avenue event, which he firmly and perceptively linked to our Independence/Republic Day period.

I fear for this joyful event going forward. Perhaps the demise of the Laventille Pan Parade at the beginning of pan month will serve as a wake-up call to assist in carrying forward the Garcia legacy.

Photo: Pannists at the Junior Sammy Group Skiffle Panyard in 2013.
(via Pan Jumbie)

Shell’s recent support of the expansion of Invaders’ panyard is noteworthy.

Pan month is a designation that has substance as a result of the creative action of our cultural sector.  By grim contrast, the declaration of crime as a public health emergency contains little or no substance because of no action to give the declaration substance.

Sadly, our politicians speechify and exploit the output of the steelband movement, but have no coherent policy for the further elevation of pan.

Dignitaries open the Desperadoes Pan Theatre on Sunday 16 April 2023.
(via Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts)

We must beware of government mamaguy support for pan while attempting to use it as a sedative for our fear, anxiety and pain.

Hopefully, President Christine Kangaloo’s clearly expressed support for panyard development will soon translate into invitations to youth bands to perform at fortnightly Bandstand concerts and so avoid those concerts being merely other occasions of subsidised fete at which established bands perform.

Meanwhile, spokesmen for the business community speak of crime putting business under pressure.

A police officer investigates a bomb scare in downtown POS on 18 October 2021.
(via TTPS)

A sharper degree of reflection might lead to the realization that the business community, like many other elites, has put the pressure on itself by readily tolerating poor governance, contact state enterprise pickings, uneven foreign exchange distribution, questionable public procurement practices and tribally-based electoral contests, while the drug and gun trade flourishes.

The consequences of such tolerance have inexorably led to the breakdown of good order that now endangers all citizens.

The attainment of socio-economic justice is plainly espoused in the Preamble to the Constitution. Where are the reflections on the better attainment of it for those communities to whose unbearable pain there has been cruel indifference and expressions of prejudice?

More from Wired868
Daly Bread: Gov’t must address long-standing policy deficiencies on pan and CAL

I first used the phrase “panyard model” in a column published on 1 February 2007 entitled Restating the Case for Read more

Daly Bread: Stagnation reconfirmed, as T&T braces for Keith vs Kamla rematch

As was widely expected, the local government elections (LGE) resulted in a repeat of the control of the 14 local Read more

Daly Bread: Will T&T be left behind in evolution of steelband’s global footprint?

A large crowd, of which I was a part, attended the celebration of the United Nations’ declaration of 11 August Read more

Orin: The risks of lighting them up—and pro-gun soundbites

“[…] Earlier this year, National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds said that 25,000 citizens have licensed firearms. Some will therefore face Read more

Daly Bread: Laventille pan parade cancellation shows gap between nice words and real support

From time to time, politicians say things with which we can agree in principle.  However, we are regularly disappointed when Read more

Daly Bread: Here we go again—Police Vetting Unit is doomed to fail

The latest responses of the current Government and the Commissioner of Police to the crippling wave of murder and violent Read more

About Martin Daly

Martin Daly
Martin G Daly SC is a prominent attorney-at-law. He is a former Independent Senator and past president of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago. He is chairman of the Pat Bishop Foundation and a steelpan music enthusiast.

Check Also

Daly Bread: Gov’t must address long-standing policy deficiencies on pan and CAL

I first used the phrase “panyard model” in a column published on 1 February 2007 …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.