If only pan music were the food of love…

By Raffique Shah
August 09, 2009


SteelpanEver so often I wish I can forget the sad state of my country and instead enjoy the luxury my columnist-colleague Keith Smith does. I can see Keith’s eyes “open wide”, blurting out: “Luxury? What luxury? Dis man mad or what?” No, I’m not mad. Over the past week, to use one example, Keith has focused on his community, Laventille, on the tenth anniversary of its pan festival, a feast I enjoyed in its early years, but which, sadly, I have not attended for maybe five years.

As an aficionado of pan music, I can vouch for the evolution of that street parade. In its first year, there were fewer bands, some of them half-bands, really, and wider gaps between their appearances and performances. Within three years it had grown to a mini-Panorama, even better than its St James “cousin”, this written against the background of pan rivalry between East and West Port of Spain having outlived the infamous steelband clashes of yesteryear.

What struck me most about the Laventille festival was the fact that thousands of people from outside the district could attend and enjoy the fare dished out by accomplished pannists without fear of, well, being in Laventille. I mean parking one’s vehicle on some back street, walking freely along the main road and liming until late night, then returning to your car with caution, but not fear. That spoke volumes about a community that in the minds of many has descended into a hellhole that you’d want to avoid like the proverbial plague.

I envied my other op-ed colleague, Martin Daly, another “pan peong” who, last week, wrote about his soul-satisfying adventure at Desperadoes’ pan theatre where one of this country’s (and the world’s) finest steel orchestras dished out a gourmet fare of music. That Pat Bishop continues to stay close with Despers, in spite of the war zone in which the band and its members exercise their creativity and finely-honed skills, is a tribute to both Pat and the band’s leadership.

Keith wrote about his conversations with Leroy Clarke, the two men wondering what if, because of the crime blitz, Despers was forced out of the district that gave birth to pan? On this latter score, I know Norman Darway, pan historian from the West, would come at my throat. Mercifully for me, Norman and I go down well, so he would sooner engage me in debate than a cussout. But the scenario that Keith and Leroy painted in their minds’ canvas is not far-fetched.

On the eve of this year’s Panorama I had cause to telephone and speak with a senior member of Despers. I mentioned to him I had heard that the band was forced to move its instruments away from “the hill”, onto the “flats”, in a manner of speaking, in order to go through it pre-Panorama drills without worry. He confirmed the rumours, but hastened to point out that the band had done that for a few years within recent times. And yes, it was because so many of its players were young, some coming from outside Laventille, and the band’s leadership not wanting to expose them to the dangers that lurked when they reported for band practice.

In fact, another veteran Despers player, Eddie, who now resides in Washington, had, during our email exchanges, mentioned a disturbing incident. A couple, as in man-and-wife, Despers’ players, having walked up “the hill” for practice, were returning home (maybe close to where Keith lives) on foot, well after midnight. They encountered a small group of armed men who, not so politely, asked if they were pannists. When they confirmed they were, the youngsters requested they wear white T-shirts in future!

The nerve of these “young guns”! There they were, up to no good, probably waiting to kill some rival gang members, accosting musicians whose joy was entertaining pan music lovers like Keith, Leroy, Martin and me, among tens of thousands spread across the world. If music were the food of love, to paraphrase Shakespeare, these petty punks did not give a damn.

They are steeped in hatred, hatred for their own brethren, disrespect for their elders, caring nothing about what Despers and Hilanders and Tokyo and Renegades and All Stars have done, by dint of hard work and dedication to the artform, to put Trinidad and Tobago on the world map.

Recently, I viewed a video forwarded to me by another pan-lover and journalist-friend, Sherrie Ann de Leon, in which NYPD officers were playing away, on pan, with gusto, in some park in New York. There was the police chief, energetically drumming away, as he explained to the media why his department chose steelband music to reach out the Black youths in their community.

In another clip I viewed a few weeks ago, an all-Japanese pan ensemble played their hearts out to-wait for it-an equally energetic, all-Japanese audience. When we cannot appreciate what our people have created, when boys with murder on their minds prefer the sound of gunshots to sweet pan music, we reach.

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27 thoughts on “If only pan music were the food of love…”

  1. Don’t worry Uncle Shah , as long as Best Village is dead, Pan is on the verge of taking it’s last breath in the land of it’s birth through national neglect , and black folks remains at the bottom of the social and economic barrel in the land their foreparents toiled to create with little rewards in the end , but Tassa ,Mastana Bahar , Hosay , Chutney Soca , as well as Pagwa excels, or remains beacons of greatness , and our East Indian community remains vibrant socially and economically , then we have nothing to worry about but to extol the negative impact of racism in Sweet T&T aka Rainbow Country ,as highlighted by our noble Opposition leader Mr. Basdeo Panday during our recent Emancipation Day Celebration .
    It is absolutely clear that him and others of the ‘anti ethnic cleansing Brigade Bandwagon,’ will continue their fixation on denigrating African Trinbagonian folks in our country via overt and covert strategic mechanisms ,by first dismissing their sterling cultural contributions ,and secondly , reminding us daily with the aid of national complicit agents that they are crime obsessed , lazy ,and envious sexual predators of ‘the noble people’ and assets belonging to their selective communities , under the misguided notion that such outrageousness would ensure that some positive political returns would accrue as a result.
    I could be totally off based on this one , but something deep in my soul tells me otherwise, as I examine the tea leaves on the landscape. Many in my country would finally begin to obtain a perfect night sleep the day when this man Bas is sitting in a 6 by 5 maximum security prison cell with only cockroach infested Bermudez Crix Biscuits, and salted Coco Tea for breakfast , lunch and dinner , for not only his and family crooked , corruption misdeeds while serving as Prime Minister , but for what he has subjected this nation to psychologically , both while in and out of political power.
    It is only when his political demise is guaranteed that our country might finally begin the task of some healing , but hopefully he would be able to drag along the numerous rabble mouth ,divisive agents and protégées like Tim Gopeesinghs and others that daily abuse the privilege of being a part a growing and yes, thriving democracy. Of course this is wishful thinking on our part, and has as much chance of becoming a reality to the same degree to which both political parties can agree to work together on any issue of substance that can benefit our nation in any tangible way.
    Since it is evident that all matters that are negatively affecting our country stems principally from the presence of blatant economic disparities amongst the contending tribal social classes, shall we therefore mention as a first priority for rectifying the situation , long overdue land reform ?

  2. One of the dominant themes in most of Neal’s writings is “land reform”. I wish he would explain exactly what he means.I caution him though to remember that T&T is not Fiji, Indians in T&T hold legal titles and deeds to their purchased lands and not leases.This man must be one of the most frustrated nationals in T&T as he spews his anti-Indian rhetoric on a daily basis.
    I don’t know where he is finding his statistics on the African population in T&T, but the evidence clearly shows that Africans in T&T are a successful, thriving population going about their daily activities without the racial baggage which seems to be dragging him down. Let us not lose sight of the facts because of the misdeeds of a small minority (of both races) who are failing to grasp the opportunities which are provided to them.

  3. It’s a new world order T-Man , and you can decide to join the sides of the progressives, so that in the final analysis you can perhaps save what remains of your tenuous largesse , by being part of the winning crew, or hold on steadfastly to dinosaurian ,Middle age, and tethering 20th century old school thinking ,where you can guess what fortunes awaits you and similar obstructionist .
    Why not take some time away for your daily CBS Network news , to go to the library and borrow Michael Klare, book entitled ‘Resource Wars and Blood for Oil? While reading , put your entire country into the picture , and ask yourself how can I as an individual , and collectively as a people hold on selfishly to what I only obtain as a quirk of history , and not have to look over my shoulder fixated on my social prison?
    Do you think that simply because you said that all is fine with African people in our country ,then that translates to success? In the mean time Dr. Tim and the ‘Anti- Ethnic Brigade’ can continue to rile up the illiterate tribal fan masses as to their plights , with erroneous claims that nothing can be linked to their leaders ineptitude, but phantom evil boogeyman and women that so happen to be presently in political power?
    Yes we are aware that Fiji – and don’t forget South African Indians – do not have legal land deeds like their Trini Indian counterparts , and that’s because we are a thriving democracy. Care to doubt that? OK If not then why did an Abu Backer orchestrated government not hold power after his infamous power shenanigans in 1990 , and yet he and his 20 wives not strangled at the gallows along with his high price lawyer and most of his other benefactors absent from Parliament on that fateful day ?
    Let’s see ,the Sugar cane as well as rice industry is dead , and East Indians are no long planting , but opting to run to Canada , England and Australia as refugee, or drive around the island in Lexus and BMW‘s . Where does that leave us in terms of state lands. Some would say get on with it ‘Mr. Divided,’ and your policy wonks , as you survey and parcel out the lands to those in need including the fast approaching Antiguans, St Lucians , Grenadian etc prepared to fill the farming voids . Up the ante on house construction and resettlement for the Brazilian like Favelas settlers from John , John , La Canoe ,and Never Dirty Movant. Now if that result in 36 to 0 in the polls for the PNM for the next 50 election , then so be it . We can put the blame squarely on the greed manifested by the likes of T- Man and his ‘dog with the bone pack.’

    Can you believe this good folks , I wrote some 2,500 blogs during the past year and the only thing this fool can come up with is I am anti Indian. How pathetic , and if one might add , even arrogant indeed to think that T- Man has the audacity to believe that yours truly is spending so much time writing simply because I am fixated about my East Indian cousins- who as every one is aware , could care little about the likes of me, since they are the ones that are doing fine.
    T- man, my concerns are for oppressed peoples who ever they might be. If the majority of scrunting Indians in my country want to believe that they are better than others with kinky hair, and that whatever problems that forces many to line the streets outside the Canadian Embassy to escape our country to join you on the unemployment lines in Canada is due to the PNM and not their leader’s ineptitudes, good for them.
    I have a much bigger concern my friend, and if you were able to finish high school as claimed then you would clearly decipher exactly what exactly it is. Big picture T-Man, don’t put myopic interpretations to my comments as you remain fixated in your Canadian fortress afraid to venture to your country due to fear of your own thinly disguised demons.
    Still think along with Uncle Kengal that Tobagonian should be satisfied with $ 10,000 per head ,as you plan your next Crown Point Great Race Store Bay bikini jam with the eighteen year old young lady , and our English friends recuperate , not in the Scarborough hospital ,but the POS general dominated by enemies of Dr. Tim Gopeesing – the Nigerians and Cubans under qualified invading doctors ? Talk about a clueless , misguided character. Ah , I should not have fell for this foolish move by cousin T-Man. Am I not the Grand master , and learned from the feet of the smartest woman that ever lived, that often from a strategic standpoint , one must “ play dead to catch corbeaux alive?”

  4. Neal, I wish you well as you plan your revolution, but I must caution you that it will fail. You cannot win against “dinosaurian ,Middle age, and tethering 20th century old school thinking”.Unfortunately, your “progressives” are stuck in the past, and as you invoke outdated information to rationalise your revolutionary thoughts, your thesis falls flat, stumbling in the face of practicality and rational thought.

  5. It’s funny how Pan has been romanticized in this exchange. Perhaps funny isn’t the word, but strange is considering that my grandmother thinks negatively of pannist or pan music. Perhaps it’s because she is from a different time period.

    It seems that Pan has been exported and corruption on our own community imported. American gangsters seem to be what the local youth prefer to model themselves after.
    Is this self hate perpetrated as a result of a lack of parenting, local history, and or pride? I am not sure if the different Bands could have done more to positively influence today’s youth.
    A certain quality of life is being imported by wealthy forces abroad through trillion dollar efforts of communications and media conglomerates whose only goal is the fiscal bottom line without thought or consideration of its effects on “offshore audiences”. Shutting them down by abstinence of imported entertainment is one, thing, but communities have to unite, strengthen, and grow from the inside out rather than deteriorate from the outside in. It’s nice to export the culture to foreign audiences especially in this day of globalization, but we must be mindful of the impact that not placing us first at home is having on our culture.

  6. “my grandmother thinks negatively of pianist or pan music.” It is not only your grandmother Curtis that despise pan , but so does 99.9% our our population. Don’t worry ,one day we’ll open the Encyclopedia Britannica and hear that the Bajans , Swedes ,and Japanese created it ,and Jamaica is now the Mecca, then your granny grandchild would jump on board.Why ? You and many other need validation from others – especially Europeans as to what is good , beautiful , effectivfe, and profitable. I am almost certain that presently , Yardees Carnival surpassed ours in terms of quality , and stature. What a self hating , clueless bunch of people Trinis are, eh?
    One cannot really blame the illiterate folks at the bottom of the barrel, when globally recognize elites are known to kiss the Queen and the Princess butts to get a Knight hood, then sold their souls to obtain other awards, all the while denouncing their country of birth. With citizens like these , who needs enemies?
    This joker T-Man just proved my point about a mindset still chained to the past. He stupidly believed that I am referring to a political violent revolution as practiced by some of his favorite undemocratic countries across the globe.
    Notice tomorrow he’ll come on the bloggesphere and still lament about escalating crimes and PNM /UNC absent solutions ,as if nepotistic jokers like Panday and his archrival Manning cares about him and his family that lives in virtual prisons.
    Stay fixated to the Tribe T-Man , we have fine examples in South Asia where your kind of progressiveness worked.

  7. I don’t need validation Neal nor was I not attacking Pan. I suppose that Pan was too secular for her Catholic family in the 1930’s and forties when she was a citizen and resident of Port of Spain.

  8. I understand fully what you are saying Curtis. Pan was too secular, but her son and Grandson could not go to catechism without one of the despicable male religious ‘princess of the church’ aka Father Priest ‘gnawing’ at them unfettered, eh?
    I wonder if she was alive today, she’ll support a class action suit against the Vatican that would demand compensation for the direct and indirect sexually abused families of the 195 nations across the globe that this Church had a foothold/ stranglehold in , from 1492 to present time.
    You see Curtis, there obviously is a fundamental difference between you and I, and it either stems from in part the type of Grandmother we had, or rather what we were prepared to learn from them in terms of wholesome values and ideas.
    Mine died when I was at the tender age of 16, but to me that ‘Kinky haired Mandingo Queen’ was the greatest woman that ever lived, and one of the most influential parts of my life, for obvious reasons. As such, I have paid tribute to her via liberal quotations of her philosophical thinking throughout approximately 70% of my previous blogs. She would for example encourage me to be a straight shooter by discouraging me from “beating around the bush,” when it comes to speaking. Put another way Curtis, let the incorrigible T-Man hide behind his phony diplomacy, you in contrast are a budding progressive that can see ‘eye to eye’ with someone like my granny, who often said – “plain talk, bad manners.”

  9. “let the incorrigible T-Man hide behind his phony diplomacy”.

    Neal, I refuse to indulge in name-calling, generalizations, unsupported opinions and sensationalism to make my point. As a matter of fact, I know how to succinctly state my case without offering up a tirade of irrelevant information, simply to show how well I can access the internet to feed my ego and to convey the impression of intellectualism and learning.”Quality and substance often supercede quantity”, and my grandmother did not say that.

  10. Of course you love staying above the fray as claimed , and it’s due to the fact that you in contrast T-Man are one of the classy acts on this board , eh? Is it therefore one of the reasons after reading and observing the content of my various blogs over the course of a year, you’ve decided to have the audacity to label me as “one of the most frustrated nationals in T&T,….that choose to spew… anti-Indian rhetoric on a daily basis.?”
    Unlike you and many others on the so called tribal/ ethnic divide T-Man , I am on record as denouncing Afro centric leaders for repeated neglects of their people that they professed to obtain a mandate from via constant support through the decades.
    I lamented the high state of crimes in my nation that I view as a very severe problem if foreign, as well as local entrepreneurs and our dedicated citizens are expected to remain confident that ours is a country that’s still worth investing time , monies and energies in , and yet your denunciation primarily because I choose to focus on 1990 and it’s fall out as my starting point for our gradual demise and not as you wish some in grain cultural deficit from one despised and neglected group of people that comprise our nation since your beloved British lift since 1962.
    I have suggested a new revolutionary approach in politics for our country , and one that would not be stupidly obsessed with only beating the PNM ,then start going at each others throat like cats and dogs as Panday and his stooges did against Tobago ANR Robinson , and his 1986 NAR government ,just because the man decided to show some love to Ken Gordon – a financial backer ,in much the same vain as Jack Warner is to Panday today ,until he Jack and his political Kaisonian ,pseudo Yankee MP buddy is no longer useful-or perhaps more appropriately , his ancestors did not emerge for the ‘Fath Al Razak’ in 1845.
    What do I hear from T-Man ? Mere denunciations , and pompous dismissal about my naiveté and unfamiliarity with the subtle interlocking interplay of Trini backward racially divisive rum shop politics that is absolutely guaranteed to ensure that Patrick Manning and his party remain in power until 2050, or someone with the guts can emerge with some original and progressive thought that does not need vetting from neo colonial borderline despotic ,political dinosaurian , nepotistic , king pins .
    Good of you that you can succinctly state your case T-Man ,and that means that you were taught well in the land of your birth , and not necessarily in North America , Asia, or Europe, as several un mentionable ungrateful blokes like to make the world think , while dismissing the efforts of the hard working teachers and unsound heroes in our public service.
    Now if only you and others can have the courage to speak clearly , while standing up the tribe as well when ever you see failings on their part, this is how you can build a nation. Finally T- Man , every comment I make on this board , I can substantiate in some form or fashion ,as I do not need to hide behind some phony name , nor need to grovel to some foreign benefactor due to the fact that they bend over backward to grant me a green card , citizenship, or highly treasured award .
    I need to “feed my ego and to convey the impression of intellectualism .” Who does this guy think he is talking to? That’s what unconscious ,self loathers need to do my friend. I won’t change a thing about me if you were to put the 10 richest men together and promise me all their money if I did. My sole allegiance T-Man as global humanist, is for the uplift meant of all people. I therefore hope to see us all operate in peaceful coexistence , without destruction of our global environment , with equal rights , and human justice at the forefront of all actions. It matters very little if you are the CEO of a multibillion conglomerate corporation , the Commander in Chief of the greatest country on earth , or any local or other foreign and regional political figure ,same kaki pants T-Man – “plain talk , bad manners.” If you have problem with it and find it overbearing as it prevents you and pals from constantly listening to the narrow politically motivated screams of hate mongers like Dr. Tim Gopeesing and company , then get out of the fast lane , as driving on this information highway is certainly not for you.
    What a great country , I used to go to sleep every night as a kid with the sweet sounds of steel pans reverberating in my ears , and T- Man most likely never viewed a pan in his entire life until he saw one on the Canadian Broadcasting TV documentary special , and here our beautiful conversation on Uncle Shah’s original pan thread has degenerated into an imbicilic tribal ego inflated cyber joisting ,led by a master egomaniac manipulator eh!
    Warm regards.

  11. Speaking of food, when did “doubles” and “Bust up Shot” become regular TNT food items?
    I referenced my grandmother who said that there was no such thing when she lived in TNT. That has been almost 60 years now.
    No Neal, I doubt if should would support a class action lawsuit against the Vatican.
    Neal we are probably not hat different at all. In fact, if your family is not from Grenada or another country, our grandmothers probably knew one another years ago. How about that? We are probably related. There is still hope for you in life!

  12. You would be surprise to know that they don’t know about it in Pakistan ,and I am almost certain India as well Curtis. In 95 I walked around Islamabad for almost 5 hours looking for a roti , and almost got a heart attack when they brought be equivalent of Peter Bread family from their underground oven. Well there it is , a lot of evolving took place since the time of our adorable grand moms. This is however the biggest joke / irony Curtis .Eleven years ago I was in Pretoria South Africa and wanted to show off Trini style to some of my culturally lost urban /rapidly emerging Eurocentric African friends, with some of our indigenous steel pan – the only musical instrument that was invented in the 20th century as you might recall. You guess it , I could not find an authentic CD of any Trini artist of refute.
    But alas I was saved by Andy Narell the white New Yorker that Boogsie taught to beat pan with Phase 2 Pan grove , and he eventually went on to win a Grammy I believe , while our pan genius succumbed to cocaine.
    Narell was the rave in South Africa during that period , and was on the verge of performing in the country with the launch of his new CD – ‘The river come down.’
    I tell you what , if someone threatened to chop me up into tiny pieces and throw me as bait for the Cat fish that unscrupulous Maracas Bay side walk vendors offer to unsuspecting gullible black , brown , yellow ,and white tourist as shark , I still won’t hate this our country.
    “Dey don’t know bout roti up in India,
    Dey don’t know bout Steel band in Africa ,….
    For is only you the de Trinidadian , knows about Obeaman.
    Because is right here you would find your identity ,
    believe me ,
    Is right here you would find your identity!
    Am I wrong?”
    Sing Dr. Chalkdust.

  13. “You guess it , I could not find an authentic CD of any Trini artist of refute.”
    Before Ms. L , T-Man ,or one of our numerous blogging intellectuals have to chastise me for misleading the young and gullible minds ,let me make a correction for my mistake above. The word I meant to use initially was ‘repute.’

  14. Neal, your story just highlights my point that Indian, Chinese, European, and African Trinibagonians need to drop the act if you will and just be Trinibagonian. How or why it is that one who has never lived in these other places is so adamant about bringing the culture of that place to the mainstream of everything Trinidad? It’s not where you’re from but where you’re at. In this case, most are not from the places that they are trying to represent which makes any discussion on race or social politics sort of amusing when someone is described with words that separate based on country, culture or landmass. However, when it comes to the food, our flavor consists of recipes that have evolved or assimilated to a tolerable communal norm.
    It makes me wonder what if people were only the food of love… in a non cannibalistic way. Better yet, if Trinibagonians were only the people of love….. How would our society be then? Would we be less like the coveted New Yorkers whom of which are more like a stew than a melting pot? I guess we will have to wait to know. There is absolutely one thing for sure and that is that it is up to us to protect these “evolved” social contributions as our own and hold the world accountable to our claim that Doubles, Bust up Shut, and Pan are Trinibagonian.

  15. I appologize for going off topic for any reader who hasn’t been keeping up with my comments.

  16. Your lamentations are not totally off base Curtis, and simply reflects the fact that we are still stuck at phase one of our national developmental and modernization process. Some would argue that we are still a country attempting to find it’s way within this complex social collectivity where members lack a common identity, history, ethnic and racial origins, religion, common economic life , geographical location, and political base. It takes time my friend, for a people to develop a “strong sense of common identity and unity.” Often the push back from such a reality comes from the most unlikely sources.
    The first and older generation that can still remember what transpired for life in the original homelands from whence we all came , might not really be the culprits, but the younger , often much more educated and sophisticated ones that sometimes- even with all the successes they might have achieved – feels a sense of social alienation that two days of Carnival mass , 50 ethnic festivals , 5 cars, 10 houses, offshore bank accounts , lofty civil service positions, or in numerous cases borderline poverty submersions in our version of ‘rickety capitalism,’ and political morass ,cannot erase.
    There are those I am certain that tend to believe that I am usually being facetious when I claim that my country with all its challenges , “is the greatest one on earth,” and that I won’t trade it for anywhere else in the world, even if our Black God ‘who art in heaven,’ was to come down from above and demand it of me with treats of fire and brimstones .
    It is beyond doubt a fact that we are much better off in ‘Sweet T&T aka Rainbow Country,’ because of this wonderful calaloo , oil down ,and peleau mixture. We will therefore get to that symbolic promise land there in time Curtis, as long as the will exist. Let’s hope it would not require a China’s Chairman Mao equivalent , a Yankee styled anti/pro slavery revolutionary and 2 century post slavery interracial love feast , two European patterned world wars, Israeli/Arab homeland creation interplay , Grenada New Jewel Movement / Yankee Cowboy President shakedown, Irish / British 400 year old struggles, or the destructive Yankeee CIA forays amongst the Guyanese / Jamaican socialist believers examples.
    Cousin C , simply savor if you will, the sweet sensations of one of my ‘Black Socrates Disciples’ Denyse Plummer. It’s called nah leaving, and explains why some of us -the socially conscious -remain engaged in spite of……
    Keep the faith , my friend.

  17. Neal, yuh crying again boy? Why you dont come out and say you dont like indian people please? Come nah jsut say it keyboard warrior…Maybe you inherit something from Shaka Zulu before he brothers killed him

    When culture is strong, it will survive, hemce why the indian culture has survived..

    Why dont you go to anywhere else in the world and preach your ideals..

    You went Islamabad and didnt get roti…sigh…You do realize that there are different types of roti eh? Is there only one type of Dashikee?

    I am sure your eye open BIG and say hmm..look at dem indian dem..they is the one who take from my African grandfather..wehhh weehhhhh sob sobb..

    God man..give it up..lol..you racist bobo..

    Steel Pan is alive and well…only in TnT is it dying cus the people do not know what they have and they do not cherish it until it is gone

  18. Listen folks , I need some advice , should I take this stupid bait and respond in kind to this clueless Nate Olumbuli and his foolish and unsubstantiated accusations? Actually I lack the energy, and most importunately inclination so to do, when we have much more pressing issues to deal with. You are barking up the wrong tree Nate.

  19. I’ll tell you why cousin Curtis. Throughout the King James Olauda Equano African Sun God Bible , our Kinky Head creator was very tough on fools , and I tend to follow in his precepts. The last time I checked the African name dictionary favored by many of our black Yankee brothers,Olumbuli meant ‘undeveloped , foolish child.’ Now it’s not Nate’s fault that his parents should be so callous to burden him with such a name , but one would think that the phony would be conscious enough to work on his unfortunate malady and attempt to elevate his mental faculties to as to handle a credible discourse. Unfortunately, that was not to be the case, as he choose instead to throw unfounded arrows at yours truly. The irony is that thousand of our real Indo Trini friends and families saw my blogs , and fully comprehend what my underlying motives were when I hit left ,right ,and center, like a jackhammer on all and sundry irrespective of race ,or class via my commentaries .
    None with more than an apple in their heads for brains viewed me as bias when I attacked Manning , Dr. Williams, Robbie , Rowley , and the PNM brigade through the decades. No one considered me as a self hater , because I held the hands of global African leaders hands to the fire in terms of stewardships from Zimbabwe , to Montego Bay Jamaica, South Africa , Nigeria and Newark. They did not say, hey read what this anti white racist is saying when he called for modern day accountability for former Europeans colonial masters ,and present day industrial conglomerates beneficiaries. As a matter of fact ,my sometime skewed attacks on the domestic front are no different to the occasional rap on the knuckles that a conscientious teacher , or caring parent would give to a delinquent kid that occasionally step outside the boundaries of decency and respectability as is the norm for the civilize. My priorities are never for the narrow tribe , but Sweet T&T aka Rainbow Country as a whole- something our distant cousins on the motherland might well do to learn.
    It is why some years ago I wrote a long letter to Uncle Makandal Dagga of NJAC fame advising him on how to reform the African movement . Enough with the stupid name changing ,and Dashiki wearing nonsense, nappy head, and sandals wearing crap, as it means absolutely noting if some of these fools are still locked in mental slavery. Remember when at one time a two bit black thug with go to prison in T&T and Yankee land , and return with a skull cap , and quoting the Koran verbatim and ten wives , and everyone felt that this made him a Muslim ? It is the same Kaki pants, as Obama the Black liberator said Curtis – “a pig painted with lipstick is still a pig.” These phony religious clowns got to work on the inside as well , if they are to tell the Imam to go to hell when he tell them to try and destroy our democracy as they stupidly tried in 1990, and failed miserably.
    I even told him that some of the elite , pompous Africans are laughing at us when they see us proudly displaying what we do not often know are prison garbs. I told him that of the 890 million people in Africa today less that half a million would be caught dead in anything but a western outfit -and that includes the Western front states that Nate is pretending to come from. What a comedian ! Please relay my info to him cousin Curtis, in the interest of “healthy discussions” as you generously claimed. We have a country to save Curtis, and part of that could mean deporting the imposter Nate so that he can return to the Nigerian Army to serve in the Delta region , so as to defend foreign oil conglomerates from his suffering Christian fellow nationals that he claim to still treasure.

  20. The youths today have too much time on their hands. Pan is beautiful, here in London young people actually appreciate it. For most schools it is part of the national curriculum. While still living in Trinidad as a youngster in the 60s, we had Church, Sunday-School, Arts and Craft classes etc. So many things to keep us occupied,and of course we were brought up to appreciate and celebrate Pan as a Trinidad invention. Those days are gone. looks like Jesus is out, satan is in, and that spells trouble. Murder, Drugs,Sex outside of marriage,a lack of respect for our peers and elders. We really do reap what we sow. I say send them to boot-camp.

  21. Raffique Shah, this is the first time I have read one of your articles and it is fantastic. You are spot on, in your analysis of what is going on with these vagabonds. They are like their father-The devil, roaming around to and fro looking for something or someone to devour. Then they blame the system, but it’s really what’s going on in their heads. the majority of people do not behave that way, despite the system. Something has to be done to prevent Trinidad from ruin. They are supposed to be the next generation, and unless something happens to change this cycle of mindless crime. Then god help us all

  22. As Carnival approaches, I wonder if our ears will hear the tunes of some popular Yankee artist that has a less than stellar personal life or will we be rewarded with the music of our culture? I’m worried with all of the want to be other than Trinibagonians running around.
    If I may make a request for this carnival season alone, may I request that we stick to pan, calypso, and if we must soca music? Our overpriced flag means nothing if we only listen to foreign music especially during Carnival.

  23. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtPtcN00eAg

    Thanks Uncle Shah for drawing attention to this tragedy as you lamented “When we cannot appreciate what our people have created, when boys with murder on their minds prefer the sound of gunshots to sweet pan music, we reach.”
    How can you hate the people of this country when sometimes you don’t know if to laugh or cry at their follies? There is not a creature on this planet capable of producing this level of skillfully organized artistry , with so little to begin with, or miniscule rewards for their efforts.
    How many of these guys are going to sleep at nights not knowing if their homes would still be there in the morning after the occasional heavy rains, or their kids can return home to unemployed parents , after dogging bullets from gangbangers that patrolled their neighborhoods, as opposed to Lange Park, West Moorings, Valsayn, and similar high end safe and secured enclaves ?
    Do you think when the meme gangs are crying about proposed exorbitant land taxes, while still fixated with laschievious greed over the spoils of once useful governmental lands they are about to get compensation for , a thought is given for these pan-beaters that are stuck in their Brazilianlike favelas? Who will give 40 acres and a mule, or throw any conceivable bones to the fevala residents of John John,Lavantille, Nelson/ Charlotte street , Morvant, and Belmont, where this musical ambassadors thrives?
    Would the so called Afrocentric government offer any scholarships for a few of the young kids that choose to practice and play a pan , as opposed to those of the privileged that are the usual beneficiaries who want to and are instead capable due not solely to lack of intelligence , but nurturing and opportunities to be doctors , lawyers, and businessmen ?
    Speaking about an unstated paradox, Brazil was and still is like that. For years they’ve dismissed the black Africans children of slaves as, well as their contributions as insignificant. Today that country is an emerging industrial giant, and the unquestioned leader in Latin America ,that proudly unites around Samba as a symbol . Can we do the same, or simply prefer to adopt it’s similar ugly dehumanizing neo colonial vestiges of neglect and abandonment of the poor ?

  24. Well stated Neal. I cannot understand why a country would not want to utilize all of it’s potential to maximize the standard of living for all rather than stick to a failed system of denial and exclusion that separates the masses and sterilizes the community, and culture of it’s citizens. We have so much to offer and by doing so can improve the quality of life for all of us. Where is the pride in being a Trinibagonian? We do not have to fight to define our national identity. History tells us who we are in this nation that is Trinidad and Tobago. We need to embrace what is “Trini” rather than continue to embrace everything (despite it’s purpose or quality) that is not “Trini”.
    If you can’t get on board with that, then you should leave and live in the country that you truly claim your loyalty and allegiance to.

  25. That culture of exclusion and denial is so imbedded into the society, it even find itself here at Trinicenter (wid dem Afrocentric Image), yeah right.
    Leh meh tell allyuh.. Ah too experienced to ‘fall’ in love at first sight..I an not a kid.
    Buh anyway, Pan came out of a violent history.. A history of denying the African drum.. Did they ever ban the Indians from beating their drums Stevie?
    But they always running up their mouth bout DiscrimmyNation.
    Now, what is this about allyuh Saviour falling down? I guess love is blind.

  26. Remind me again who gutted our Best Village, and or relegated it to the dustheap of history in preference for other gyrators, and drummers from unmentionable ,’more noble, and culturally superior species,’ I wonder who is responsible for denying the “African drums” since much desired white Massa left our neck of the woods?
    Sorry , Roger , you were not referring to goat skin drums , but steel oil drums, hummm?
    Me think Africans have no monopoly on that unless you feel that some of the sweetest Panorama music that emanated from Amoco Renegades by arranger Jit Samaroo, was a mere aberration. Perhaps we can learn lessons from one of my favorite countries, Brazil.
    I stand corrected.

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