The national Panorama competition will not be included in the line-up for Carnival which is returning this year after a two-year hiatus.
Instead, band members and officials from the Ministry of Creative Industries have agreed to stage a number of events to ensure that steel pan is featured throughout the annual festival.
News of the cancellation was first heard over the weekend, and Observer media confirmed with officials from the Festivals Commission that the marquee event would not be happening this year.
Captain of the Gemonites Steel Orchestra, Joseph “Jowato” Henry, while speaking on Sunday on the Sessions in Steel radio show, revealed that the decision followed a recent meeting with the pan fraternity.
He explained that several events, including one to recognise pan stalwart, Victor “Babu” Samuel, are expected to be held to fill the void.
While the exact reasoning behind the cancellation was not given, Henry shared his disappointment over the fact that every effort wasn’t made to host the event after such a long break.
“I think it would have been a welcomed event for Carnival, whether it’s reduced or not, but I don’t think enough effort was made.
“I know the argument would be monies and outstanding monies, and if you can pay for this year. I know all of that, but I think the time has come when we have to look at Carnival in a different light and realistically, if you look at Carnival in terms of the financial aspect of it, at the head of that you have your government and government is responsible for Carnival. Now if you really look at it, all the funds come from one place, government,” he added.
Wayne “Deadly” Henry of the Supa Stars Steel Orchestra also shared his thoughts on the matter.
“I agree. Every effort should have been made to have Panorama. Then, you hear some of the excuses coming from some of the bands about players are going to be disenfranchised and left on the side, and so on. I listened to the argument and I said ‘yeah, players are going to be disenfranchised and left on the side’ but where are they now?” he asked.
“Now we have no Panorama whatsoever, the same players that you are saying are going to be disenfranchised are still outside and have to find something else to go and do,” he added.
News of the axing of the steelband competition followed reports that popular mas’ band, Myst Carnival, will not be taking part in this year’s Monday and Tuesday mas’.
The band explained that, despite its best efforts, they will not be on the road for Carnival Monday and Tuesday, pointing to the Covid-19 pandemic as the cause for a shortage of materials, huge price increases and uncertainty in shipping and delivery times.
Coupled with the short lead time to produce costumes, the band said it would be impossible for them to deliver the high-quality product that patrons deserve.
They will, however, participate in T-shirt Mas’.
Popular calypso tent, Golden Eye Calypso Review also pulled out of this year’s celebrations as well.
Managing Director of the calypso tent, Dave Lester Payne, explained that there were a lot of things going on with which he was not satisfied or pleased, and he decided against operating this year.
However, the Calyspo Monarch competition will be held, but under a new format that will see a Commentary and Bacchanal section.
President of the Qualadli Kaiso Collaborative, Eugene ‘Kaseba’ Silcott, explained that a different format was created this year to boost attendance at the event.
“We have created a different format for the competition this year, where it is a one-song competition in two rounds. You can have an artiste competing in the commentary round and you can have one participating in the bacchanal round.
“If you notice the name, that’s going to be the name for the different rounds. So, the commentary will be social or political or whatever, and the bacchanal round is basically the up-tempo one where we want to get individuals back into the party mood like what it used to be in the old days,” Silcott explained.
Two separate winners will be crowned, and a cash prize will be up for grabs. The exact amount is yet to be finalised.