President and members of the Grenada Steel Pan Association (GSA) is calling for a full investigation into Spice Mas Corporation’s dealings with the promoters of Xtreme White including the resignation of its president and members of the board following last Saturday’s abrupt postponement of Panorama 2017, while patrons were already seated in their numbers awaiting the start of the event.
Addressing members of the media during a press conference on Wednesday, GSA president David “Peck” Edwards said the association is no longer willing to accept any disrespect from Spice Mas Corporation and therefore in going forward would embrace a different approach to doing business.
In a public statement read to members of the media by the Public Relation Officer of the GSA, Brian Sylvester, he noted that in light of what had transpired in 2016 when members of the victorious band were denied access for a victory lap on a stage that was prepared to host Xtreme White, CEO Kirk Seetahal and his team had demonstrated that they are not capable of handling the responsibilities of the SpiceMas Corporation and should, therefore, do the honorable thing by stepping down.
The president noted that following 2016 event they were willing and in fact commenced negotiation with the various stakeholders to prevent another embarrassment. However, he noted, there was a breakdown in communication resulting in what transpired last Saturday.
Peck said people should learn from their mistakes and therefore to make the same mistake twice clearly shows that the organizers of SpiceMas are not serious about Carnival. In going forward he said, the public would be informed that once the proper facilities are not in place long before there would be no pan competition.
Peck said as far as they are concerned SMC is fully responsible for the planning for all SpiceMas events and therefore the construction of a proper stage should be part of that planning. He noted that to be told at the last minute that plans for the construction of a stage fell by the wayside should never be an excuse for what occurred on Saturday; a travesty not just for pan but for culture and the entire island of Grenada.
The issue according to the PRO is far deeper than just the construction of a stage and access thereon. What is of concern, he noted, is that questionable bond between the SMC and the promoters of Xtreme White.
Sylvester said it is no secret that the SMC had total control over any event held within the carnival period and therefore to push aside a national event for a private event must raise the red flag and hence one of their reasons for calling for a full investigation into that bond.
Last Saturday saw all bands registered to perform at the Panorama finals at the National Stadium present and ready to perform, however the stage to host the event was not completed and even if it was, the pan men said they were not willing to risk their lives and the destruction of their equipment on a structure they said was not strong enough to take the weight of the bands.
After a series of back and forth discussion with the various stakeholders including government and SMC the event was called off close to three hours after it was scheduled to start.
The statement released by Pan Association calls for full compensation for all bands, in the sum forty-eight thousand dollars, the quantum allocated for the winning band.
The president reminded that pan is not a carnival art but fits into the social fabric of our society and therefore deserves better treatment.
Meanwhile, despite what was said last week as it relates to a new date for Panorama, there would be no pan competition on Saturday, August 19th. Included in a recommendation to the Government and the SMC is for the removal of any competing event on the night of Panorama or any other national carnival event.
Peck said, “we are no longer willing to take words but we will judge people by their action.”
In a statement from Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell, he called for a full investigation into what had transpired, while hinting that some heads will roll.
However, in a press conference called by the Minister of Culture Hon Brenda Hood later the same day, she took full responsibility for what happened and vowed that it would not be repeated.
The minister said today (Friday), the association would be given an offer pertaining to the compensation it is asking although up to the time of her press conference, according to her, she had not seen the proposal as yet.
According to Mrs Hood, the pan association was the one that insisted on panorama being held at the stadium and had taken the responsibility of getting a contractor to build the stage. She said the4 contractor had agreed that the stage would be constructed on Wednesday but construction only started on Saturday afternoon.
Minister Hood said from here on government needs to work together with the pan association so that the art could reach the highest level.