by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- Interim committee comprises 7 members including 2 current principals
- Interim committee officially presented to the public on Tuesday, 28 May
An interim committee for the Grenada Steel Band Association led by its Chairman Victor Ashby, former principal of the Grenada Boys Secondary School (GBSS), was officially presented to the public on Tuesday, 28 May after an embroilment which ensued within the organisation led to the resignation of Jason Skeete as its president in April 2019.
As a result, meetings were held with Minister for Culture Norland Cox together with managers and arrangers of the various steelbands to discuss the fate of the organisation going forward which remained without an active executive for a short period.
A decision was taken to appoint an interim committee that will steer the ship until elections are called in September 2019. The interim committee comprises 5 other members including 2 current principals: Dominic Jerimiah, Principal of Presentation Brothers’ College who is serving as vice-chairman and Stephanie John, Principal of Alpha Junior who is serving as secretary. The other members include Learrie Barry, interim representative on Spicemas Corporation board, Andy Chichester as treasurer and media personality Lew Smith serving as public relations officer.
Minister Cox indicated his approval of the appointment of members of the interim committee, stating that it appears the organisation is on a solid footing. “We are quite happy and elated with where we are in terms of the work and progress of the Steel Band Association and the perspective of in terms of where do we go from here, for the development of this important cultural asset. We have gone through several weeks of deliberations, discussion, meetings and I believe that we are on a sound path to ensuring some stability in the growth and development of the steel pan fraternity.”
Ashby said the committee is tasked with the responsibility for planning pre-carnival and Panorama activities but is required to leave in place a roadmap for the succeeding executive. In a nutshell, he stated that the agenda received clearly points to the following major categories of engagement. They include:
- To consolidate and strengthen the legacy and branding of the Grenada Steel Band Association.
- To be proactive to lead in the major engagement with SMC to stage the Pan Expression and Panorama competition
- To revamp the administrative and management structure of the organisation through its draft constitution to enable timely and proper elections
During his address to members of the media, Ashby spoke of one of the first urgent items on the agenda is the execution of Pan expression schedule to be held on Sunday, 7 July at Tanteen Netball court. Regarding the execution of Panorama 2019, Ashby believes that there should be no competing events vying for the public’s attention on that day.
“We are satisfied that the Saturday before Carnival is sacrosanct when it comes to steelpan, I don’t want no competition there, that date is sacrosanct because if it were not then the culture will be at a compromise.”
He continued, “Pan is central to every other aspect of the culture in this country and securing that time and that space for the endeavour of the development and strengthening of the Pan culture which is ‘the culture’ is absolutely vital, necessary and urgent.”
Speaking on the issue of lack of sponsorship of the smaller steelbands in competition, Vice-Chairmen, Dominic Jeremiah indicated that this process of revamping the association will require the consolidation and rebranding. He also stated that the issue of sponsorship of smaller bands in the competition will also be high on the agenda.
“Sponsorship is something that we have not discussed at length as yet, but I think it is not too early to make a pitch to the business community that one of the ways we can ensure longevity of the steel band association is to ensure that bands have the proper structures in place so that they can attract sponsorship.”
Regarding whether the Junior and Senior Panorama will be held on the same night, Jeremiah said the committee has not yet made a decision.
“Whether, in fact, we will have both competitions on the same day. We are already beginning to hear about advantages doing it that way, but the committee has not settled on that matter as yet.” Meanwhile, Ashby hinted of the establishment of a steelband coming out of the sister isles of Carriacou that will be observers of this year’s Panorama 2019.
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