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Caribbean

Published on August 23rd, 2013 | by Richard Braithwaite - Trinidad Express Newspapers

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Steelband possibilities

Pan Trinbago is currently celebrating Pan Month throughout the country and at the inter-faith service to launch the celebration Fr Clyde Harvey remarked that “panyards are sacred ground and should be used to effectively address the crime situation plaguing this country and help rehabilitate youth”.  A timely reminder especially at a time when gang violence is wreaking havoc in east Port of Spain. In delivering his speech, the popular Roman Catholic priest echoed a philosophy that was articulated almost ten years ago by the late Lloyd Best. In a series of articles entitled ‘School in Pan’ Best highlighted the need “to build community spirit and guide the transformation of young persons by giving them a means of creative expression through their involvement with the steelband”.

Like Fr Harvey, Best was a tireless advocate for Trinidad and Tobago to, as he put it, “design forms of organisation inspired by our own experience and traditions”. It is indeed a pity that after 50 years of independence there is still this profound lack of self-confidence in our indigenous capabilities and there remains a persistent search for solutions that originate beyond our shores. One of the more important lessons to be learned from Jehue Gordon’s brilliant performance on the world stage is that “home grown” does not mean “second best”. Like Jehue, the steelband  is completely “home grown” with the potential to significantly “guide the transformation of young persons”.

The annual budget will be presented in a few weeks and already the Ministry of National Security is hoping for a massive allocation to support the fight against crime. Millions will undoubtedly be spent on instruments of suppression and while these are necessary it is equally important to invest heavily in the so-called “softer” side of policing.  Police Youth clubs, for instance, can play a major role in rebuilding trust between the police and the communities but they require considerable technical and financial assistance.

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