Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 24th 2015 Contents A9
Saturday, January 24, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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Desperadoes arranger Robert Greenidge and Super Blue display a CD of Pan Hooray, the band's tune of
choice for this year's Panorama competition during yesterday's press conference at the pan yard, Queen's
Park East. PHOTO: CLYDE LEWIS
Despite high crime and band members fears
for their safety, steelband Witco Desperadoes
says the community of Laventille will always be
Band Manager Finbar Fletcher said this yesterday,
as the steelband presented its performance piece
for 2015, Pan Hooray, written by arranger Robert
Greenidge and Austin (Super Blue) Lyons.
The band also celebrated the 50th anniversary
of its partnership with tobacco company Witco.
The steelband was in the news recently when
Atiba Pantin of Diego Martin, who was helping
move pan racks, was shot and killed by gunmen
during gang warfare at Rudolph Link Road in
Since the murder, supporters and members have
been cautious, with diminished numbers visiting
the steelband, despite its temporary relocation to
Queen's Park East, opposite the Savannah.
Fletcher acknowledged that members and sup-
porters were afraid to go to Laventille to support
the band. However, he said, the band's manage-
ment had tried to make the environment as safe
He said while the crime in the community was
affecting the steelband, the band would not die.
"We are trying to fight against it but, yes, it is
affecting us. We have been around for 75 years
and we will still be around to fight it in the years
For the past five years, the band has relocated
to Belmont during the Carnival season, to give
fans, wary of visiting their pan theatre in Laventille,
an opportunity to watch them practice.
"We'd prefer to stay in Laventille but apart from
crime, an equally compelling reason to move down
is because of the space," Fletcher said.
"The space is not adequate for us. You would
have seen in the newspaper tenders for the recon-
struction of the panyard. We are trying to address
the problem of the space, we can't fit in the yard
"So even if there was no crime, we might still
be down here."
Referring to the murder, Fletcher said, "The
band was not targetted in that incident but we
will still have a police presence at the pan yard."
He added that the band was working with the
Police Service to monitor practise sessions and
give the public peace of mind.
will always be home
The Joint Select Committee (JSC)
has extended the deadline date to Feb-
ruary 6 for submissions on a pre-pol-
icy paper towards creating an inde-
Making the announcement was head
of the committee House Speaker Wade
Mark during a press conference held in
Saying the decision was made after a
number of oganisations had requested
more time, Mark added, "In light of this
and the committee's acknowledgement of
the need to consult with a wide range of
citizens and organisations the deadline
date was extended."
He said the paper was meant to consult
on the policy position of the legislative
proposals for the Draft Houses of Parlia-
ment Services Bill 2014.
A final policy paper, Mark said, would
be drafted on the basis of written sub-
missions from stakeholders and this policy
would inform the amendments to be made
to the bill.
On whether the final policy paper would
be submitted before the Parliament dis-
solves on June 17 this year, Mark said if
the committee was satisfied with stake-
holder participation then the policy paper
would be submitted.
If not, further consultations would take
"The Joint Select Committee has been
mandated by the Parliament to report on
this matter sometime before the end of
April this year. We have a lot of work to
do and we are conscious of the task that
lies ahead. "There is no definitive deadline
in terms of completion but we would do
whatever is necessary to have a democratic
process in which all stakeholders are
involved and there would be no rush,"
He added that 98 organisations were
invited to make submissions, but so far
only 12 had done so.
Giving an idea of the feedback, JSC
member Emmanuel George said one par-
ticular issue had to do with staffing, espe-
cially with what arrangements have been
put in place to address the transfer of staff
who currently fall under the Public Service
"Another is the whole rationale of going
in the direction of autonomous Parliament,"
Mark, however, emphasised that the
better organised Parliament was internally
the better legislation could be processed.
This in turn, he said, would strengthen
democracy and promote economic well
Public hearings involving three major
groups are expected to begin next Friday.
Mark said the JSC was also anxious to
hear from the various unions including
the Public Services Association (PSA) and
the National Union of Government and
Federated Workers (NUGFW).
"The Parliament has taken many impor-
tant steps on the road to becoming an
increasingly efficient legislature. The estab-
lishment of parliamentary autonomy will
be another important step to development
and maturity of the legislature.
"T&T should enjoy the benefits of a
Parliament able to function with a proper
degree of independence and administrative
authority from the Government in line
with the agreed benchmarks of democratic
parliaments and in line with the principles
of best practice," Mark added.
Deadline extended for policy
paper on Parliament
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