Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 23rd 2014 Contents A12
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt February 23, 2014
For the first time in 38 years, the Skiffle Bunch
steelband will be entering the Panorama finals with-
out a sponsor.
Skiffle, one of two San Fernando bands in the large
band category, placed eighth in last Sunday s semi-
finals, with a Ray Holman arrangement of Chucky s
The other, NCLB Fonclaire, which is hoping to bring
home the Panorama title to the south with its Ken
"Professor" Philmore arrangement of Anslem Douglas s
Big in D Dance, placed ninth.
Skiffle s CEO Junia Regrello said there is a reluctance
on the part of corporate T&T to sponsor steelbands,
especially those from the south. He said companies
are opting to partner with soca artistes and high-
profile activities and events from which they can get
Contractor Junior Sammy Ltd came on board with
Skiffle in 2012 after financial woes crippled the band s
longstanding partner Trinidad Cement Ltd (TCL) just
before Panorama that year. Junior Sammy parted ways
with the Coffee Street ensemble after the 2013 Panora-
ma finals, where the band placed fifth.
However, Regrello said the band was going full
speed ahead with a very positive outlook.
"I want to take the opportunity to thank Junior
Sammy, who came on board to rescue us for Carnival
2012 and stayed on for a year. It was not a full sponsor,
it was a contractor helping us to get back on our feet,
and because of their contribution we were able to
make it to the finals," Regrello said,
Regrello said since Sammy left they have been trying
to woo other interested investors, without success.
"It is the first time in 38 years Skiffle is going into
the Panorama without a sponsor. People have made
small but tangible contributions, but to get to Queen s
Park, we need 14 trucks to take up our equipment,
PTSC buses to transport our 120 players. You are
looking at anything near $100,000," Regrello said.
Arts and Multiculturalism Minister Dr Lincoln Dou-
glas has said $2.7 million will be made available to
assist some 170 steelbands without sponsors.
Regrello pointed out that the scarcity of funds from
the business community is hurting the artform. He
said with the exception of a number of companies,
what the steelbands get from the corporate world is
basically good will.
"There is a lack of sponsorship and commitment
from corporate bodies to San Fernando and south
bands in general," Regrello said.
Because of financial challenges, several bands have
reduced their size from large to medium and from
medium to small.
He referred to Petrotrin and its sponsorship of
several bands, including Deltones and Hatters and
Phase II. Petrotrin president Khalid Hassanali said his
company is providing full and partial sponsorship to
about 20 different steelbands. He said they also provide
support for the communities in which they operate.
"Hatters has gone down to medium, Deltones gone
down to small. But on the other hand, one might ask
why is Petrotrin still with Phase II and the answer
is that Len Boogsie Sharpe is a kind of genius who
Noting the number of young players now occupying
pride of place in the panyards, Regrello said companies
have to weigh their input into youth and community
development as opposed to marketing prospects.
Pan Trinbago: More sponsors, please
Pan Trinbago president Keith Diaz agreed, pointing
out, however, that steelbands get great support from
a great number of businesses. At the moment, he
said, the pan body is negotiating with several businesses
"We are targeting those who have not yet come on
board to partner with us. Sponsorship is a thing of
the past. We want partnership with the steelbands,
partnership with Pan Trinbago and partnership for
Diaz called for at least ten per cent of the revenue
Carnival brings into the country annually to be rein-
vested in pan. He said with an ever-increasing crime
rate there was advocacy for youths to get involved in
the pan as an alternative to crime. Yet he said there
was a disconnect as this could not be achieved without
"I saw a band from Morne Diablo, where the oldest
youth in the band was 15 and the youngest five or
six, playing in Panorama. I want to thank parents who
allow their children to go out to the panyard. Long
time, I used to get licks to go into the panyard. Today
I am seeing so many of our young people gravitating
to our panyard and I say it is a blessing for the pan
He also commended the T&T Guardian for featuring
the photographs of a number of the young players in
"I thank you for showcasing the young people play-
ing the pan. They are buying out the Guardian. I heard
one player whose picture was on the paper tell his
mother, Mummy, you have to buy six Guardian. "
Skiffle Bunch enters Panorama
finals without sponsorship
Members of Skiffle playing Ray Holman's The Wedding on Wednesday night during South/ Central Region National Large Conventional
Preliminaries judging rounds at their panyard on Coffee Street, San Fernando. PHOTO: TONY HOWELL
DR. CARYL-ANN RAMLAKHAN
(upstairs Better Value)
Gulf View Link Road, Gulf View
222-9861, 468-2563, 362-3917
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