What do pan people really mean when they talk about a panorama “strike” ?
As a former union negotiator and local lodge president (LL 2503 0f the IAM&AW), I’ve always taken a strike very seriously , since the idea was to pressure the employer by withholding skilled labor and forcing a compromise.
I’ve always considered a strike a weapon of last resort , since it meant a failure of negotiations.
However , before negotiations , we would get a strike authorization vote , which signified to the employer that membership was united , and would strike if necessary , and if the negotiating committee called for it.
We knew , however , that when we struck everyone lost, since our pockets would be affected by lost wages , while the employer was affected by lost , or inefficient production.
Since the steelbands have become irrelevant to the main course of Carnival which is the street parade,I am not sure how effective such a strike would be , since to be honest , as the steelband’s participation in the street parade has diminished , the effect would mostly be felt by panorama aficionados and players.
I have a feeling that there will be little outcry from the general public , and so the government would care less , except maybe pay a little lip service.
As far as I know , pan people have little if any organized political clout.
This would also have to involve the individual steelband leadership .
In my experience , not all steelbands are democratic organizations , and their leaders may be on a different page than the players.
And I would also imagine that tuners and arrangers may have different perspectives.
So , what happens if players strike ?
Since players are not unionized , bands can recruit and train new players , if inclined to do so.
Maybe the quality of the players available for panorama will take a hit , but the beat will go on.
Ladies and gentlemen , the word is “moratorium”.
What we need is a moratorium from panorama for a year or two , and a complete assessment and evaluation of panorama , its structure , organization , efficiency , funding and allocation of those funds.
The panorama festival is a valuable cultural asset , but questions need to be asked , including whether that asset is best deployed at Carnival time in competition with other carnival activities ?
Or whether that asset can be used more efficiently as the basis for an new mid-year festival , entirely devoted to the steelband and steelpan activities , and to promoting and advancing steelband culture.