·Friday, April 20, 2018
Someone asked a question regarding the naming of Pan Trinbago as an organization , and it set me thinking.
Why is Pan Trinbago a “Corporation” ?
Was incorporation in the best interest of its members ?
According to Pan Trinbago (their website) their Mandate is the following :
“Pan Trinbago was formally incorporated by an act of parliament in 1986. The act conferred extensive powers to act locally and internationally to further the development of the steelpan and protect the interest and welfare of the members of steelbands…. “
Pan Trinbago and its predecessor The National Association of Trinidad and Tobago Steelbandsmen ,started out as more of a labor organization, but became a Corporation .
In retrospect , this may have been an error , since , becoming a “business” by incorporation severely limited the power of the membership.
In other words , instead of representing the membership , Pan Trinbago represents itself as a corporation , subject to the rules by which corporations are run , including the powers granted to the Executives.
Because of the nature of a corporation , most of the power of the organization resides with the Executive Board , giving the members the power comparable to , say the worker of any public utility.
This is the reason why there have been calls ( though probably impractical ) for a players union.
But , there should have been no need for anyone to even think of unionization ; Pan Trinbago was meant to be the de facto union.
However, even though Pan Trinbago claims to work closely with musicians unions worldwide , there is no obvious evidence to justify such a claim.
It seems to be a contradiction in terms to represent oneself as a corporation , responsible and responsive to its Executive Bord on one hand , and representing the interests of the “worker” on the other.
At least , as a former union activist , that’s my take.
It should not be overlooked that incorporation negated the ability of pan people to organize politically , and to make demands on the system via political clout and political action .
Such action could include the ability as an organization to deliver votes and gain political support , and even to call strikes and mass demonstrations ; corporations , however do not strike or demonstrate.
Very much like containing the steelbands in the savannah at carnival time , anyone who thinks this was done purely by happenstance , I have a bridge I wish to sell you.