Pan Trinbago President Beverley Ramsey-Moore has blamed the pushing back of elections and the extension of her term of office by two years on the COVID-19 pandemic which interrupted the work of the body that governs the steelpan community in T&T.
Her critics within the steelpan fraternity argue that she does not have their full support and she is abusing her power by staying in power without facing elections.
“We had an extraordinary meeting last Sunday at the Radisson Hotel. Members decided to debate a motion to give the executive an extension for the next two years. As you know, our convention was postponed because of the state of emergency and the protocols with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have served almost a year of that term already. The members agreed that we should have an extension. The motion was debated and 110 persons voted for the extension and 12 persons voted against and eight abstained. It was a democratic process,” Ramsey-Moore told the Sunday Guardian yesterday.
Ramsey-Moore assumed her position as President in 2018 which was supposed to last until 2021 and the convention was due in October 2021 but she said the COVID-19 protocols did not allow it as in person meetings could not be held.
“We met with our members in small numbers and they advised us to postpone. On Sunday, the body agreed that the executive lost two years in office and we didn’t have a Panorama in 2021 and we lost two years of activities, they said I should continue in office.”
She added that it is not the first time that Pan Trinbago has gotten itself into such a situation.
“One of the reasons why I allowed the motion is that there was precedence where our same membership would have moved and agreed on a motion for an executive to continue in office from 2012 to 2015, so a precedence was set for that. It is not about me, it is about what the membership wanted.”
She also said she will seek legal advice on the issue.
Captain of the San City Steel Symphony Aquil Arrindell who has been critical of Ramsey-Moore’s actions told the Sunday Guardian that they refuse to be drawn into any legal battle with her but at the same time they are seeking advice on her “illegal actions.”
“A motion such as that could only be legal if it is in a convention. What took place Sunday was not a convention, it was a continued meeting from an extraordinary meeting. The original agenda was to discuss pan month and to ratify minutes. The agenda didn’t have anything to do with extending her term. No president has the discretionary right to decide whether they want an election or not.”
Commenting on next year’s carnival, the first full carnival since the pandemic started in 2020, he said members of the pan fraternity are professionals and despite controversies in its governing body, they always act professional during carnival.
“Steelband people always get the job done. Every time you see a successful event it not because of Pan Trinbago, it is because of the resilience of the steelband man.”