Gaston Browne Administration Must Change Its Tune About Panorama 2024, says Simon


In the lead up to Antigua’s Carnival dubbed “The Caribbean’s Greatest Summer Festival,” Hon. Kelvin Simon, M.P. for St. Mary’s South, is sympathizing with hundreds of pan players and enthusiasts who are currently in limbo. He is gravely concerned about the uncertainty surrounding this year’s Panorama competition and the future of steel pan in our country. He is also dissatisfied with the last minute negotiations that left players with few options and little time to explore alternative sponsorship arrangements.

A self-described cultural maven, M.P. Simon believes that the Gaston Browne administration is “playing games” with the country’s culture. Referencing their failure to meet the The Antigua & Barbuda Pan Association’s (ABPA) budget, or a reasonable option to meet their operating costs, he characterizes the government’s position as backward and visionless. Simon is calling on the Prime Minister to review his administration’s position to ensure that Panorama 2024 is reinstated.

“This government’s priorities are in the wrong place and they do not fully recognize the economic value of our culture. Every year they spend money on the ‘One Nation Concert’, which for the most part, features overseas artists. We must do more to develop our local talent,” Simon said.

After painting a rosy financial picture, Simon asks why the government is not in a position to provide greater support to the ABPA. “They boast of record tourism arrivals, and a spike in economic activity after the T20 World Cup and SIDS4 Conference. So why are they haggling over a difference of $100,000 dollars?” Simon asks.

Simon describes pan players as bastions of our culture who have worked night and day to showcase their talents on the national stage. He describes the government’s move as tantamount to a systematic dismantling of our culture and the systems that have been put in place to sustain the art form. “As it stands now, there are no opportunities for the cultural development that our nation so desperately needs for economic recovery and to remain competitive,” M.P. Simon said.

But Simon is suspicious about the administration’s real motives, amid speculation that the country could be headed back to the polls. He asks whether this move could just be another scheme by the government to tug at the emotions of the people.

“We’ve seen this type of “rescue the perishing politics” from the Gaston Browne administration on many occasions. They make an announcement to throw the country in a state of chaos and then “change their tune” to appear as if they are rescuing the country from the confusion that they have created. Let us see if this is just another case of political vigilantism,” Simon added.

The Opposition M.P. contends that the steel pan is intrinsic to our culture and must therefore be preserved. In fact, many believe that the art form was actually invented in Antigua. As the country prepares to celebrate Carnival, Simon believes that the government has failed our pan players, our culture and our country. He suggests that the government still has time “to change its tune” and make cuts in other areas to ensure that the mainstay of our local culture can remain intact.

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  1. Your concerns are timely and noted MP Simon. Anyway, don’t worry since I am sure the “rescue the perishing politics” will continue and the Brown in shining armour will step forward and save Panorama. Daryl Matthew will be given a slap in the face as Molwyn Joseph was just given in the Nurses issue.

  2. Don’t worry, Shugy. Just like he did with the nurses, sir Knight in shining armour will ride in on the taxpayers’ plane and save the day by making Daryl look bad and he like the saviour of pan in carnival.

    He does that a lot.

  3. Simon you on the ball. They think we stupid. All smoke and mirrors. These days everything is hocus pocus for Gaston Browne. One grand announcement after the other.

  4. You guys are hilarious all the time. As it is known, budgetary concerns come into play during these negotiations. If the PM can acquire the funds, he will; because he’s a creative being and a risk taker, unlike many Caribbean leaders.
    If it can be done, it will be done.

    Now, the citizens must go out to support panorama as gate receipts are tantamount to the success of pan. No free tickets, guys. Support pan from your pockets.

  5. You always running your mouth,you are trying to get back your diaspora ambassador job, they find money to do things that does not contribute to the consolidated fund, one nation concert , alfa cargo, the government is for the people, by the people

  6. Dr. Ray, as much as I agree with your points, here is some added notes. Had his party been in power, his tune would be a completely different one. But they oppose just for opposing sake.

    Also, this is why very few ever wants to have vested interest in anything. Rather than see the 3500 tickets as a slap in the face, how about investing in the art form you claim you so love and ensure it becomes one of the highest income earners foe carnival as oppose to what it currently is, the least. That is 3500 more persons potentially who would come out to the show. Last year you had what, around 1000 to include your band members? Invest your manpower in growing the interest in the art form.

    Finally if the very band men/woman made this a business and not just see it as an opportunity to make a few dollars come carnival time, they would be singing a different tune. Make it about making a profit and not just getting money from the festival commission.

    As an aspiring politician, think outside of your narrow minded party rubbish talk. As every opportunity to oppose for opposing sake. Think about running a country financial, holistically and stop the small minded, Gaston/ABLP hate talking….

  7. All International Shows whether, they include Burna Boy, Beanie Man, Machel Montana, STING, Jay-Z, Cardi-B, (one_love, 2-love, ten_love) CONCERTS, as long as, they’re on Antigua soil MUST have a Steelband performing a set or two, and not just to warm up for the show!
    The steelband would play between each artist performance, as an interlude. The payments received, goes into a fund which serves all of the association members.

    There’s no doubt, that for the most part, the Steelband and their performances are poorly attended and supported by the General Public. Even when contracted by hotels, it’s a reduced number of the band which performs.

    The Steelband Association MUST make the art form more attractive.
    Use such things, as #Steel_Clash, set up like DJ CLASHES!
    The size of the instruments make moving large bands across islands not very practical and is very costly ; however, we now have technology’s which can make such things, as incorporating a DESPO, RENNEGADES out of TnT feasible for a live performance seen in Antigua to add more public interest to the local performances.

    You have orchestras in Europe, Japan, North America using the pan as their lead instruments. Get these on board too.

    Kelvin “Shugy” Simon, Gaston Browne, Daryll Mathew, THE STEELBAND ASSOCIATION, tek de damn poliTRICKS out of the Pan Industry. It a cripple and stagnate de Industry!

    #cha! #bombo! #ratit!
    On another note, the Steelband Trollies MUST be wired with microphones, sensors etc, sent to a mixer board, amplified just like BIG BANDS( KES, FLAMES, DANCEHALL SOUND SYSTEMS), and BOOM DEM SOUND PAN DE ROAD DURING CARNIVAL.

    Jumbee_Picknee aka Ras Smood
    De’ole Dutty Peg🦶🏿Garrat_Bastard

    Vere C. Edwards

  8. You guys expect any better from Dave Ray ? I have heard this guy on White plains Road some years ago talking crap politically . He is singing toGaston so he can be recognise. He doesn’t even knows his true identity .

  9. To me, tbh, steelpan sounds amazing in small amounts e.g. after other types of performance such as singers and other musicians, or as part of a group of instruments, or accompanying a singer etc. but when there is song after song after song played on pan it starts to get tedious. Maybe some people see love pan but not always in large amounts. But, the orchestras help to train new talent and need to be supported by the public anyway.



  11. Simply put, once you see through Gaston Browne’s bluster and hullabaloo regarding the issues/funding for the ABPA, the bigger picture is that he’s really clipping the wings of his fellow Parliamentary Member Daryl Matthew’s.


    However, I could be wrong … 😁

  12. Lol, all I can say is that you guys are getting a headache from my responses. I will continue to respond as I see fit. Just like you all have the freedom to blabb, so do I. I would never disrespect you because your opinions, be it political or otherwise. Using descriptive adjectives behind your pseudonyms have no effect on my soul. Your ways of expression only say who you are. Support pan with your pockets not with words and subventions.

  13. Shuggy, why don’t you try and put a steelband back in Bolans, giving the youths another pass time. Bolans had the best steel orchestra coming out the south many years back, so why not get some of this $400,000.00?

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