MP Simon Announces ‘Pan Yard Pull Up’ to Help Promote and Preserve Pan Culture

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

After raising concerns about this year’s Panorama competition and the future development of steel pan in our country, Hon. Kelvin Simon is happy that “the government has changed its tune.” 

Panorama 2024 is back on the Carnival events calendar and pan players and enthusiasts can look forward to a showcase of this highly popular art form.

Simon believes that the government’s priorities are misplaced and that they do not fully appreciate the socioeconomic impact of the country’s cultural heritage.

To this end, the St. Mary’s South Parliamentary representative will be organizing a Pan Yard Pull Up.

The event, which will be held during the third week in July, will encourage the public to visit various pan yards for a “behind the scenes peek into the life of a pan player.” It will be shared via social media to increase awareness and support for the Panorama competition.

The M.P. is highly critical of the government’s last minute negotiations surrounding the Panorama competition. He describes it as insensitive and unacceptable politics that left pan players who are cultural ambassadors, with few options and little time to explore alternative sponsorship arrangements.

“The political theatrics and negative publicity surrounding this important cultural event were totally unnecessary. 

The negotiations ended with the Antigua and Barbuda Pan Association (ABPA) getting $330,000 instead of $300,000, a mere 10% increase. The ABPA must still raise $100,000 in ticket sales, which is three times more than the Festivals Commission 2023 ticket sales,” Simon stated.

M.P. Simon recommends that instead of giving the ABPA a “basket to carry water”, the Festivals Commission should focus on lending more assistance in the promotion and preservation of our cultural assets through various community entrepreneurship initiatives.

“Every year they spend money on the ‘One Nation Concert’, which features overseas artists and is free to the public. So why is the burden of marketing Panorama thrust onto the pan fraternity? How can the government boast of record tourism arrivals and be so shortsighted when it comes to investing in the development of culture?” Simon asks.

The Opposition M.P. is calling on the general public to support the Pan-Yard Pull Up. He is also calling on corporate sponsors to support cultural development that the nation desperately needs for economic recovery. 

“We are the ones that must demonstrate that we are committed to the development and preservation of our culture. Let us reject this type of “political manipulation” that has become synonymous with the Gaston Browne administration. They make announcements that throw us into 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,” Simon said.

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