Hon. Camillo Gonsalves, parliamentary representative for East St. George and Minister of Finance delivering the feature addresses at the Pan Against Crime Program last Friday says Calliaqua is an epicenter of sports and culture and life and living in SVG; and that no effort is spared to enhance and grow the talents of persons in Calliaqua and East St. George.
He said that historically, while Calliaqua has had one of the best pan sides and some of the most talented pan players in SVG, there was a fall-off of pan in the Calliaqua area since 2015, because the Pan side that was in Calliaqua did not make it to Panorama competition nor did it compete in a number of Carnival activities for a number of years.
According to Minister Gonsalves, based on what was happening to pan in Calliaqua, he was approached by three (3) young and talented young people in the persons of Johnney ‘JP’ Pompey, Danielle Payne and Crystal Olliver, all members of Epic Sounds who told him that they will like to be a part of the revival of steel pan in East St. George.
He said that the team presented him with their business plan with which he was very impressed and as the parliamentary representative of East St. George, he gave them the assurance that he will do his best; not only to enhance steel pan music in East St. George but to ensure that Epic Steel Orchestra receive new steel pans and be among the premiere steel orchestras in SVG.
The finance minister went on to say that Epic Sounds was invited to play at the opening of the Calliaqua Town Hall building and they were so impressive that they caught the attention of Prime Minister Gonsalves, who not only enquired about the band but promised to procure brand new steel pans for them.
The minister further stated that Petrocaribe was approached to fund the purchasing of the steel pans for Epic Sounds to which they agreed and has spent over $60,000 to buy brand new chrome steel pans from Trinidad and Tobago.
He also informed the audience that a Vincentian is currently in Trinidad and Tobago learning how to tune the steel pan and Petrocaribe has recently funded another Vincentian to go to that country to learn the art of pan tuning.
Minister Gonsalves expressed his thanks and appreciation to government and people of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for their generosity to the PAC initiative.
He stated that Epic Sounds is the 14th pan side that has been launched since the program and the Government of Venezuela has funded half of them.
He told the gathering Epic Sound performed at this year’s panorama competition and did a commendable job. But now that they have their own steel pans and pan yard, he expects them to perform better in 2019.
The keynote speaker congratulated the Pan against Crime Committee on the job that it is doing to guide the youths on the right path.
He said that the initiative is bearing fruit because instead of choosing to be on the road, liming on the block or getting into all manner of mischief, the young people chose to come to the Calliaqua Playing Field to hone their craft and at the same time displaying their skills and discipline.
According to the minister, that is exactly what Pan against crime is all about because you do not have to wait for a crime to happen then you arrest the person and take them to court.
He opined that the best work against crime is preventative work by finding positive things for the youths to engage in.
The parliamentary representative also used the opportunity to highlight a number of projects that has been completed and are about to commence in the constituency of East St. George including; the refurbishment of the Calliaqua Playing Field and Hard Court.
He also informed the gathering of a new fish packaging facility that will begin construction in a few weeks that will employ fifty (50) persons from the constituency and will spend 20 million dollars per year to buying conch and lobster from the fisher-folks in Calliaqua.