The victory by bptt Renegades is not only a resounding triumph for arranger for Duvone Stewart, who also scored in the medium category with Pan Elders.
It is also a tremendous accomplishment for a historic steelband of east Port of Spain, an inner city community with an undesirable label as a crime capital.
This second successive victory by the Charlotte Street outfit tangibly indicates the creative capacity of its leadership, tuners, arranger and players in the world’s top steelband competition.
Now, the entire Renegades family is not from the neighbouring catchment locale.
“A fair number is from the area,” one ‘Gades man told me, “but I can’t say exactly how many.”
But Renegades is symbolic of its community, as second-placed Desperadoes is of Laventille and fifth-placed Skiffle is of my hometown San Fernando.
The band has always epitomised working class spirit and achievement.
Renegades’ 2018-19 back-to-back victories ended a drought that began after the 1997 success with Kitchener’s Guitar Pan, arranged by the redoubtable Jit Samaroo.
Samaroo had took the band to its prior nine Panorama victories before Stewart’s conquests.
The return of Renegades is a comment on its resilience and fighting fibre and on the resistance that is the remarkable cornerstone of the pan movement.
It is also the result of Stewart’s creative ingenuity.
The success also reflects the resourcefulness of the band players, a reality that our social planners should utilise in other pursuits.
The abiding loyalty of sponsor bptt (previously Amoco) would also have ensured stability.
A few years ago, Errol “Bally” Ballantyne sang: “Lloyd Best once termed the panyard/The best centre of excellence/We could bring back the paradise we once had/With the steelband at the front of the resistance.”
Renegades’ victory is an inspirational testimony on the pan to unlock such artistic talent.