It currently seems unlikely that the Witco Desperadoes will get a chance to defend their Panorama large band title next year, but they will expect to be settled in a new Panyard in East Port-of-Spain in 2021.
The historic band’s new proposed home, which occupies 1.35 acres between George and Nelson Streets, was toured yesterday by Port- of-Spain South MP Keith Scotland along with Desperadoes manager Dr Finbar Fletcher, band members, and UDeCott officials.
“It is now the new headquarters of Witco Desperadoes. The site in its completed format will be about 1.35 acres which is about 12 residential lots. What is envisioned by the architect who we spoke to and this was in consultation with Despers’ hierarchy,” said Scotland.
“We have a nine-month period from start to finish, the chairman has requested and the captain of Despers has requested that next panorama because we know if things stay as it is, we will be having no panorama in 2021 but in 2022 he wants to have this up and running so that when the judges visit the Panyard they will be visiting here,” the Port-of -pain MP explained.
The project, which has already started, is expected to cost an estimated $14 million.
It will bring a settled home to Desperadoes who opted to leave their tradition Laventille panyard over a decade ago due to crime and safety concerns.
Fletcher said he was pleased with the plans explained to him.
“I feel good about it, we know the limitations because due to the COVID delayed the start and so. But according to the plans laid out by UdeCott, I think it’s ideal for the band, it gives us what we want because in terms of space,” he said, while he reaffirmed that this new headquarters did not mean the band was leaving Laventille for good.
“The band will always be a Laventille band. No matter what and we keep the space in Laventille, this space we plan to use among other things as a commercial centre,” said Fletcher
The panyard will also accommodate a public car park.
“One of the first things that the revenue-generating project would be the car park, apart from that we’d have a commercial Centre space where we’d have restaurants and you’d have spots, concessionaires for renting. Where we would have some of it for Desperadoes merchandise or merchandising,” said Fletcher, who also explained the group was still hoping to celebrate its 2020 Panorama success with a virtual concert.
“Like everyone else we have to reimagine or rethink how we do things both in the short run of this period and in the long run. For example one of the things we are planning to do in the upcoming season is a major virtual concert because after winning panorama in 2020, we haven’t really done anything, we haven’t really celebrated as we should so we plan to do some virtual celebration toward the end of the year,” Fletcher said.
Scotland said the panyard was just one of the plans to revitalise East Port-of-Spain.