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Friday 15 February 2019
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Culture loses veterans in Mas, kaiso and pan

IN THE past few days the culture fraternity has been morning the death of three veterans in Mas, kaiso and the pan arena. They are Cedric Lewis, Mas stalwart, steelpan lover and General Secretary of the National Carnival Development Foundation (NCDF); Calypsonian Lord Smiley (Gaston Nunes) and pan pioneer Alfred “Sacks’ Mayers. Lewis was a long-standing St James community activist, as well as a lover of the arts and culture.

In 1964 he was elected General Secretary of the Blue Stars Steel Band (now Power Stars), a position he held until 1971. Similarly, he served as Treasurer to the Humming Birds Steel Orchestra from 2000 - 2002. In more recent times though, Lewis got involved in Mas, through the 1st St James Mas Makers in 2002. NCDF Chairman Mahindra Satram-Maharaj stated: “He was committed to seeing Mas transformed into a sustainable industry which was synonymous with the NCDF ideals and objectives and from which time he remained active in the management and leadership of the organisation.” He added: “He was a family man, Mas practitioner and a community oriented individual in the truest sense of the word. He served on the Western Division Regional Council of the St James Community Police and worked for many years at Telecommunications Service of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) where he served as Supervisor of Lines and Installation.” The NCDF expressed its condolences to Lewis’ three children Vanessa, Rhonda and Arlene, his wider family, friends, and colleagues, as it saluted his life and immense contributions to the art form. Satram- Maharaj said: “Today is a sad day as the Mas Fraternity has lost a dear friend and advocate. Cedric will be truly missed.” Lord Smiley passed away on Monday after ailing for sometime. He was known for his on stage antics and powerful messages to the Afro-Trinidadian man.

Among some of the ditties Smiley gave over the years were “What is Wrong with the Negro Man”, “Boldface Calypsonians”, “Ah Man is Ah Man”, “Snake is a Creature” and “Long Time Jam.” The Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation (TUCO) stated that Lord Smiley’s contribution will always be remembered. Panman Mayers passed away last week Saturday was the leader of the Red Army Steelband in the late forties and together with Rudy “Two Left” Smith, started the Merry Makers Steel band.

He was also among the first to perform on cruise ships.

Pan Trinbago President Keith Diaz told Newsday, “My fond memories of Mr Alfred “Sacks” Mayers, was very cordial. I met ‘Sacks’ in the early 70s when we played pan together in Merrymakers as young men on weekends at the Chacacabana Hotel for about five years, he played the triple seconds, while I played the double seconds.

“We remained close friends when he migrated to Switzerland then to Sweden. He played on the Cruise Liner - Love Boat, promoting pan as a true ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago. I will remember him fondly.” Diaz ended saying: “On behalf of my family and I, I wish to bid him farewell as he leaves this earth and on to the Pearly Gates of the Great Beyond. May his soul Rest in Peace!”

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