Desperadoes 2016 Victory Celebration: ”Nobody Badder Than We”
On Sunday 14th February, 2016, a number of people gathered at Picadilly Street and Laventille Road, Port of Spain in what looked like a start of a carnival. It was the fans of the 2016 National Panorama of Trinidad & Tobago champions, WITCO Desperadoes Steel Orchestra, waiting for the scheduled victory motorcade. The band was celebrating its eleventh National Panorama Championship (Large Conventional Band category).
Desperadoes’ winning tune was the popular 2016 Soca song, “Different Me” written by Jovan James, produced by Nicholai Greene in cooperation with Kyle ‘Novahh’ Joseph and sung by 5Star Akil. The pan rendition was arranged by the orchestra’s new arranger, Carlton ‘Zanda’ Alexander.
The motorcade, which planned to start at 1:00 p.m. saw people filling the street, waiting for one of the highlights of the event to start: namely, greeting the winning band members, old and young, who hailed from their community. Supporters and well-wishers gathered around a trunk en masse on Picadilly street with hands in the air, all hoping to secure a red Despers T-shirt with a front that read “Desporadoes 2016 Panorama Champions”.
The back of the T-shirts, with the words ”NOBODY BADDER THAN WE” and the number eleven below, was a testimony, not only to the number of the band’s past victories, but also of the pride in their achievements. This year’s victory was especially sweet seeing that it was sixteen years since their last win. This year also marked the fiftieth anniversary since the band’s first victory in 1966.
Before leaving the gathering point, band members presented their trophy and invited supporters to be photographed with them followed by a brief invocation. The motorcade then set for the hills passing through the community.
With what can only be interpreted as true support, members of the Laventille community, young and old, came out of their homes cheering. Some people left what they were doing to follow the motorcade and to grab hold of a Despers T-shirt to proudly show their loyalty.
At one point, even an elderly woman could be seen hurriedly making her way up the hill, determined to get her red T-shirt.
The motorcade’s first stop was at Desperlie Cresent where “Different Me” could be heard through loud speakers. The parade went as far as St. Barbs Junction and headed back down for the pan yard site where supporters anxiously awaited their arrival. With music in the background, people chatted and danced as they waited for the winning performance from the 2016 Panorama Champions. The band set the stage and not before long, the pan players were in place.
The audience directed all its attention towards the players as the familiar tune of 5Star Akil’s “Different Me”, filled the air. Cheers could be heard from the crowd, and if their energy wasn’t enough to make one move, the energy of the band players would do just that. With smiles and brisk dance moves, the players entertained the equally active audience.
As some members of the youth arm of the band started playing another 2016 Soca hit, People, by Kes, a long-standing supporter collapsed and was rushed to the Port of Spain General Hospital. She fared well after receiving medical attention.
The crowd remained and mingled in celebration of Despers’ 2016 victory. Many were reminiscing on victories gone by, while cautiously optimistic that this victory would herald a new era of peace and success in Laventille.
Desperadoes Panorama Victory Parade 2016 in pictures: