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Claire Fitzpatrick at Renegades Meet Beethoven

Release date:
15 October 2021


Good evening ladies and gentlemen and happy new year … or more relevant right now happy carnival.


It’s the start of the carnival season and what better way to start the season than to welcome you to the launch of our celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of BPTT’s partnership with the Renegades.


Fifty years is a very long time.I’m sure you would agree with me that any partnership that has endured for 50 years is indeed a special one. This evening, we are celebrating the success of that partnership and we are also paying tribute to one of the most successful steelbands in Trinidad and Tobago and one of the most world-renowned steel orchestras. The band will soon leave for its eighth tour of France and the fact that they can do this during the Carnival season is testament to the evolution of Renegades from the traditional steelband to a world-class musical organization. On behalf of BPTT, I can say that we are honoured to have partnered with the Renegades, walking side by side with them on their journey.


How did we get here? BPTT’s aspiration calls on us to be involved in the development of Trinidad and Tobago. What better way for us to contribute to nation building than through the development and celebration of artistic and musical expression. Music touches everyone, no matter who we are, or where we are from. One of the ways we continue to live out our aspiration is through our investment in the arts and culture and in particular in celebrating and preserving the traditions of the national instrument, the steel pan. Our partnership with the Renegades began with the signing of a contract between the band and our heritage company Amoco in 1970.


Fifty years later, the BP Renegades represents our longest running sponsorship. A lot has changed since the original contract was signed – the band, our organization, Trinidad and Tobago and, indeed the world – are very different.


And yet, we are here celebrating this important milestone.


I believe that this relationship has endured because for both BPTT and Renegades, this has become more than a sponsorship arrangement. We are not here this evening to celebrate a contract. Rather, we are celebrating 50 years of partnership based on mutual respect.As partners, we seek to understand each other and have a genuine desire to succeed together. Our organisations work closely together but I’ve learned the relationship has been natured through strong personal relationships as well.


I am still relatively new to Trinidad and Tobago but I realized quite early on that I was coming into a special partnership between the band and our company. As the Regional President of BPTT, I am required to ensure that members of our organization live the company’s values. Without even knowing it, members of the Renegades also live our values, especially the values of Excellence, Courage and One Team. From their recent Panorama performance, it should be very evident why I say this.


On a personal note, I’ve been embraced by Renegades members, by people like band captain Candace Andrews-Brumant and arranger Duvonne Stewart. I’ve learned a lot about what Renegades stands for and what they hope to achieve. In many ways, the ambition of the band and the continued drive for excellence, locally and internationally, should be an inspiration to us all.


A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to paint pan racks as the band began its preparations for Carnival. It occurred to me that I was doing something that not many of my colleagues in other countries would get the opportunity to do. I was helping a reigning champion, for a unique artform prepare to defend its championship title. But that’s part of what makes the relationship between BPTT and Renegades so special.


To Candace, Colin and the members of the Renegades executive, and all other members of the Youth and Senior bands – thank you for welcoming me into this partnership. I would also like to pay tribute to the many persons from both our organisations who have worked tirelessly to ensure that this partnership has endured.  Ten years ago, BPTT and Renegades celebrated our 40th anniversary by “renewing our vows.” Since then we have:

• Documented the band’s history through the documentary “To be a Renegade”,

• Introduced an educational bursary for band members to enable their development

• And, of course the band has won two back to back Panorama titles. 


To mark the 50th anniversary we’re planning a number of activities that will showcase the band’s versatility and celebrate the history of our partnership.That being said – Candace, Duvonne: It would be great if we could mark our 50th by completing the band’s second hattrick!..


As you say in T&T..... “no pressure”


Regardless of the outcome of this year’s competition, 2020 will be the year that we celebrate yet another milestone in our partnership.To the band – thank you for your energy and commitment that you have brought to this partnership.


Although the band is in preparation for the Panorama competition, tonight you will be treated to a preview of the classical works of famed German classical composer Ludwig van Beethoven which they will be playing on tour.


Do enjoy the performance and let me close by saying...  I am a Renegade!Thank you