Trinidad and Tobago


Panmen want private rehab for Boogsie

October 2, 2001

EFFORTS were being made yesterday by Pan Trinbago to have ace pannist Len "Boogsie" Sharpe transferred from the Port of Spain General Hospital to another institution where, it is felt, he may be afforded greater privacy and receive more specialised care.

On Saturday evening, Sharpe collapsed on the driveway of the St James Medical Complex, after a hallucinatory episode believed to have been brought on by an incident in another place.

The virtuoso pannist, arranger and composer was later transferred to Port of Spain General and warded for the rest of the weekend, sedated for much of that time.

Pan Trinbago president Patrick Arnold told the Express yesterday he had been to see Sharpe on two occasions, but was not able to speak with the attending doctor to discuss moving the patient.

"I want to emphasise that this is not a judgement on the hospital's ability to deal with Sharpe's case," Arnold said. "It is my view, though, that a place offering private, specialised care might be better for him at this time, because of the nature of his illness," Arnold said.

"We feel a strong responsibility to help one of our fallen stars, instead of joining some moralistic crusade to bring down fire and brimstone on him.

"What Boogsie has done for pan, and by extension Trinidad and Tobago, is a lot more than the combined contribution of a lot of people who would now want to spend time bad-talking him, as though if he had a choice he would do drugs," Arnold said. "Our mission is to offer not just assist in the immediate crisis, but to set up a support system for him, with the help of professionals in the field.

"I have already appointed one of our executive members, Ricardo Herbert, to deal with the instant requirements and I myself am going to be paying special attention to Boogsie's continuing rehabilitation, because he is a very special talent, a gifted individual. We are going to repose our hope in the fact that people actually involved in pan are now taking up the fight to help Boogsie out of this problem.

"In fact, this will not be a one-off project, but we have already discussed setting up a long-term counselling and referral system for pannists who get into this kind of predicament," Arnold said.

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