JUNIOR BISNATH - CONSTRUCTIVE TERMITE
Born: 4th September 1957
Attended: St. Paul's Anglican School San Fernando, Industrial Arts Center.
He grew up around woodwork; apprenticed at the woodwork shop at his home while attending school. At age 13, he attended the Industrial Arts Center while still attending his regular classes at school. He learned basic woodwork skills until he was 15.
Mr. Bisnath continued his tradesman-ship at Cosmic Woodwork Factory. For three years, he learned to design furniture of all styles. In 1975, at age 18, he was hired by the Ministry of Works Furniture Branch.
Mr. Bisnath has participated in Craft Exhibitions for the past twenty-eight (28) years. He has also been involved in community work and formed the San Fernando School of Arts, Sport and Culture twenty-two (22) years ago, now known as the Junior Bisnath School of the Arts, Sports, and Culture, the group is popularly known as KAISOKAH and specializes in the art of stilt-walking, drumming and woodwork.
The school recruits boys and girls of all ages. Mr. Bisnath is affectionately called the “Constructive Termite” because of his remarkable talent in the art of sculpting and wood carving. All the activities (stilts walking, drumming, and woodwork classes) take place at his home. For over 20 years, Mr. Bisnath has been involved in training young people and he has never charged any fee for his training. Additionally, over the past fifteen years and counting, the welcoming of tourists to the Port in Port of Spain was given to the Kaisokah Moko Jumbies from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
At the school, stilt walkers/moko jumbies learn Drumology, Woodwork, and Unicycling. At the 1999 Miss Universe Pageant, held in Couva, Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Bisnath saw his Moko Jumbies playing drums in the air in one of the highest-stilt walking events. After this event, he became encouraged to build the "Distant Drum" which is one of the tallest drums in the world, standing at ten feet tall. It is important to note that Mr. Bisnath is extremely proud of the fact that most of his designs involve the History and Culture of Trinidad and Tobago.
In 2020, Covid-19 was declared a worldwide pandemic and this put many opportunities on pause. However, before the borders were locked down and the ventures were stopped, Mr. Bisnath and his school were able to perform at some of the major events for Carnival 2020 much to the delight of the locals as well as tourists. Additionally, Mr. Bisnath’s work continued even in the midst of the pandemic.
1988 – Mr. Bisnath started a group called the "Constructive Termites". Their first display stage was at Borough Day plus they did a display for the first City Day that year.
1989 - 2011 – Mr. Bisnath participated in the Prime Minister’s Best Village Craft Exhibitions. He won several special prizes.
1990 – Mr. Bisnath was presented with an Award of Excellence from the San Fernando City Corporation for Community Service.
1991- Mr. Bisnath presented a wood carving at the National Stadium (8 feet and 16 inches wide) to Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers in memory of his beloved father Bob Marley. The plaque was placed in the Bob Marley museum.
1991-1999 - Mr. Bisnath built and donated trophies for the show ‘Scouting for Talent’ which was hosted by Neil Giuseppi.
1991-1999 - Mr. Bisnath designed and built many different awards. Some of these awards were presented to local celebrities like Lord Kitchener, The Mighty Sparrow, Black Stalin, Baron, and many others.
1992 – The Constructive Termites displayed their art throughout Trinidad and Tobago at parks, beaches, family days, and other events.
1993 - Mr. Bisnath made and presented trophies at ‘Pan Ramajay’ as well as ‘Pan on the Move’ in Point Fortin.
1994 - Mr. Hollis Clifton (a past teacher who wanted to do something for the San Fernando community with Mr. Bisnath) left Trinidad and Tobago for Botswana, Africa. Mr. Bisnath was asked to build a pair of stilts for him. These stilts were used to open a branch of the Kaisokah Moko Jumbies which Mr. Clifton led from its inception.
1995 - Mr. Bisnath made a specially designed trophy which was awarded to Mr. Ian Healy (Australian wicket-keeper/batsman) when they played the West Indies in a One day match at the Queen’s Park Oval.
1995 – Mr. Navjot Singh Sidhu (a cricketer) won ‘Man of the Series’ on 08/05/1995. He received a throne at the Queens Park Oval which was made and presented by Mr. Bisnath. The throne contained patterns of sporting equipment in remembrance of our 150th Indian Arrival Celebration.
1996 - Mr. Bisnath presented musical awards to Baron in the first concert in Guaracara Park. He also presented trophies and plaques for Kaiso Showcase (South Central T.U.C.O).
1997 - Concerned citizens of the community together with Mr. Bisnath decided to form a community group.
Though we tried to have a sports and homework club, there was really no fixed place to work. The activities that remained (which the children are still involved in) are Stilts Walking, Drumming, and Woodworking classes which are instructed at Mr. Bisnath’s home.
1998 - Kaisokah Moko Jumbies played mas with the band, Euphoria Carnival Band in San Fernando.
1999 – Special musical awards were made and presented by Mr. Bisnath at a concert with Lauryn Hill, Morgan Heritage, and Sizzla of Jamaica.
2000 – Mr. Bisnath and his wife Victoria trained their son, Joshua Jahmarley Bisnath, to be the youngest stilts walker in the Caribbean at the age of 18 months old.
2001-2011 - The National Carnival Commission (N.C.C.) contracted Mr. Bisnath to teach his artistic and stilts walking skills in schools throughout Trinidad and Tobago.
2001 - Mr. Bisnath made a lead pencil 32 feet long. He broke the world record which at the time was 21 1/2 feet long. He did it in honor of the FIFA under 17 boys World Cup that took place in Trinidad and Tobago.
2001 - Mr. Bisnath received an award from Kings Row/San City Kwanzaa for Art and Culture.
2002 - 2010 - Mr. Bisnath’s son, Ojah Bisnath, whom he trained on four-inch high stilts, broke the world record (Guinness World Records) as the youngest stilts walker.
2003 - Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Culture contacted Mr. Bisnath to teach St. Lucian students the art of building and walking stilts for 2 weeks period. The results were very successful.
2003 - Mr. Bisnath and his students were sent to Plymouth, Tobago to build stilts and train stilt walkers. They also performed at the Tobago Heritage Festival.
2004 - Mr. Bisnath was inspired to put tenor pans on 8 feet tall racks. Moko Jumbies, who were walking at 6 feet high, were able to play the steelpan for Ras Komanda at the Dimanche Gras show. It was the first of its kind in the world.
2004 – For San Fernando’s Jazz on the Hill event, Mr. Bisnath made a musical award and presented it to Hugh Masekela from South Africa on behalf of the people of Trinidad and Tobago.
Mr. Bisnath also made and presented a musical award to Dionne Warwick, an artist at the Centre of Excellence for a special Mother's day program entitled ‘Diva of Divas’.
2005 - Mr. Bisnath made musical awards and presented them to the legendary Bunny Wailer, Gregory Isaacs, Freddie McGregor of Jamaica, and Black Stalin of Trinidad and Tobago at the Emancipation Village Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain.
2005 - Mr. Bisnath decided to surprise his childhood sweetheart Victoria. He married her at 6:30 a.m. before their first historic walk with the Kaisokah Moko Jumbies. It was a 26 miles walk from Point Fortin to San Fernando in observation of City Week.
2006 - Mr. Bisnath received an award for Art and Culture from the San Fernando Arts Council. He also received an Award from Massive Gosine Chutney Tent for Art and Culture.
2006 - Mr. Bisnath made a special trophy for the Strike Squad and after 17 years, it was presented to the Soca Warriors on Harris Promenade, San Fernando.
2006 - Mr. Bisnath and three of his stilts walkers were chosen by the Ministry of Culture to visit Germany with the Soca Warriors at the FIFA World Cup.
2007 - Mr. Bisnath received an award from the National Carnival Commission (N.C.C.) for the art of stilt walking and culture with an emphasis on Carnival and Community Service.
2007 - Two of Mr. Bisnath’s students accompanied former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Mr. Patrick Manning to Cuba for the opening of an embassy.
2008 - Mr. Bisnath was bestowed an award for Culture and Community Service by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, St. Peter’s Parish, Cocoyea.
2008 - Mr. Bisnath made a special award which was presented to Whitney Houston at the Tobago Jazz Festival.
2008 - Mr. Bisnath got employment for three (3) students (Moko Jumbies) at the UniverSoul Circus U.S.A. He also made and presented a special musical award to USA R&B singer Freddie Jackson.
2009 – The San Fernando School of the Arts, Sports, and Culture (Kaisokah) took part in the fifth summit of the Americas at the Hyatt Hotel. The school also
took part at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference, which took place at N.A.P.A. Mr. Bisnath broke another world record by making a 100 feet long lead pencil to mark the occasion. The pencil is now housed at N.A.P.A in Port of Spain, Trinidad.
2010 - Mr. Bisnath’s School of Moko Jumbies carried the flags of the countries that participated at the opening ceremony of the under 17 girls FIFA World Cup at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Trinidad and Tobago. The students also performed in most major events hosted in Trinidad.
2011 - Mr. Bisnath came up with the concept of putting fire on stilts for the very first time in the history of stilts walking. This amazing performance took place at both the Soca Monarch and the Dimanche Gras shows.
2011- Mr. Bisnath is an official tutor with the Community Development Program. He teaches everything Woodwork (2002 - present) Mr. Bisnath also taught American university students the art of stilt-walking from 2007-2011.
2011 - Mr. Bisnath participated in the world hunger walk at Rio Claro for the past three years and volunteers at the observance of ‘Break the silence sexual abuse against children walk’ held in San Fernando, Couva, Tunapuna, and Barrackpore.
2012 - The Kaisokah Moko Jumbies performed in the Carnival Launching, Soca Monarch, Canboulay, and the Dimanche Gras Shows and most major events in Trinidad. They also went to Tobago to participate in the Tobago Heritage Festival.
2013 - Mr. Bisnath’s school played mas with the band, Down the River Nile. They took part in most major events for Carnival and throughout the year. Also, they went to the community of Tunapuna to distribute toys for the needy children during the Christmas Season through the community group, Pargea. Mr. Bisnath’s school has been involved with the Pargea group doing this event since 2006.
2014 - Mr. Bisnath was chosen by the National Carnival Commission to go to Zimbabwe to build and train stilts walkers. Trinidad and Tobago attained first place while taking part in a competition. Mr. Bisnath built and presented a wooden plaque to the Queen in a pageant competition. He also made a wood carving of Nelson Mandela which was done 27 years ago. It was presented to the Ambassador to give to the Nelson Mandela Foundation in South Africa.
July 2014 - Mr. Bisnath and his family were featured in a Japanese documentary based on their unique talent.
August 2014 - Another Japanese Television Company made a documentary on Mr. Bisnath’s school about the art of stilts walking.
2015 – Through the National Carnival Commission, Mr. Bisnath was invited to the Ebony Steelband Foundation to train beginners on stilts walking for eighteen days. His school performed at the 1st ever World Steel Pan competition. Our school of Moko Jumbies performed with Ebony Steelband and Mr. Bisnath made and presented a trophy for the youngest player of the winning band - Trinidad All Stars.
2015 - Our school performed at the CPL T20 Cricket Caribbean Premier League at the Queen’s Park Oval. Mr. Bisnath’s school also performed through the year in most major events in Trinidad and trained children in different schools and communities.
1) Mr. Bisnath’s school was asked to assist police officers at the barracks with the training of horses to get accustomed to masqueraders.
2) At the airport, we supported Ms. Thema Williams at her welcome home celebration.
3) Mr. Bisnath’s school also performed at most major events in Trinidad & Tobago during the month of May. Mr. Bisnath and four (4) of his students went to Panama to perform and train students at a university. He also made and presented a special gift to the Mayor of Panama and presented a gift to their former Ambassador. Mr. Bisnath was honored to receive a gift from the Mayor of Panama.
4) Mr. Bisnath’s students performed at a special send-off for the late veteran musician Pal Joey Lewis at his funeral at Queen's Park Savannah.
5) In April, Mr. Bisnath’s school performed at the British High Commissioner’s home to celebrate the Queen of England’s 90th and Shakespeare’s 400th Birthdays.
6) On the Port, in Port of Spain, Mr. Bisnath’s school welcomed tourists through the Tourist Development Company (TDC) for the Tourist Season (for the past fifteen years). There was also a special welcome and farewell to the Japanese on their first cruise visit to Trinidad.
7) On June 19th, Labor Day, we celebrated our 18th year doing the 20k Tubal Uriah “Buzz” Butler Marathon of 13 miles from San Fernando to Fyzabad on stilts.
8) In July, Mr. Bisnath’s students performed at the CPL T20 Cricket Caribbean Premier League which was held at the Queen’s Park Oval.
9) Training has been ongoing since last year for the upcoming 2017 Guinness Book of Records event. At present, Mr. Bisnath’s school is training students almost every day in Trinidad and Tobago. Some schools are Community Day on San Fernando Hills, Guaya Community Day, Saint Paul's Anglican School, Trincity August Holiday Camp, and Gasparillo Senior Comprehensive School.
10) Mr. Bisnath’s students formed a Guard of Honor at Trinidad and Tobago’s late Prime Minister, Mr. Patrick Manning funeral.
11) Mr. Bisnath’s students attended Makandal Daaga Funeral Parade.
12) August - For the Emancipation Village at the Queen’s Park Savannah, we trained over 50 students. On the same day, Mr. Bisnath and his family were awarded by NJACK for community services.
All these training are in preparation for the “Kaisokah Moko Jumbies World Jamboree” which was held on September 10th, 2017. The Ministry of Education assisted the Jamboree by giving permission to teach one hundred schools in Trinidad and Tobago. Five hundred persons attended that day, however, three thousand students were trained overall for free. All supplies and training were provided by Mr. Bisnath.
13) September - Mr. Bisnath and his students supported the Mental Health Awareness walk in San Fernando.
14) October - Mr. Bisnath and his students supported the Help Haiti collection drive.
2018 – For every major Carnival event such as Panorama, Soca Monarch, Calypso Monarch, and Machel Monday, just to name a few, Mr. Bisnath and his school participated.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism required Mr. Bisnath to train fifty new students each year on our sister isle (Tobago) in the art of stilt walking. One of the students included a seventy-two-year-old gentleman.
2018 – Placed 7th at the King of Carnival event.
2019 – Mr. Bisnath’s students participated in many major Carnival events.
2019 - In August, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism required Mr. Bisnath’s services for the Plymouth Festival in Tobago. Another fifty students were trained.
2019 – In November, Mr. Bisnath took on the challenge of training a blind woman in the art of stilt walking for her 41st birthday as a surprise. Needless to say, it was successfully done.
January 2020 – Two of the stilt walkers from the school will be returning to the UniverSoul circus in the USA. We have been supplying them with our talent for the past thirteen years.
January 2020 – Kaisokah Moko Jumbies had the privilege of training four (4) primary schools and one police youth club under the instruction of the National Carnival Commission (NCC).
February 2020 – Mr. Bisnath’s students had the esteemed honor of performing at some major events for the Carnival season. They took part in the last Machel Monday concert. They supported Exodus Steelband Orchestra and NLCB Fonclaire during Panorama Finals. They were heavily involved with Tribe’s events especially the collection of Carnival costumes which took place at Cascadia Hotel. They were also recruited to participate with Peter Minshall for Band of the Year. Basically, they were a part of almost every major event for Carnival 2020.
February to March 2020 – In the midst of Covid-19, Nalis Library asked Mr. Bisnath to contribute to a Carnival exhibition. The focus of the exhibition was Moko Jumbies. For three (3) months, Mr. Bisnath looked for innovative and creative to showcase his art. For instance, he turned soft drink bottles into moko jumbies then decorated them.
19th June 2020 – On Labour Day, Mr. Bisnath and his students walked from San Fernando to Fyzabad in honor of the auspicious day. This officially marked a twenty-two (22) years tradition. The present Ms. San Fernando was trained by Mr. Bisnath to partake in the momentous walk and within three (3) sessions, she was successfully able to complete the walk.
Mr. Bisnath and the Kaisokah Moko Jumbies also paid tribute to Mr. Steve Harvey at City Hall, San Fernando. The Attorney General, mayor of San Fernando, Ms. San Fernando, the Deputy Mayor, members of the Council as well as Reigning Calypso Monarch Ms. Terry Lyons along with other calypsonians were some of the many who signed the banner dedicated to him. Mr. Bisnath is currently working on a video that depicts the reasons why persons admire Mr. Harvey inclusive of clips of the banner signing – a moving gesture for a motivational individual.
26th – 28th June 2020 – Mr. Bisnath and the Kaisokah Moko Jumbies had the distinct honor of performing at the opening of the Five Islands Water and Amusement Park located in Chaguaramas.