Let’s elevate status of pan

THE EDITOR: Congratulations to Pan Trinbago and the World Steelpan Thrust for making August a month to remember. It is the first time that Independence Day and World Steelpan Day (August 11) were celebrated in the same month.
Because of covid19, fitting celebrations for both events were dramatically hampered by this mutating and international virus that provides challenges for all. Internationally, presidents and prime ministers have extremely difficult decisions to make, all with the intent to preserve the lives and the livelihoods of their countrymen. The misinformation and disinformation provided via social media do not help.
It is well known that the Government has chosen the scientific approach to mitigating our covid19 challenges with the World Health Organization as its pilot. A very well qualified, knowledgeable and professional team from our Ministry of Health – led by PM Rowley, who is himself a scientist – has been tirelessly at work to alleviate our predicament.
A big thank you to all. It is up to us to follow the prescribed protocols – wear our masks, wash our hands, keep our distance and get vaccinated.
Pandemic or no pandemic, during August we acknowledged the rebranding, 50 years ago, of the organisation now known as Pan Trinbago, the world governing body for steel pan and steelband music. Its president, Beverley Ramsey-Moore, said in her message:
“In the era of social distancing we have found new ways to reach people with our mission. This was evident in this year’s celebration of Pan Month, which featured education, evolution, economics, and entertainment. We will continue to think outside the box and use innovation to keep connected with our audiences.”
Innovation via technology will certainly help to further universalise the uniqueness of pan – the instrument – and to market it and TT to a borderless audience. Hats off to you, madam president. We should always remember the words of calypsonian Lord Baker: “In the wonder land of steelband, in the land where I was born!”
An equally important event was solemnised during August, its objective being the formalisation of August 11 as World Steelpan Day annually. Thanks Bertil Gittens. This is a big one because pan – the instrument – is TT’s gift to the world of music.
Not surprisingly, pan is fast becoming an instrument of choice in several musical institutions of higher education internationally. It is deserving of the highest accolades in the land of its birth. It has played and continues to play a role in exposing the musical talents of thousands of gifted young people, many of whom have become successful cultural ambassadors.
As a matter of principle I sincerely hope that sooner rather than later TT would proclaim pan as its national musical instrument via the necessary parliamentary procedures. It was declared the national musical instrument by the late PM Patrick Manning in his 1992 Independence Day address to the nation, but it was never formally proclaimed as being so, as is attested to by Nalis and the Heritage Library.
Even though we fondly describe pan as being our national musical instrument, it does not enjoy the same status as any of our other national symbols and emblems. It is time for its designation to be formalised via proclamation. Local, social and economic betterment will follow and the international community will be in no doubt that our country is the home and owner of pan and its melodious music.
Let’s elevate the status of pan to that of the national musical instrument of TT via proclamation.


Petit Valley
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