BECAUSE of the ethnic and cultural diversity of our nation, there are many festivals we observe and so Tinidad and Tobago can be regarded as the Caribbean nation of festivals.
And one of the major festivals is our great pre-Lenten Carnival, which is being copied by very many countries, particularly in the Caribbean.
One major component of our Carnival is our indigenous steelband music which is in demand the world over.
The steelband originated right here in Trinidad and Tobago and is generally highlighted in several competitions, particularly during Carnival.
In the early years the pre-Carnival steelband competition was referred to as "Carnival Bacchanal" which carried a pitiful first prize of $350. In 1962, with the advent of the National Association of Trinidad and Tobago Steelbandsmen which was led by the indomitable George Goddard and which also included yours truly as the education secretary, we approached the then chairman of the Carnival Development Committee Ronnie Williams and demanded that more respect be paid to the art form. After some haggling over a lengthy period, Mr Williams reluctantly agreed that the first prize be increased to $1,000 and the name of the contest be changed to "Panorama".
This year Panorama will be marking its 50th year, an historical milestone, and it is imperative that the pan fraternity properly celebrate this occasion.
Members of that historic committee who made that successful intervention in 1962 should be honoured and given due accolades.
Kenrick P Thomas