Call for new national instrument 'uneducated'
Pan Trinbago has described the call for another national instrument as an uneducated one that betrays a non-acceptance of the pan.
In a statement yesterday, the governing body for the national instrument said it has noted the renewed call by some people for another national musical instrument—but musical instruments that did not originate in this country cannot be considered national instruments.
"In order for an instrument to be considered to be a national musical instrument, it should be indigenous to the country and musically able to play the songs of the country. We know of no other musical instrument in Trinidad and Tobago that satisfies these two criteria other than the steelpan. We, therefore, state categorically that the steelpan is the only national musical instrument.
"Steelpan is the musical instrument that was inspired, born, bred, developed, refined and matured in this country and propagated throughout the world in over 50 countries. It has given Trinidad and Tobago an identity that no other country can claim, as evidenced by the distinctive steelpan logo on the emblems of our national organisations and world events hosted by us."
Pan Trinbago said its statement should not be construed as a defence of the steelpan, but "a statement of education and affirmation, as we consider the calls to be misinformed, uninformed and anti-national."
Pan Trinbago further questioned how a Trinidadian and/or Tobagonian could consider and present an instrument of Middle Eastern origin as a national instrument of this country.
"That the instrument being presented is of perceived and questionable Indian origin betrays a belief that steelpan is African. It also betrays a notion of affirmative action, meaning that if steelpan is African, then there must be something Indian. The puerility of this idea does not deserve even our censure.
"It was proclaimed the national musical instrument of Trinidad and Tobago on August 30, 1992. In the 50th year of Independence, we at Pan Trinbago, as representative of all pan people, pledge our organisation and all that we do to the glory of our nation, Trinidad and Tobago."
Pan Trinbago said it believes it is not enough to simply proclaim the pan as the national musical instrument, but a protocol and a policy must also stand beside that proclamation.
"And we have invited the Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism to work with us to develop these tenets," the organisation said.