PRESIDENT George Maxwell Richards has expressed hope that the use of pan will spread throughout Nigeria.
He was delivering the feature address at the State banquet for Nigerian President Dr Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Dame Patience, on Wednesday night at Knowsley, Port of Spain.
Richards spoke about the late Nigerian drummer, educator, social activist and recording artist Babatunde Olatunji and his influence on American music, saying:
"As Olatunji brought his drums to the West, so Trinidad and Tobago introduced another type of drum to the musical panoply of Nigeria—the music of the steel drum, which we have given to the world."
He expressed hope that the use of pan will spread throughout the country and noted that the Africa-Trinidad and Tobago Steel Pan Development Co, an initiative of Pan Trinbago Incorporated and Xcel Steel Pan Development Co of Nigeria, "will play a major role in this regard".
On the issue of trade, he noted that the launch of the joint Nigeria and Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Commerce in Nigeria next month should improve trade between the two nations.
He said the Port of Spain and Abuja chapters of the Nigeria/ Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Commerce "will make a significant contribution" to the furtherance of trade relations between countries. The local chapter was launched in February last year.
"I hope that the formal launch of the Nigeria Chapter, which is due to take place in Nigeria in August, in the context of our 50th anniversary celebrations, will draw attention to the possibilities for diverse trade between our two countries and that, indeed, trade will improve," Richards said.
He noted with the current climate of challenge to economies worldwide, the economic development thrust "must be guided by initiatives that make room for facilitating the development of trading partners wherever possible".
Richards urged the audience, a veritable who's who of Trinidad and Tobago society, not to focus on the effects of slavery but, instead, the opportunities for co-operation.
"It is not productive to dwell on the circumstances which led to the addition of persons from the African continent to the population of Trinidad and Tobago, even as we are keenly aware of the issues that flowed from them," he said.
He continued: "While not being unmindful of a history which speaks to the baser instincts of human beings, what is important for us today is to optimise opportunities for South-South co-operation as we seek to secure conditions that enable our people to realise their full potential and participate meaningfully in the development of our countries."