When Steel Talks

Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music

March 3rd, 2014

Toronto. Canada

7:30pm (Carnival Monday night)


Greetings all,

                      This is a research project, and your input will be greatly appreciated. I wish to put forward a basic question of which you may feel free to respond in whatever way you so desire. The question might seem to be hypothetical to some but to others it is a dream and hope and to others it is a reality in time.

The question of course deals with the true meaning of the development of the pan.

“What do you think should be immediate goals and objectives of a Pan Ministry (a ministry exclusively for the pan) in Trinidad and Tobago”

Feel free to give any response to this question….. as I previously mentioned it is a research project and I feel that this WST Forum can offer an objective discussion on both sides of the fence.

If I may add the following ……..

-          I believe that this research project is ahead of the government and opposition in Trinidad & Tobago.

-          As such whatever we speak and put forward concerning this topic will be original to the cause.

-          This puts us in a unique position concerning the pan..we actually can set a course for this Pan Ministry.

-          We can come with all possible scenarios for this ministry and it will serve as a precedence

-          I believe that this will send a clear message to the politicians…… that the pan people are ahead of them on this one and hence they will have to pay attention to what we have to say.

-          I also hope that it will be brought up in the scheduled town hall pan meeting in T&T .


Remember you also have the right to write off this topic as impossible or ridiculous so have your say.


Salah Wilson

MA musicology. Activist.

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Replies to This Discussion

Salah My Bro. It's a good Idea for a Ministry of Pan. For this to Work they Must be the Governing a Body of Pan, Pantrinbago and it's Leadership has failed Pan People through the Years and it's about time that they Should give account of their Finances. The Problem will be that Pantrinbago would never give up that Power. The Ministry of Pan would be able to get people who can Market the Pan Product, this is something that Pantrinbago has not done since it's inception. Salah. It's a very Good Idea but for it to work and be Beneficial to the Pan Fraternitiy the Government would have to rein in Pantrinbago. In the real World Pantrinbago would fight down the Government and that Ministry would be like a White Elephant only effective when Pantrinbago needs Funding.

Ministry of Pan is a very good idea, But the Govt' must pass a law, "From now on regardless which Govt' is in power A Minstry of Pan will always available". We don't want to have one with this Govt' then if another take over they do away with it.

Bro. Val,

Well I guess we`re not in Trinidad on this Carnival Monday night taking in the pan ...so this is indeed a worthwhile discussion about the pan ...First thing is that the more we talk about it the more it becomes a part of the consciousness on its way to a reality.

Concerning Pan Trinbago and  the Ministry of Pan...obviously the Ministry would have all jurisdiction on pan including Pan Trinbago.  the role of Pan Trinbago will have to be re-defined.

My idea behind this discussion is that we can set a course for this Ministry and define in which direction it should be going ...this is why we are ahead of the politicians right now. .....thanks for the input ...


Bede it is clearly a stance we are  making and you with your statement have already set some parameters as regards defining and directing future governments that a Ministry for Pan has to come and stay ....there was a time when there was a ministry of sports and culture combined...with evolution and growth we now have independent ministries of both sports and culture ...so this is one of the reasons why we are in a legitimate case and a just  cause to push for an exclusive ministry for the pan.....


My concern is not pan but the steelband in the Mecca. Every steelband that took part in panorama should get a piece of the carnival pie. Steelbands on the road MUST be the main event and panorama the side show.

Creating a new ministry is just adding to the bureaucracy. What about creating a division in the ministry of education with total emphasis on pan. Secondary Arts schools with pan as a part of the curriculum should be established. This will enable students to obtain basic knowledge in reading, writing and playing music along with the history of the pan and an introduction to tuning. This will also entail hiring pan tuners as teachers. Thus making a pan tuner a dignified position in society. 

The suggestions will be noted along with the others.....peace

I will be brief, but let me just say blessing to you and your family and congrats on all of your accomplishments thus far. Should this Pan Ministry become a reality, i think these areas should be given priority . 1. making the history of pan compulsory in the education system starting at the primary level,  2.Schools / centers where the tuning profession may be studied, 3.Factory / factories for the production and exportation of instruments. After consultation and study a final decision can be made regarding number three. personally believe we're late in this area and many others. this is my humble submission.

The evolutionary growth and development of the steel pan and steel ban music has been phenomenal in Trinidad with an ever increasing appeal internationally. The potential for further growth and development is only limited by imagination, creativity, determination, human and financial resources, and meaningful political engagement and support.  I therefore offer the following modest suggestion. Rather than establishing another ministry exclusively dedicated to the "PAN", consider expanding the mandate of the current Ministry of Culture to address the issue of the "PAN" based on the following:

  • the budget that would support a separate and distinct ministry, dedicated to Pan, would be better invested in directly funding initiatives related to the growth and development of the "PAN".
  • The Ministry of Culture would be mandated to provide a range of national funds that would allow the government to invest in a variety of research and development needs related to the "PAN, by working in partnership with the community.
  • For  example, research and development needs could include the exploration of new technologies, improved methods of pan fabrication, experimentation with combination metals/alloys to generate novel sounds;  programming and effective marketing strategies designed to promote the "PAN" locally and perhaps more important, internationally. The Ministry could be responsible for developing and managing a national "PAN" strategy with  an appropriate budget to fund proposals submitted by individuals and groups who have the requisite knowledge, technical skills, experience and demonstrated management competence to undertake such initiatives.

Of course, development of a national "PAN Strategy for Trinidad and Tobago" would be best undertaken by the   government working in partnership with a broad representation of key community partners.  A strategic approach, developed, budgeted and managed with such a coalition has the potential to galvanize broad public support to launch the "PAN" on a new and exciting trajectory of growth and development.

Your suggestions and input are great ....however I am still of the opinion that your ideas and those of the others will be best served under an exclusive Pan Ministry. In other words this ministry will have its own budget, its own portfolio , its own resources  and will not have to answer to any other ministry.t will be responsible for its own development which brings the discussion back to the topic of us the pan people determining its own development by offering our input and suggestions on this dialogue.

Greeting brother Salah,

I started reading your post and decided to reply before completing reading. I have been telling my friends the same and sometimes I get the feeling that they never take me seriously. Over the years I have seen how the outside world appreciate  our instrument,compared to the way we do and I cringe. I have also advocated for the placing of the pan on our national flag, especially since we are not able to patent it for whatever reasons. The only way we can protect ownership, for in the furture incoming generation could be falsely told that it was invented by another country, maybe Japan,China,etc.

About the Ministry of Pan( MOP), I don't believe that we have leaders who are really aware of the greatness of the Steelpan, and consequently none will dare to make this bold move. It will and must take the rallying of the people, but then again our people are only lip servers. Meanwhile, Salah, we must keep the hope alive! 

Now, I am going to continue reading your suggestion.

Ah pan ministry that will be madness, instead of a pan ministry y not look at getting proper representing and management for pantrinbago


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