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WST Reboot -- An Opportunity Missed - The Fifth Summit of the Americas and the Steelband

Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. - Trinidad and Tobago missed a golden opportunity to ‘sell’ steelband to the visiting heads of states who came for the 5th Summit of the Americas. Try to imagine the level of publicity that could have been generated if we had given a tenor pan, a stand, a case and a pair of sticks to each visiting head of state.

Look at the sudden rise in popularity of a book given by Mr. Chavez to Mr. Obama, it became an instant bestseller. All the front pages of our dailies carried a photo of the US president playing a batting stroke with his gift from Brian Lara.

These two incidents indicated to me that we are still a bit shy when it comes to our national instrument. It would have cost us a miniscule part of the summit budget to have our finest Tuners prepare thirty-three tenors for the visitors - each engraved with the head of state’s name to personalize the gift.

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What a fabulous idea!!! Opportunity missed.
Just to update you Nestor, all the heads and their spouses at the Summit received the Presidential Gift set of Liz Mannette Steelpan Jewelry. The men received the tenorpan cufflinks and the women received a double tenor brooch with a gemstone. Actually Mrs. Manning wore the brooch at the opening ceremony. If you look at the photos with her in the gray suit on the Summit website you will see a good view of the piece.

As you know, my jewelry includes a brochure on the history of pan-and I did an Spanish and English version for the Summit- a CD of pan music and the miniature steelpan case. So there was some effort to give a gift of our national instrument.

I don't quite agree though that this is Pan Trinbago's responsibility. I gather they organized the panyard concerts and I do not know what other introductions or relationships were developed through these avenues. I do hope that opportunities for bands to travel to all the countries will be explored. But surely it is now up to me, and other entrepreneurs, to run with our ball.

I intend to follow up on this opening and to forge relationships with other jewellers or retailers in each country. I will be working through our embassies in respective countries to identify appropriate retail outlets. And of course, as one opens the door, many others can follow.
I am actively looking for a sales and marketing assistant to help in this role. If you know of someone, please have them email me at liz@lizmannette.com. But marketing internationally requires a lot of capital. Brochures, promotional materials (in Spanish, Portuguese and English), trips to the region, insurance to cover the inventory...all this is expensive. But where there is a will, there is a way.

i fully agree with you, there is a lack of planning ! and we don't like what is ours that's why we are left behind where the pan is concern and they say that's the national instrument of our country Trinidad and Tobago oh please which brings me to a nxt point we have have a national steel band, and they was not in the summit, that's very sad! say what thats the 20 20 vision
The Caribbean littoral of Central America from Yucatan to Colombia, unknown to many of us, is home to millions of West indian descendans who migrated to work on the sugar plantations and gold mines. They are fascinated by everything West Indian and consider the West indies as their mother country. Calypso Rose has been able to tap this market. As far back as 1984, the Sandinista government was expressing interest in having steelbands visit Nicaragua which is home to a large caribbean community. Ortega is back in power today and maybe that idea can be re-explored. It came to nought the last time because of the contra war and the hostility of the Reagan administration which was mining the harbors.
I'm sure all attendees know about reggae music though
The Steel Pan was prominently featured in the Cultural Program. As part of the beautiful presentation there was a full pan-around-the-neck band providing accompaniment for a well-known pan soloist, though I don't recall his name at the moment.
Ken "Professor" Philmore is probably the soloist in question. The Pan around the neck segment certainly brought tears to my eyes. As did the appearance of King David Rudder, and the parang group.
We the creative people are at the bottom of the food chain.
We will always be there until we start thinking for ourselves outside the box.
Creativity is not only a Panorama Final, a Road March or a Soca Monarch.
We have mentally enslaved ourselves into this way of thinking.
Enough is enough!!!!!!!!!!!
Blessings Mr Henderson,

We creative people must find a way to stop complaining about non-recognition and start marketing ourselves aggressively, if we are ever to benefit from the abundant talent that flows through our veins. There are only so many that will be "discovered" on YouTube, or some high-profile televised talent show, so anyone who has to make it, must be able to sell, dare I say "pimp" themselves to the world. The David Rudders, Anslem Douglases and Billy Oceans of the world didn't sit in a corner doing their thing until some millionaire found them and decided to tour them around the world. If we don't get proactive with our talent, we will remain at the bottom of the food chain, as you describe it.
well I suppose you're being tongue in cheek ... "a bit shy?" It would appear that neither the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, nor Pantrinbago (the world governing body for pan) understand the gold mine of potential that is the steelpan, nor have any faith in it. Surely even those of us without the necessary marketing savvy, proud of our "National instrument", as surely it is, would naturally put the pan at the top of the list of gifts, cost notwithstanding in the face of the rampant spending for this 3 day meeting. While the rest of the world is avidly assimilating the pan into their cultural and educational portfolios, we, the originators can still be reticent about it???? We beat our chest in the world about things like having the world's largest roundabout, about beauty queens and football teams and our most dynamic and faithful ambassador the pan is still, even now, to prove its true worth to us. The mind boggles. I love my country but Quo vadis Trinidad, whey we goin?????????
The national instrument was not totally forgotten as gifts, though they were in the form of jewelry. I read a newspaper artile, which stated that steelband cufflinks were presented to the gentlemen and other forms of pan jewelry with gem stones were presented to the attending wives at the 5th Summit of the Americas. The jewelry is that of the LIZ MANNETTE collection. I know the standard of jewelry is of the highest quality, since I have bought some and also have of my own. Ms Mannette is a relative of the great Ellie Mannette, one of the pan innovators of Trinidad and Tobago, so the gifts also bear some history/sentiment. It may not have been to your liking, which was also a good idea, from a promotional point of view, but our national istrument made its mark in some way at this Summit. Perhaps the Liz Mannette collection may have had a boost in sales, which would still be a plus for our instrument. Her collection consists only of items related to the pan orchestra.
Brudder Nestor , yuh rite ,we miss ah good opportunity to push pan higher up on de worlds muzical instrument list . Dat is because we have mis-leaders wid ainshunt ideas , or more appropriate , no ideas of what Pan is an what it is for . Pan is ah gift from we ancestors , tuh create an industry which could , if managed properly , save we an de world holistically . We do not appreciate de tings we have , or value de tings we create . Like we Trini-Talk . Is de most colourfull and riddumitic language in de world , yet we want tuh be so englishified ,we kill it an we selvs LOUDLY,not softly no more . Pan Trinbago is ah joke , ah terribly distasteful joke . Wey we Pan Factory , eh , Wey we Pan Headquarters , an wey de hell are de positive , progressive thinkin leaders dat de countree produced tuh leed this most important organization in TnT . De mis-leaders ,an most other steelband leaders , it seem , are content to come out every year tuh argue bout Panorama . Who get rob an who dey tief for . The Grand Master of Pan , Mr.Anthony Williams , pulled North Stars out when he correctly figured that de aim of den organizers an dey judges was not for the advancement of the muzic or de instrument . An is de same today , ent . Well like Stalin say "de Pan gone but de Panman stay" . In other countries Pan is ah part of schools muzic carriculum . Students study we pan [ sorry dey pan - cause dey makin them in dey pan factories ] wid muzic sheets in front ah dem. Now dats de way tuh go .On finishing dey courses ,dey are qualified musicians , we on de odder hand , after years of steelband membership , are Pan Players who still cant read muzic . When will we ketch up wid de pan . Our uniqueness is extraordinary , an we should be proud an embrace every aspect of it whether it be Pan or the very sweet way of talkin . We can and we will take Pan to the heights it should be , but we must be aware of opportunities like this and, others dat we miss before , so we wont miss any more in de future...[ 3rd World]


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