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The Steelpan - National Instrument of Trinidad & Tobago - Official Statement from Pan Trinbago

Official Statement from Pan Trinbago

Pan Trinbago has taken note of the renewed call by some in our society for another National Musical Instrument. We have seen the various opinions expressed and as the Governing Body for STEELPAN, we here state our position on the matter.

In order for an instrument to be considered to be a National Musical Instrument, it should be (a) indigenous to the country and (b) musical i.e. able to play the songs of the country.

We know of no other musical instrument in Trinidad and Tobago that satisfies these two (2) criteria other than THE STEELPAN.

We, therefore, state categorically that THE STEELPAN is the ONLY NATIONAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT.

That persons should consider and present another instrument to be accepted as a national musical instrument, even as it does not satisfy the criteria betrays a non-acceptance of THE STEELPAN. That the instrument(s) 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.

STEELPAN is the musical instrument that was inspired, born, bred, developed, refined and matured in this country and propagated throughout the world in over fifty (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 Organizations and World Events hosted by us. It was proclaimed the NATIONAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO on 30th August, 1992.

We believe that it is not enough to simply proclaim THE STEELPAN as the NATIONAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT, but also a protocol a­­nd a policy must stand beside that proclamation, and we have invited the Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism to work with us to develop these tenets.

This statement must not be construed as a defence of THE STEELPAN as we do not consider the calls (for another National Musical Instrument) to be an attack.

Rather, it is a statement of education and affirmation as we consider the calls to be mis-informed, un-informed and anti-national. How could a Trinidadian and/or Tobagonian consider and present instrument (s) of Middle Eastern origins to be a NATIONAL INSTRUMENT of this country? In the fiftieth (50th) year of Independence we at Pan Trinbago as representative of ALL PAN PEOPLE, pledge our organization and all that we do to the glory of our nation, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO.


Click for some of the fervent views expressed on the blog “Deafening silence - ‘Honour tassa just like pan’ which preceded the above statement...

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I fully support this statement. You have my vote PanTrinbago. Amen.


It is noteworthy to see that Pan Trinbago presents an official statement on the topic and a positive one as such



I applaud and fully endorse this proper and statesman like response to this hollow appeal.


Panicus Maximus!

About time, Pan Trinbago. "Panicus Maximus" indeed!!

EJW Bain, I love that!!

Duly noted and well said.

Thank you for this official statement on this social medium.


 Pantribago is pulling the wool over our eyes by publicly stating that the "STEELPAN WAS PROCLAIMED THE NATIONAL INSTRUMENT ON AUGUST 30th 1992"  There are no approvals and documentations by the both Houses of Assemblies to such a Proclaimation. Where is the Act of Parliment voted on my our elected members and who brought the motion foward? Maybe a private member's Bill is needed now. By the way the 2nd session of Parliment on August 28 1992 dealt entirely with a Financial Bill. No memtion of any Steel-Pan Bill. Next sitting was September 4 1992 still, no mention of any national instrument proclaimation.

It is rather amusing that we can find T'Dadians who will continue to divide TNT "by any means necessary"They should realize that we will have to replace the Coat Of Arms and the past 50 Years of History

Well said!!

A bold and mature statement.  Pan is played by any and everybody.  It is an universal instrument like the piano, guitar, saxaphone, trumpet, bass and other musical instruments used globaly by international musicians.  Do not link it with other insignificant or non traditional instruments.  The steel pan instrument is unique.  We should all be proud that it was invented in this little beautiful twin-island state, Trinidad and Tobago.

Joseph Renaud, HBM.

WELL SAID Mr Joe. I totally agree with you, The steelpan in a unique invention and a ground-breaking descovery in the Science of Metallurgy.


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