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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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Mr Copeland. Thank you very much for your response. I have, as you have done researched the Hansard and could not find any document proclaiming the Steelpan our National Instrument. Pantrinibago must bring this matter to the attention of the ruling government.

Please, Pantribago! please

This research is a formidable and salient piece of work which ought to be read by all, including Pan Trinbago, as it provides the basis of the grounding for the organisation to make its statement presented.

Thank you Professor Copeland and Dr. Nathaniel for sharing in the public domain.

Late, but well said Pantrinbago. What took you so long? I brought this to Pantrinbago's attention since Mr. Serrette's presidency. I also suggested to Pantrinbago to get Mr. manning to make the steelpan the national instrument as an Act of Parliament to protect its legality and status. Pantrinbago did nothing. But it is good to see Pantrinbago stepping up to the plate in this controvesy. Better late than never.

Pantrinbago must demand An Act of Parliment Now!

Thank you for shining some more light on the issue! Now is the time for the REAL PROCLAIMATION of our National Instrument......STAND UP FOR PAN!



The ruling political party cannot make any National proclaimation without an official Parlimentary procedure. If a political was allowed to proclaim a national Symbol, then COP could of declare the Tassa a national instrument just as the PNM government  declared the Steelpan the National instrument in 1992 without an Act of Parliment, which is not the protocol.

I did not know that Pan Trinbago had a public voice.

It is great to hear that voice, especially when its position is so brilliantly expressed.

Nice hearing from you, Pan Trinbago, and well done!

2012 and continuing would go down as the biggest year in PAN in Trinidad & Tobago from Panorama, Steelfest, PanJazz in Tobago, Pan in the Country Side, Pan on the Avenue, Pan on Tragarete Road and all the steelbands with their own concerts and shows Boogsie put on a scitilating show at the Little Carib Thearter in August.


I listen to Keith Diaz every saturday, I enjoy the show,  just recenly steelband shows start airing on a consistant basis. Trinbagonians want to see activites continuing with steelbands shows. Get those fat pocket business to sponsor some shows.

People of this blessed country,

The tassa oriignated in Persia and was introduced to India By the Muslims and by extention brought to Trinidad and Tobago by Indentured labourers..People do the research. Suggesting that the tassa become a national instrument of trinidad and Tobago is outragous, preposterous and absurd . Many eastern indians in this country feel that the steel pan is an African thing, and be that as it may, many eastern indians have contributed to the development of the steel pan and the steelband movement (eg: Jit Samaroo and  Booby Mohammed  just to name a few) both at home and  abroard. In conclusion, the steel Pan is indiginous to Trinidad and Tobago and signifies the greatness of our people and i Quote "Our People". Would some one tell me what kinda head them politians pushing?????

Pan is the national instrument--made here, created here, originated here.

Only those who are not in the movement to honour diversity, peculiar to T&T, would say differently.



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