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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 am having a problem with all this discussions on this topic. I am wondering if the president of the Tassa association or any of their members knows about when steel talks that they would be seeing all this. I doubt very much.So I hope that Pantrinbago will reply in the media if they have not done so.As I said before on this topic, why not put this time and energy into finding ways to improve the pan.Let me just mention a few things of concern,I saw on the news tonight that each member of the team that represented T&T in the olympics will each get three  million dollars ( whether they get medals or not). They, made a name for T&T right. Now what have the people who invented the steelpan, (which is now the national instrument) ever get. What about the pioneers, like Winston "Spree": Simon, Anthony williams, Allan Jervais, Ellie Mann ette, Bertie Marshall, Wallace Austin, Rudulph Charles etc. The steelpan is keeping T&T on the map every day all over the world. Somebody please correct me if I said someting that is not right.

 "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? A government motion or a private member's Bill is needed now!

Hameed Shaqq is raising this issue all the time.......It should be looked into......As stated there was  a Proclamation that the Pan be adopted as the National Instrument of Trinidad & Tobago....The Question is.... was it ratified by both Houses and the Senate. Who in T&T is going to look into this now .


Salah, I am reading in one of dailies today Saturday, 15 September 2012 headline "Call for new national instrument 'uneducated' this is an excerpt of the article.


"It was proclaimed the national musical instrument of Trinidad & Tobago on August 30, 1992. In the 50th year of Independence, we at PanTrinbago, as representative of all pan people, pledge our organisation and all that we do to the glory of our nation, Trinidad and Tobago."


Pan Trinbago said it believes it is not enough to simply proclaim the pan as the national musical instrument, but a protocol and a policy must also stand beside that proclamation.


"And we have invited the Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism to work with us to develop these tenets," the organisation said.


p.s Pan Trinbago cannot do it alone, we also have to petition the Minister..


Thanks for your quick and informative response.....Yes I also agree that the Proclamation though it is good ...it is definitely not enough. It has to have the solid ratification so that there will be no more questions asked and it will not just be Lip Service.....so based on this Brother Hameed Shaqq was right in claiming that it was only a Proclamation...But today and especially in light of the controversy and discussion it is indeed a worthy and noble cause to pursue getting the Ratification of this Proclamation in Parliament ASAP......whatever we in the diaspora can do to contribute ..please let us know


Andre et al,

 I wish to confirm and compliment the Pan Trinbago Central Executive on placing copies into the local print media, as I also too saw the article in the daily of recent as expressed. I agree whole-heartedly your inference that Pan Trinbago cannot do it alone, that 'we' also have to petition the Minister.

Given that Pan Trinbago has now informed both the social and print media,  one could speculate that their next strategic move would be to inform all electronic media (e.g. perhaps through the several morning show programs and a press conference) to lead as the governing body ought to, this initiative of the belief that "it is not enough to simply proclaim the pan as the national musical instrument, but a protocol and a policy must also stand beside that proclamation" made on August 30, 1992.

One would think that in this all important election year of the Pan Trinbago executive, continued attempts through invitations to the Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism to work with the organization to develop these tenets" shall start a process to designed to deliver its intended outcome....


Then "we' can think about starting a petition to the Minister, because my friend Salah Wilson can attest from experience, as far as petitions within recent time concerning Pan goes, the lessons learnt is that.....lest there is the political will by the directorate to expedite this process, then this ole talk will roll off like water off a duck back.


A word to the wise, let Pan Trinbago lead the way and "we" shall do our part when the time comes.








We hear you loud and clear brother Lindsay...and again whatever we in the diaspora can do to assist ....please let us know because many of us want to play our part ...keep us in the loop

thanks to brother Hameed Shaqq for his persistence with this Proclamation initiative and the other brother who presented that discussion to the officials way back when...



From on the ground here in the Republic brother Salah...Roger on that

Much respect to all.....over to you Pan Trinbago.


Pantrinibago must act on this matter NOW! Demand an Act of Parliment to Proclaim the SteelPan!

Is the minister going recommend to the government a Bil to officially proclaim the Steelpan our National Instrument. This is the Time, the time is NOW, Now is the time...

Pan Act needed from the government!

I was alarmed when i heard an advertisement on a local radio station seeking to sublimely suggest that there is another national instrument. This needs to be clarified, furthermore if the claim of Mr, Hameed Shaqq is indeed correct then this situation needs to be rectified,the ball is in our court Pan Trinbago


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