The mistake we are making , my friends is assuming that the problems facing the steelbands of T&T are pan people’s problems , but they are much more than that.
The problems are societal , and about national identity , culture ,vision and even more.
Trinidadians have not yet recognized that in a failing economy , an emphasis on culture and tourism will become a most important part of the nation's economic security.
Many Trinidadians have been reluctant to appreciate uniqueness and value of the steelpan , the national instrument.
The most unique , and most economically viable part of the culture is the steelband and it related aspects - tuning , marketing of pans etc.
But this can only be exploited to the nation's benefit if that is recognized and appreciated by all aspects of society . including the government , the NCC , the steelband leaders , the business sector and mostly by the public at large.
And the government can’t just “ wash their hands” and leave it up to pan people , it is too important to the nation’s well being.
Because it will take a national investment ,and a focus on the steelband as a centerpiece of the culture , including the carnival.
And it will need direction and leadership from all aspects of society including government , the business community and the public.
Such an emphasis on culture should produce benefits in the entertainment sector and particularly in tourism .
The culture must be promoted and marketed with the spotlight on the steelband , in such a way as to emphasize the history of the steelpan , its culture , its creators and the superior skills of the pan creators and innovators of T&T.
Increased funds in the national coffers due to tourism based on steelband activities can then be shared with the steelbands , since it would be obvious they have earned it.
The steelbands , even with exemplary leadership , cannot solve these issues by themselves.
The problem is us.
All of us , not just pan people.