Minister lays bill to make pan national instrument

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

In this file photo, members of Golden Hands steelband perform at the Panorama Small Conventional Band Semifinals at Victoria Square, Port of Spain. – Photo by Roger Jacob

THE steelpan is set to be honoured via the National Musical Instrument Bill, 2024, which was piloted in the House of Representatives on Friday by Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts Randall Mitchell.

It is due for debate in both Houses.

The bill’s full name is an Act to provide for the designation of the Steelpan as the National Musical Instrument of the Republic of TT and for related matters

The preamble said the Government was committed to “developing, safeguarding and promoting culture and the arts.”

It said, “The steelpan was originally created and pioneered in TT by its very own innovative and enterprising citizens, making the steelpan a significant source of national pride and the underpinning of the nation’s musical soul and rich cultural identity.”

It has long been the policy of the Government that the steelpan be considered the national musical instrument of TT and in striving towards the status as a modern state, it sees it prudent to include this policy into law.

The bill said the steelpan’s origin in TT was internationally recognised and globally acclaimed through a host of events, schools and festivities.

With the steelpan continuously highlighted on the world stage by accolades, achievements and awards, it was expedient the steelpan be officially and legally declared as the national musical instrument in recognition of its fundamental value to TT and its citizenry, the preamble added.

The bill said, “‘Steelpan’ means a definite pitch percussion musical instrument in the idiophone class with notes on a concave playing surface, with or without a skirt, divided into convex sections by channels which may contain grooves or bores, or both, with each convex section being a note which is tuned to a definite pitch.”

The bill stated, “The steelpan is hereby declared the national musical instrument of TT.”

Under the legislation, the culture minister must prepare and lay in Parliament every two years from the start of the act, “a report on the recognition, status, promotion, development and impact of the steelpan at national, regional and international levels.”