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Priest urges Pan Trinbago: Set aside internal biases, work to improve image

Published: 
Sunday, August 6, 2017
Father Carl Williams

In spite of the poor attendance at Pan Trinbago’s Annual Interfaith Service yesterday, officials are being urged to set aside internal biases and concentrate on working together to improve and promote the organisation’s public image.

Urged to channel efforts into the promotion of the steelpan as they celebrated the 25th anniversary of the declaration of the steelpan as T&T’s national musical instrument, Interim Rector at the Trinity Cathedral, Port-of-Spain - Fr Carl Williams said petty squabbles often generated conflicts that distracted from the mission of the organisation.

Urging persons to learn from the mistakes of the past and build on them moving forward, Williams said while there was a perpetual temptation for both Pan Trinbago and the Church to stick to the institutionalisation of the past, “The past is not bad but we have to learn from it and move on.”

Williams advised, “God has designed the universe in such a manner that time marches on and moments of glory fade and exciting previews of coming attractions must end so that the real story can begin to unfold.”

Acknowledging the national contribution of the steel-pan thus far since it became an instrument in the 1930’s, Williams said Government’s support and the declaration of the steel pan as a national instrument had given it a pride of place and prominence within society.

With the steel-pan now an instrument worldwide, Williams offered some recommendations on how to further promote its use and inclusion throughout including Pan Trinbago nominating someone from the pan fraternity for a national award yearly; reintroducing the innovators and inventors awards programme; creating a “Panipedia” featuring pan facts/history/innovations; encouraging the use of pan in the education system; opening every show particularly those with an international audience with a pan version of the national anthem; engaging a variety of bands in shows; providing more support for community based music programmes and workshops; formulating workshops during school holidays; organising workshops/training in management, marketing, finance to make the management of steel-bands more professional; employing effective marketing strategies to create real economic generating opportunities; and completing the head quarters of Pan Trinbago to establish a permanent home for the instrument and a base for all pan knowledge/ facts/innovations/history/research.

Calling on Trinbagonians to rally around this cultural symbol which was central to T&T’s culture and carnival, Williams was equally critical as he said, “Now the international fraternity of pan are validating our pan and it seems it always take a foreigner to praise us. Is it a cultural weakness or a lack of faith?” he asked.

He went on, “Have we become frozen with the past glory to the extent that we cannot see that there is a new thing developing? Have we become so caught up with what is past that we cannot see a future with new possibilities.”

Pan Trinbago president, Keith Diaz, echoed similar sentiments when he addressed the small congregation as he said the steelpan had proven to be an influential tool in drawing persons away from a life of crime and criminal activities.

He said while other sectors of the economy continued to struggle, attention needed to be paid to three areas - Carnival, cocoa and steel-pan - as the lifelines needed to propel T&T out of this current economic quagmire.

Diaz said while it would take the cooperation of the public and private sectors, individuals and organisations to make this become a reality - he appealed to the relevant agencies to step up and fulfill its obligations to ensure the rest of the world did not steal the credit for the creation of the steel-pan.

Regarding the poor showing at yesterday’s service, Diaz said even though people continued to demonstrate their lack of attention to God and the Church within recent times, he could only pray for them and hope they would find their way back to the this sanctuary in time to come.