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Caribbean

Published on October 10th, 2014 | by Trinidad Express Newspapers

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‘We must focus more on pan’

Intellectual property rights is one of the major issues that is preventing the steelpan from being properly marketed internationally. Planning Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie said on Wednesday that next year, during the World Steelband Festival expected to be held in Trinidad and Tobago, emphasis will be placed on the national musical instrument. He was speaking to the media after the opening ceremony of the VIII Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF), 2014 at the Southern Academy for Performing Arts, San Fernando. The Planning Ministry is responsible for hosting the event. Tewarie said: “There is going to be a World Steelband Festival in Trinidad and Tobago next year bringing steelbands from all over the world and maybe taking that next step might be the opportunity to really locate the steelpan psychologically and intellectual property-wise in Trinidad and Tobago and maybe then we can begin to do something serious.

During her remarks at the event, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar spoke highly of the steelpan, the only percussive musical instrument to be created in the 21st century. However, she also said: “I now see steel pans are coming out of Japan and if we are not careful they will be exporting the steelpan back to us. We need to take that innovativeness and harness it as best as we can.” A steelpan sells online for almost US$200. Locally, a tenor pan sells for an average of TT$4,000.

Tewarie, when asked if the Government saw Japan’s exportation as a threat, said: “Once you make something anybody else can do it . That is the nature of the game. The question is are we going to do anything to make the steelband and the steelpan ours. We should not worry about what people are doing with the pan. We should just look and see what they are doing and try to do more and do it better.”

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