University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) and Metal Industries Company Limited (MIC)
Advanced Steelpan Tuning Graduation Ceremony
Thursday 16th May, 2013
UTT Campus, SAPA
DR. THE HONOURABLE LINCOLN DOUGLAS
Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism
- Senator the Honourable Fazal Karim, Minister of Tertiary Education and Skills Training
- Mr. Curtis R. Manchoon, Chairman, Board of Governors
- Mr. David A. Lee, Chairman of the Metal Industries Company Limited
- Specially invited guests
- Members of the Media
- Ladies and Gentlemen
Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen.
It gives me great pleasure to address you on this auspicious occasion of the Graduation Ceremony for the Advanced Steelpan Tuning programme held by the University of Trinidad and Tobago in collaboration with the Metal Industries Company Limited (MIC). This is a proud moment for the institutions and their hard working lecturers, for the graduates and their families who supported them, and also for the steelpan industry and the cultural and creative sector of Trinidad and Tobago.
Let me take this opportunity to congratulate all graduates of the Advanced Steelpan Tuning programme for recognising the importance of investing in your professional development and choosing a career in the cultural and creative industries. I am certain that this groundbreaking programme has equipped you with the skills necessary to play your part in the development of the steelpan and the steelband fraternity by extension.
The Advanced Steelpan Tuning programme is a pioneering course that provides hands-on training in metallurgy, workshop technology, science of sound and acoustics, welding, computerised music and practical and fine tuning. The University of Trinidad and Tobago and the Metal Industries Company Limited must be recognised for spearheading this innovative programme which has revolutionised the way we look at the steelpan. Not only is the steelpan about providing scintillating music, the national instrument is big business.
The steelpan is one of the most viable income generators for the cultural and creative industries of Trinidad and Tobago. In 2008 the value of steelpan exports from Trinidad and Tobago was estimated at TT$4 million (Keith Nurse, 2009) and this continues to climb annually. Pan instruments are therefore the largest visible or merchandise export in the cultural and creative sector. There is immense potential for the steelpan industry to advance the lives of stakeholders involved in the sector while promoting 'Brand T&T' to the world.
As the Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism I fully endorse the Advanced Steelpan Tuning programme and I urge the University of Trinidad and Tobago and the Metal Industries Company Limited to continue to produce innovative programmes that can professionalise the cultural and creative sector of Trinidad and Tobago. Innovation is the key to success and the creative energy of our people will drive that innovation. Indeed, the steelpan is an innovative product born from the creative energy of the people. We must continue to invest in that human potential.
The late great Bertram "Bertie" Marshall is highly regarded as the inventor of the modern-day steelpan. He gave the Advanced Steelpan Tuning programme his stamp of approval and was also actively involved. The task of continuing his legacy is no easy one, but I am sure that all graduates tonight have been inspired by their interaction with him. I congratulate you on successfully completing this programme and wish you every success as we work together to advance the steelpan sector and the cultural and creative industries of Trinidad and Tobago.
Thank You, and good night.