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 Ministry of the Arts and Multiculturalism

Launch of the ICP Website

Wednesday 27th  , August, 2014

Central Bank Auditorium

10:30 A.M.

Feature Address

Presented by:

Dr the Honourable H. Lincoln Douglas

Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism

SALUTATIONS

  • Fellow Cabinet Colleagues
  • Members of the Diplomatic Corps
  • Mr. Keith Diaz, President of Pantrinbago
  • Mr Bryon Serrette - Vice President of Pantrinbago
  • Other Executive Members of Pan Trinbago
  • Head of International Conference and Panorama Secretariat
  • Mrs Roslyn Khan-Cummings
  • Professor Rhoda Reddock - Deputy Principal of the University of the West Indies
  • Professor Clement Imbert - Head of Engineering Institute at the University of the West Indies
  • Mr. Kemal Manickchand of Kemal Design Studio- Representative of the Corporate Sector
  • Distinguished and Dedicated Members of the Steelband Fraternity
  • Specially Invited Members of the Business Community
  • Members of the Media
  • Ladies and Gentlemen

ADDRESS

Good morning

Introduction

We all can remember the question posed in Calypso “Whey Pan Reach?”… well finally we can confidently  give a definitive response at today’s event aptly themed “Crescendo: Elevating the Steelpan”. ( pr. Cresh-endo)

In March of this year, at the launch of the International Conference and Panorama, I challenged Pantrinbago to:

“Make this important and ingenious initiative that you have created, this International Conference and Panorama the benchmark, the ultimate event for the international steelpan market.”

Today’s event, which will introduce the website and schedule of events for the ICP is a positive indication that Pantrinbago and the ICP Secretariat is up for the challenge.

Art and Technology

While in the early years of the internet it was feared that this technology would compete with indigenous art forms, time has proven that technology has, in fact, been an enabler to the sharing of cultures and distribution of cultural products. Throughout history, technology has proven to be a valid vehicle for artists, providing them with new tools for expression.

Today, the internet has widened the audience of Pantrinabgo ensuring that nationals, the Trinidad and Tobago diaspora and the rest of the world can tap into information from any connected device.

Information about the national musical instrument - the Steelpan - can be easily accessed from any location around the globe – with just a click of a button. There are digital music files and online applications that mimic the sound of our steelpan.

I dare say that Art and Technology form a symbiotic relationship. These two apparently distinct specialities are connected more than ever, with technology being a fundamental force in the advancement of art.

The creation of a website for the ICP shows that there is an understanding of the need for both elements if success if to be achieved.

The Ministry’s Support of the International Conference of the ICP

The ICP website will be the portal through which the excitement and importance of the ICP will be transmitted to the  international steelpan fraternity.

When it convenes on August 5th, 2015 the inaugural International Conference and Panorama (ICP) will expose numerous steelband playing countries representing the regions of Europe, North America, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean to all elements of this 21st century musical instrument.

While we all look forward to this opportunity to showcase Trinidad and Tobago as the country with the most skilled and talented steelpan musicians in the world, the Ministry of the Arts and Multiculturalism is lending its tangible support to the Conference element of this event. We believe that the Conference is a key pathway to solidifying Trinidad and Tobago as the ‘think tank’ and the initiator of all advancement projects related to the steelpan.

International participants who attend the Conference should not only be exposed to the unique history and creation of the steelpan.

I envisage a Conference that is interactive and ground breaking – examining new developments in the Science of the Steelpan. I expect vibrant discussions about the best standards for the instrument as it relates to topics such as the optimum layout for notes, the best material to be used and superior techniques for amplification.

The final goal of the conference is to steer all stakeholders involved towards the adoption of a Plan of Action to globalize the Steelpan industry.  What an accomplishment this will be for the home of the Steelpan.

Justification

The Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism, and by extension the  Government of Trinidad and Tobago will continue the momentum to include this platform of the Arts as one of the drivers for diversification which will provide services and products that generate export earnings.

The possible national benefits of the establishment of the ICP as a standard event on the international calendar are numerous. It has the potential to support the government’s efforts towards Job Creation, Improved International Competitiveness, Economic Diversification, Increased Innovation, Poverty Reduction and Human Capital Development.

Conclusion

Trinidad and Tobago must continue to explore benefits to be derived from the indigenous creation of the steelband and its worldwide impact on the music industry.  Its comparative advantage is undeniable but must immediately be harnessed within a more defined institutional framework. 

Finally as we look towards this major event on the Pantrinbago Calendar I am pleased that we can begin to answer the question “Whey pan reach?” with much more clarity.

#END#