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The United Nations has declared August 11 as World Steel Pan Day to be recognized annually in the musical hemisphere. It illuminates the achievement by Trinidad and Tobago of the invention of the only music instrument of the 20th century. It was not done in a traditional “big country” where fame and glory reside. It was of this small country of Trinidad and Tobago, located north of South America with a population of 1.5 million. Lots have been written about the crude oil drum from which it has been sculptured into a sweet musical instrument which can play any genre of music. I enjoy attending Steelband Panoramas across the world in New York, Canada, UK, Europe and Australia. It delights me to land in a Caribbean Island and the musical instrument of choice to greet me is the Steel Pan. I also find it hilarious, some of the historic rewritten descriptions of the origin of the Steel Pan.

Several years ago I was in touch with a Steelband from Johannesburg, South Africa and what impressed me was a statement on their webpage. It said of the Steel Pan “From Africa to Trinidad and back to Africa”. The explanation was that centuries ago Africans were taken forcefully to Trinidad with nothing, and out of their creative genius the Steel Pan as a musical instrument, emerged, which has come back to Africa for the benefit of all.

For us as a people, this declaration is another cultural marker that goes along with being the Standard Bearer for Calypso, Kaiso, Soca and of course the over fifty six (56) Carnivals across the globe, modelled against the Trini Carnival. And even though it is the tourism musical instrument of choice, throughout all the territories of the Caribbean, the home is Trinidad and Tobago and that is a profound cause to celebrate. So, on 2023 August 11, the Steel Pan movement will join the chorus in shouting thank you and congratulations to the pioneers whose early struggles have left us with this huge gift of music expressed in this unique manner.

Proud to be Trini. Proud to be a Pan enthusiast. Proud to share with the world at large.

On behalf of the members of the United Nations Association of Trinidad and Tobago [UNATT], we salute this achievement and join with the Steel Pan Diaspora in celebrating this morale boosting accomplishment. Our pioneers must be delighted as they sleep in eternal peace. The glory of this moment is a glory for all of us. Shalom!!!

Respectfully and Joyously

Ray M.S. Brathwaite, Chartered FCIPD, FCMI, FInstLM, FASI, MBA.
President, United Nations Association of Trinidad and Tobago
Executive Committee Officer & Finance Committee Member,
World Federation of United Nations Associations