The Prime Minister says his inability to play pan remains one of his lasting regrets.
Dr Rowley made the statement Wednesday at the launch of the Alutech Research and Development Facility at the Tamana InTech Park, Wallerfield.
He was responding to a musical interlude in which three shoolgirls from a Seventh-Day Adventist School in Sangre Grande played one of the country’s national songs on pan.
“When I was their age, I went to the Seventh-Day Adventist Church as a boy and I was banned from those things,” he told the gathering.
“I could not go into the panyard and I could not be known to even aspire to be a panman, because those adults of the time, who were raising me, they knew all that had to be known, and they knew that I had to be kept away from that, because that was the Devil’s work.”
He added: “And today one of my lasting regrets is that I can’t play a note to save my life. And in this country of the steelband, I must be one of the few people who owned a pan and can’t play it.”
Rowley said he was also very pleased to see the increasing number of young women playing the instrument.
“To see these young ladies coming from the Seventh-Day Adventist religion and playing that particular tune, Our Nation’s Dawning, and to see the liberation of the females and to see that the Seventh-Day Adventist religion has embraced our national instrument, that is change, ladies and gentlemen.”
Rowley said too often people choose to see only the negatives in situations.
“I’m sure all my father would have seen were the guys and their families making the instruments, probably having a cigarette, probably having a drink in a bottle and maybe using language that was not fit for decent company. That is all they saw. They probably did not see an innovative instrument of great impact.”