Future of pan as an industry is not bright

THE EDITOR: It was very kind of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to offer words of encouragement to our young pannists as he toured panyards on Friday.

I was struck, especially, by the advice he gave to the youngsters in Nutrien Silver Stars. He was happy to see so many young people in this large band, and told them to always strive for success.

On the other hand, I was saddened to read in a Sunday newspaper that the governing body for pan, Pan Trinbago, had cashed in its shares in a local pan manufacturing company, Panland, which today is struggling to survive.

This comes on the heels of a 2011 US television clip (which recently surfaced) about a pan manufacturing company, Panyard Inc, in Ohio, that is doing great things.

A 2017 article, headed “Kenmore firm a hit in steel drum industry,” stated that this company made sales of US$1 million in 2016 and was selling between 8,000 and 10,000 pans a year.

The Economic Development Advisory Board (EDAB) had developed a proposal on the steel pan manufacturing industry for export, but its chairman, Dr Terrence Farrell, resigned in January 2018 in frustration.

Shortly, thereafter, in April 2018, the Rowley government disbanded the EDAB.

Pan Trinbago has never developed a business model for the steel pan. It is very sad that over the years its officers seemed to be all about themselves and not about developing the industry.

This has culminated in hundreds of our pannists not being paid a stipend for their many, many hours of sacrifice and practice for Panorama 2019.

This might be a blessing in disguise, as it would spur the entrepreneurial spirit in the individual bands to become self-sufficient.

However, as long as Pan Trinbago remains inert, the future of pan as an industry is not bright.



"Future of pan as an industry is not bright"

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