THA CHIEF SECRETARY Farley Augustine says avenues must be developed for the island’s young people to learn the art of steelpan tuning and construction.
He made the statement on Sunday night while paying tribute to late steelband manager Iran “Duce” Anthony during the National Medium Conventional Band Final at the Parade Ground, Dwight Yorke Stadium, Bacolet, Tobago.
Anthony, who died in January, was the manager of NGC Steel Xplosion.
Augustine spoke on behalf of Secretary of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities and Transportation Tashia Burris.
He said, “Unfortunately, one of the projects that we hoped we could have done with him was to find a way for him to teach two things to our youngsters – the art of pan tuning and the art of making the pans.
“Duce was making pans right in Tobago and exporting it beyond Tobago’s shores and now that he has passed on, we must find the talents wherever they may be and ensure they are placed in a position to pass the knowledge on to our young people. Too many of our youngsters are not getting the privilege of learning the artform in all its forms.”
Saying Anthony’s contribution to the steelpan must be recognised, Augustine said, “Duce laboured like no one else in the pan vineyard.”
He recalled when Tobago returned to normality after covid19, Anthony visited several primary and secondary schools on the island to assess the musical equipment there.
“When Duce saw the state of pan in our schools, Duce started making pan on a very voluntary basis to give to schools, making his first donation to Speyside High School.”
Augustine said before his death, Anthony had completed a contract with the Division of Education, Research and Technology to prepare new pans to take to schools.
“We were insistent that coming out of covid19 we have to rebuild pan in our schools in Tobago.”
By next Carnival, he said, the THA expects to resume junior competitions in Tobago.
“Most importantly, we expect our junior bands to feature in the national junior Panorama competition next year.”
In his remarks, Augustine said the THA was well on its way to developing an area at the parade ground which will be known as the Tobago drag.
“This will allow this facility at the parade ground to become more and more a permanent fixture in the cultural landscape of Tobago as our home for pan in Tobago. I think that that’s a major step in the right direction.”
Pan Trinbago president Beverly Ramsey-Moore alluded to the “Tobago drag” in an earlier address, saying the road that was constructed by the THA ahead of the medium band final “will serve as a multi-purpose road so that a number of things can happen there for the people of Tobago.”
Tobago West MP and Minister of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe delivered remarks on behalf Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts Randall Mitchell.