Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 13th 2015 Contents A22
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, August 13, 2015
WITH GENERAL ELECTIONS JUST A FEW WEEKS AWAY
says enough run-around
TIME is of the essence - ALL hands on deck
Mass Policyholders Meeting
Sunday August 16th 2015
The UWI Teaching & Learning Centre
Circular Road, St. Augustine
(1) Update on talks with the PP Gov t re: payment of the BALANCE due
and payable to the more than 15,000 CLICO policyholders
who were to accept
Govt ZERO-interest bonds over 20 years.
(2) To decide on S
(and by extension our FAMILIES)
are NOT ROBBED of our just due.
Your last opportunity to show that collectively we mean business!
Please email us at email@example.com or text 749-6325
to confirm your attendance
From left, Justin Thomas, Michael Cooper and Jefferson Foote.
Discussions on the fortunes of the
pan industry have served to lift the
lid on an economic sub-sector both
in sharp decline and in need of fresh
injections of entrepreneurship, cap-
ital, training and new ideas.
In the view of development expert
Dr Keith Nurse, "this is an industry
that s in trouble."
He cited dramatic declines in the
export of percussion instruments
comprising mainly steelpans and
accessories such as cases and stands
bound for both regional and inter-
Such instruments accounted for 82
per cent of exports of all "music com-
modities" from T&T between 2009
The sobering verdict came during
one session of the recent International
Conference on Pan (ICP) which looked
at the role of the pan in economic
and industrial development.
Pan manufacturer Michael Cooper
spoke of an inability to perform on
the big commercial stage, citing one
instance in which an order for 40,000
mini pans had been turned down on
account of capacity issues.
He said pan tuners were "the most
critical element" of the process but
were not always available.
"It will be an embarrassment if we
opted for major commercial markets
(for pan)," he concluded.
Accountant/pan player, Justin
Thomas, said it was important for
steelbands to become "self-sustain-
ing" and to move away from what
was considered to be "normal" for
the sector as a growth centre for eco-
Dr Nurse s view is that the trade
perspective on the pan economy relies
on the viable existence of the main
planks of manufacturing, services,
intellectual property and branding.
He said an examination of the sta-
tistics in just one area, manufacturing
for export, provided an important
During the period 2009-2013, there
had been a two-thirds cut in exports
of instruments and accessories to all
markets which represented a halving
of products bound for Europe while
sales to the Caribbean Community
"plummeted" by as much as 80 per
cent to 90 per cent.
He said the decline in exports to
important European markets was
"catastrophic" and had occurred even
though T&T and the Caribbean had
signed on to the Economic Partner-
ship Agreement (EPA) with Europe
which ought to have opened up new
opportunities for exports from the
Dr Nurse said the industry profile
for pan showed that up to 80 per cent
of the resources for production were
generated by creative industry oper-
ators themselves with smaller con-
tributions from grants and loans.
This, he said, meant that industry
players remained small and unable to
respond beyond minimum levels of
He said the area of "pan services"
had always promised much and
included areas such as pan tours, tun-
ing, arranging, pan tourism, recordings
and pan schools. However, according
to the creative industries expert, the
country has been "talking about this
for a long time...but has done very
little about it."
UK-based Thomas argued that "the
norms" associated with funding and
competition needed to be challenged.
"The norm in the pan movement is
one of its biggest obstacles," he said.
He said there needed to be a change
in "management style" and a notion
of "eat a food" which translated into
working together to "eat a food
This meant, Thomas said, that new
approaches to the supply of services
in the sector are needed. He said this
can make a difference in converting
the profile of the country s trade in
He said the pan industry accounted
for 2.8 per cent of the country s trade
in services in the creative sector in
"The sector needs the right
start...the right governance," he said.
Thomas said there were strong
arguments in favour of sourcing new
revenues streams through branding,
franchises, procurement and invest-
ments in land and government bonds.
He asked, for example, why Pan
Trinbago did not have a t-shirt man-
ufacturing business to take up the
orders of the scores of band compet-
ing in annual Panorama competitions.
He also said the transport of pans
at competition time raised the issue
of an investment in trucks and equip-
ment which can generate revenue at
other times of the year.
US academic Dr Jefferson Foote,
who reported on his father, Nelson
Foote s theory of development and
the place of pan, described pan and
steelbands as "a model of develop-
ment" that makes use of a product
that, prior to the early 20th century,
"never existed before."
He said its uniqueness and its asso-
ciation with T&T made it an entirely
viable contributor to the development
The challenge appears to be with
converting a vast variety of ideas into
bankable economic pursuits. Until
then, pan as an industry seems set
to remain in danger.
Pan in danger
Experts at international conference:
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