Based on the recently passed Miscellaneous Provisions (Law Enforcement Officers) Bill, a report headlined “Don’t bribe law enforcement officers” appeared in the Express on Tuesday.

The report indicated the Government is giving consideration to “putting up signs in the necessary places warning people that if they bribe or obstruct law enforcement officers in the conduct of their duties, new and stiffer penalties will apply”.

Signs that embolden national pride and encourage national camaraderie should not be overlooked. Imagine the following: panyards, eg, Exodus, Skiffle Bunch, All Stars, Buccooneers, etc, in Trinidad and Tobago being outfitted with a locally designed sign—uniform in character—boldly embossed with the date and name of the parliamentary act that recognised pan as being our national musical instrument.

The positive societal benefits of pan and its impact on the latent musical talents of our youth are immeasurable. It should be recognised as our preferred instrument for musical education, entertainment and relaxation. The instrument has found its way into many universities in North America, thanks to those pan pioneers who recognised its intrinsic musical value. China is its new frontier!

It is the only definite-pitch acoustic percussion instrument invented in the 20th century! It can be played in a solo capacity, as an accompanying instrument or as a body of instruments that can interpret all genres of music.

By branding pan as our legally recognised national musical instrument, the appellation Trinidad and Tobago will be universally recognised as its birthplace.

The possibility of earning royalties through WIPO would be greatly increased. Very recently, Port of Spain was designated a UNESCO Music City, thanks to the efforts of Carla Foderingham, and opportunities will present themselves to market our tremendous musical inventiveness and talents.

Signs in panyards identifying pan as being our national musical instrument will usher another phase in the overall development, appreciation and respect for this national treasure which must be identified as such.

Call it a Christmas 2019 or a Carnival 2020 gift! Now is the time to elevate pan to the same legal status—via an act of Parliament—as the National Steel Orchestra, Pan Trinbago, the National Flag and the National Anthem, all of which were preceded by pan!

Henry Harper

Petit Valley

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