Matthew calls for urgent attention to address dilapidated Antigua Pan Lab

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

Antigua and Barbuda Vows to Revitalize Pan Lab Amidst Cultural Renaissance

Culture Minister Daryll Matthew expressed his disappointment with the current state of the Pan Lab in Antigua and Barbuda, pledging to refurbish the facility by the end of fiscal year 2024.

Minister Matthew highlighted the soaring popularity of pan music in the nation, permeating churches, schools, and even rivaling the national Panorama at Carnival.

However, he drew attention to the dilapidated condition of the pan lab, a critical hub for the preservation and advancement of the vibrant steel pan culture.

“I’ll call out my government here a little bit for an area of disappointment that I have, and that is where the pan lab is concerned,” remarked Minister Matthew. “Our pan deserve it. Antigua and Barbuda have some of the best panists and pan builders in the Caribbean.”

The Culture Minister specifically acknowledged the contributions of renowned pan builder Varon Henry, who has crafted steel pans for artists across the Caribbean, including those in Trinidad and Tobago.

Minister Matthew emphasized the urgent need to secure the legacy of pan music in Antigua and Barbuda by ensuring the proper facilities for the art of building and tuning pans.

“We have emerged as a pan jurisdiction, a place of excellence for steel pan,” stated Minister Matthew. “It’s a travesty that we do not have a proper pan lab where the art of building and tuning pans can really be passed on to generations.”

In his commitment before the Parliament, Minister Matthew addressed the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance, asserting, “Before the end of fiscal year 2024, we will have a fully refurbished pan lab.”

He urged the government to allocate resources to revitalize the facility, safeguarding the future of pan music in the nation.

Minister Matthew further stressed the importance of creating mechanisms and systems to ensure the continuity of the craft, especially considering the invaluable contributions of figures like Varon Henry and the director of culture who has worked extensively with Panorama and bands in Trinidad and Tobago.

“I dread the day if, God forbid, anything happens to Varon and his team. Pan music in Antigua and Barbuda will be falling into the grave,” warned Minister Matthew. “We need to ensure that we put the mechanisms and the systems and the facilities in place to carry on that craft.”

The commitment made by Minister Daryll Matthew reflects the government’s dedication to preserving and nurturing the rich cultural heritage of pan music in Antigua and Barbuda, signaling a new chapter in the nation’s artistic legacy.

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