(Trinidad Guardian) Professor Liam Teague said T&T has only scratched the surface in discovering the potential of the national instrument the steelband. Teague, one of the three recipients of the 2014 Anthony N Sabga Caribbean Awards for Excellence, said it was miraculous that pan pioneers had been able to work against the odds to make the pan a legitimate instrument. He said he was committed to taking the instrument to higher levels in whatever way he can.
The T&T pannist received the award for his work in the field of arts and letter. The other recipients were Karen de Souza from Guyana for public and civic contributions and director of the UWI’s Seismic Research Unit at St Augustine, Dr Richard Robertson, of St Vincent and the Grenadines.
The awards were presented during a special function at UTC Theatre 1, National Academy for the Performing Arts, Port-of-Spain on Saturday evening. Among those in the audience were Finance and the Economy Minister Larry Howai and A Norman Sabga, group chairman and CEO of the Ansa McAL Group of Companies.
Teague, a professor of Music at Northern Illinois University, arranges for bands in the national Panorama competition. He is a recipient of the Humming Bird Medal (Silver) and has promoted the steelpan internationally, collaborating with internationally renowned composers to compose music for the instrument.
De Souza is co-founder of the advocacy organisation Red Thread which supports victims of rape, domestic and other violence among the lowest-waged sectors of women in Guyana. She is a pioneer in public education, having scripted and produced videos and drama on domestic violence and sexual abuse. Robertson, after receiving his award said there was need for greater support from Government for the work of the UWI Seismic Research centre.
He said the time had come for those in authority to build resilience to natural hazards in the region. “We need help to support applied research that is relevant and can provide significant impact on our national and regional agenda,” he said.
Robertson said the UWI Seismic Research Centre “will like to move away from simply monitoring, data collection and research to the creation of useful tools that policy maker, planners can apply to guarantee that development is sustained as desired.” He said knowledge about hazards is not kept among the scientific community but disseminated to a wide range of stakeholders.
Chairman of the Regional Eminent Persons Selection panel, former Independent Senator Michael Mansoor, said it appears that “our leaders have abandoned the possibilities of regional integration” as they are “yet to articulate and introduce appropriate responses to bend the adverse currents that affect us”. Among the challenges which affect the region, Mansoor said were uncertainties about the future, globalisation and the lingering effects of the global recession.
Mansoor said the work of the laureates is critically important to the creation of a Caribbean space and development and advancement of every Caribbean citizen.