Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon, Minister of Trade and Industry, along with other stakeholders from the public and private sectors, attended the launch of the Musical Instruments of Trinidad and Tobago Company Ltd. (MITTCO) on August 11th 2022.
In her Address, Minister Gopee-Scoon stated that: “This venture promises to have a revolutionary impact on our Steelpan industry in terms of scale, quality and availability; and with that comes the opportunity for prosperity for other value chain stakeholders, including a space where large, medium and small producers will thrive side by side.”
The Trade and Industry Minister informed of the Steelpan Manufacturing Grant Fund Facility, launched by the Government in 2020, as a mechanism to stimulate the industry where financial support, up to TT$1M, is available for the acquisition of machinery, equipment, software, tools, raw materials and training. Minister Gopee-Scoon further indicated that as at July 2022, 9 steelpan manufacturers benefitted from funding under the Grant to a value of approximately TT$2.32 Million. Given the success of the Grant, the Government is currently examining a proposal to include assistance for manufacturers of steelpan accessories, as well as participation at local and international trade shows and expansion of market access via listing on online marketplaces and the adoption and use of e-commerce platforms.
The Minister commended Mr Akua Leith who envisaged the factory as the first step of a wider vision to promote the steelpan; as well as John, Robert and Joseph Hadad for their strong belief in and support for the project; and other Directors of MITTCO – Mr Mario Joseph and Mr David Hackett – for all backing the vision which was reinforced by their love for steelpan and their investment in the facility.
First Citizens Bank was also recognised for their key involvement in the undertaking. It was acknowledged that such partnerships and collaborations are needed to advance the country’s economic transformation agenda.