Diego Martin South Community Centre
o Dr. the Honourable Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and Member of Parliament for Diego Martin West
o The Honourable Symon De Nobriga, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Member of Parliament for Diego Martin Central
o Mr. Sigler Jack, Chairman of the Diego Martin Regional Corporation
o Ms. Susan Corbett, Director of the Community Development Division and other staff of the Ministry of Sport and Community Development
o Tamica Charles- Phillips Chief Executive Officer of the UdeCOTT and other staff members of UdeCOTT
o Akeilah Glasgow Councillor of Diego Martin West
o Ms. Amber Caines, Councillor for Glenco/Goodwood/La Puerta
o Ms Donna Lewis, President of the Diego Martin South Village Council and other members of the council
o Genevieve Bernard, President of the National Association of Village and Community Councils
o Special Awardees
o Specially invited guests
o Members of Diego Martin South community and environs
o Members of the Media
o Ladies and Gentlemen
It is indeed a pleasure and privilege to celebrate with you this afternoon as we open the doors to your spanking new community centre.
Look at her, …. Square feet of brilliance and beauty. A tribute to the residents of Diego Martin who have gone before us, and an investment in those who are here, and generations to come.
This facility replaces the old structure which was built in 1960, which had only a ……..This new edifice boasts of ……,
Talk about delivering to the people what they truly deserve.
I am pleased that when we first entered office in 2015 we made a conscious and deliberate decision to place specific focus on investing in the people of this nation, despite the ….. of our financial situation. Whether through social support, access to education, opportunities through business and sport, the focus had been and continues to be on the holistic development of every citizen, creating opportunities for personal and professional growth, strengthening families, rebuilding and restoring every nook and cranny of this this country, community by community.
Spanking new hospital in Roxborough, New sporting complex in Moruga, world class sporting facility in Mahaica, Airport expansion in Crown point Tobago, new hospital in Arima, Diego martin regional sporting complex right around the corner. Despite our financial challenges we continue to plan, we continue to invest, we continue to build, and we continue to deliver. Not for ourselves, but for you, our most valuable resource the people of Trinidad and Tobago, and more importantly to generations to come. Good and getting better, this government is on a roll, and covid or no covid or business is to deliver…so when we come out on the other side we will be better poised and more firmly positioned to lead the charge and take our rightful place among the Caribbean group of nations.
So today, I stand before you beaming with pride as we deliver community centre number 45.
Community Centres are sought out by every Member of Parliament, community activist, village council, all lobbying a communal space.
Community Centres continue to be an essential focal point for residents to meet, plan, advocate and implement projects, programmes, and initiatives in the interest of the community. They play a critical role in keeping residents informed, giving them the opportunity to participate in and influence the decision making process, and contribute to matters relating to their self-determination and government.
We use community centres to host programmes in capacity-building, and skills development towards improving the socioeconomic status of residents. These centres are little engine rooms for innovation, entrepreneurship, education and unification. Community Centres serve as hubs that provide access to government resources and they often serve as Emergency Relief Shelters for many distressed families in times of disaster.
The Government of Trinidad and Tobago believes that an investment such as the one is essential for the continued growth and development of Diego Martin and environs. This year we also opened community centres in Bagatelle, Petit Valley, and Diego Martin Central opening a pathway for progress to all residents of these areas and neighbouring communities. This speaks to our commitment to putting people first.
Through this centre, the immediate communities like Four Roads, Morne Coco, and La Puerta will be served. Neighbouring communities such as Powder Magazine and North Diego Martin can also access and utilize these facilities. Diego Martin is good and getting better. These four newly constructed centres, coupled with other infrastructural projects like the Health Centre, and Sporting Complex, will only enhance the living standards of residents. This is part and parcel of the Government’s vision and plan for Trinidad and Tobago, an investment in our people, ensuring systems, programmes and infrastructure that will nurture and foster their sustainable development. It is about putting our people first.
These buildings are more than brick and mortar. They represent dreams, opportunities, and the true potential of the Diego Martin South Community. This physical space can provide tangible and intangible benefits to all who come through those doors, and it is crucial that you, all of you, present here today, recognize its value and seize the opportunities that are before you. Diego Martin South, it is your turn now.
It is your turn to have a space that you can call your own to host meetings, recreational activities, and training programmes. Your doors have been closed since 2016, so it is time to reopen them. It is your turn to bring your young people and your not so young people together to transfer knowledge and information, and under our current situation, the knowledge transfer goes both ways. Here is where bonds are formed, skills are sharpened, marriages are celebrated, conflicts are resolved, and lessons are learned. Here is where communities are sustained, and our heritage is preserved.
At the Ministry of Sport and Community Development, we have seen how communal spaces have helped to transform communities and bring the best in our people, all over the country. Between 2016-2019, we had seventy-three thousand, nine hundred and sixteen (73,916) persons completing the Community Education Programme classes at community centres throughout Trinidad. At the North Diego Martin, Central Diego Martin, Trou Macaque, Talparo, Belle Vue Community Centres, to name a few, there have been courses in Ethnic Garment Construction, Food Preparation, Bread Cakes and Pastries, Upholstery, Mixology, Plumbing, East Indian Cuisine, Chinese Cuisine, Computer Literacy to name a few.
Between 2015 to date, we had over two hundred (200) Best Village groups participating in the Prime Minister’s Best Village Trophy competition, who honed their skills at community centres. The community centres have been their training ground and continue to been driving force behind the spirit and energy of our people, and the growth and vitality of our communities.
Carenage homework centre ict…
Skills training, entrepreneurship programme, classes for elderly, life skills for athletes, community green and craft market….entrepreneurship
Like many other centres, this one is managed by your dedicated Community Council. I must commend your Village Council, who has still executed many activities, including hamper distributions, Christmas treats, and Sports Days despite the absence of a centre. I am advised that they are anxiously awaiting the handover today to get their Annual Senior Citizens’ Dinner and After-school / Home-work operations plans going. I wish more community councils will take a page out of your book. Far too often communities cry out for a centre, then when delivered spend the bulk of the time fighting for key holding responsibilities… You have a right to communal space, you also have a responsibility to use it. Use it wisely (as an engine room for true growth and development of your community)…serve all (ages, backgrounds through your programmes)… act responsibly (lights, bills etc)…
There are so many opportunities to be derived from this communal space. We know that Diego Martin South’s landscape has now been enriched with this beautiful centre, standing as a powerful community development symbol. The village council now has an impressive new home to pursue its mandate to bring the community together and work towards the greater good.
Today, as we entrust this centre to you, we hope you will take good care of it. As you look around at this centre, it is undoubtedly one of the most stunningly designed, spacious, and modern centres. Therefore, it falls on you, the community of Diego Martin South, to be guardians of your centre, to ensure that it is properly maintained. I ask those who will be managing this space to be environmentally conscious and conserve energy and water, introduce recycling measures, and insist that those who use it do the same. I challenge you to protect this new centre so that it can be passed down from generation to generation.
I take this opportunity to thank all those who have worked on this project; the staff at the Ministry of Sport and Community Development and all units involved, UdeCOTT, the contractors Surface Gauge Engineering Ltd, De Freitas Maintenance Company Limited, West Indian Logistics Limited, Bynoe, Rowe, Wiltshire Partnership, F & P Electrical Contractors, Fire & Life/ Safety Solutions and Caribbean Facilities Corporation Limited, and everyone involved in making these centres happen.
To everyone here, we thank you for your efforts, we thank you for your patience, and we look forward to what this centre will bring to community development in Diego Martin South.
Thank you, and May God Bless our Nation.