Feature Address by Dr. the Honourable Nyan Gadsby-Dolly at the Re-dedication of the Chickland Community Centre

  • Dr. Bhoendradatt Tewarie, Member of Parliament, Caroni Central
  • Mrs. Angela Edwards, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts
  • Ms. Gwyneth Alexander, Deputy Director, Community Development Division, Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts and other members of staff of the Ministry
  • Mr. Chris Jagroop, Chief Executive Officer of UdeCott and other members of board and staff of UdeCott
  • Mr. Premnath Samlal, Supervisor II
  • Ms. Mrytle Richards, Secretary of the Chickland Village Council and other members of the Village Council
  • Residents of the Chickland Community
  • Specially Invited Guests
  • Members of the Media
  • Ladies and gentlemen
  • Children

Good afternoon

“A noble purpose inspires sacrifice, stimulates innovation and encourages perseverance” (Gary Hamel). Today, is a day of celebration. I celebrate with you the community of Chickland and also the people of our beautiful nation the opening of this centre.

A glimpse into the history of this area as well said by the secretary of the village council, shows the innovation and determination and the commitment of a group of spirited individuals who poured their hearts and souls given extremely hard work to ensure the development and betterment of the Chickland community. From a 20 x 25 bamboo structure with a galvanize roof to a partly concrete and wooden building, today, we proudly sit in this beautifully designed two-storey structure we can all be extremely proud of.

As we open this site we must remember those who brought us to this moment. The secretary offered gratitude for a much desired community centre. Given the time and the challenges you had to overcome, your gratitude is much appreciated. We celebrate your joy today. I would also like to thank the team at the Ministry, our project unit, UDECOTT, the contractor Ramdhan Engineering Project Management & Consultancy Ltd., our legal unit, our Permanent Secretary, every division of the Ministry is always involved in the opening of any community centre. We sit together and note where we have gotten to in terms of constructions and each week we look forward to when another centre can be crossed off our list.

This is our 32nd community centre since 2015 and to the team at the Ministry, I want to give my heartfelt congratulations. We have invested as a country, eleven million, four hundred and sixty thousand, two hundred and seventy-nine dollars and thirty-eight cents ($11,460,279.38) in this community centre; and though some may look at the money that was invested, I can assure you that the value of this centre to the residents of Chickland will be much, much, much more. This beautiful facility is outfitted with:

  • A Training Kitchen
  • Computer Room
  •  Auditorium with a stage
  •  Dressing Rooms Male & Female
  • Servery
  • Audio Visual Room
  • Office
  • Security Booth
  •  Washroom
  •  Gym
  • Air-conditioning in limited areas
  • Handicap Access
  • And Green Building Features.

A really long way from the 20×25 bamboo with a galvanize roof. In the upcoming months we are set to open 13 other community centres throughout Trinidad.  As a Ministry we are working tirelessly, with our eyes set on the goal for building resilient communities, our ears opened to the voices of all and our hearts committed to connecting communities through a shared space. A community centres symbolizes the commitment of the government to the people of the community. Today, the people of Chickland are in star focus.

This community centre gives you the opportunity to focus your community to come together and to enhance the quality of life for all members of your community. I want you to continue to inspire the people who live and work here to continue your responsible community. To continue empowering all members through participating in of course the CEP classes of the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts and we saw firsthand today your participation in the Prime Minister’s Best Village Trophy Competition and what it brought, the excellence of the dance and I think that we should give them another round of applause. This centre gives you access to every programme that is hinged on community development offered by the Ministry and other ministries of the government.  As you participate in all of these programmes I want to encourage you to create the opportunities for your young people, your older people and everyone in your community to enjoy this space in a positive way.  Your member of parliament spoke about access for all and ensuring that everyone feels apart of this centre and that is the ultimate goal. If anyone feels marginalized, if anyone feels as though this centre is not for them to use then we would have been failing in our responsibility. So to the village council, I encourage you to ensure and the Ministry will be right there to hold your hands so that we ensure that this centre is well kept, well maintained and it suits the needs of all in the Chickland community.

To all the community-pillars I say thank you for your vision, passion, dedication and tenacity. You have done a lot without a community centre with all of these features in your community and to whom much is given, much is expected. If you did so much without this facility then I will love to see what Chickland is able to do now that you have a facility such as this which is the pride and envy of many other communities right here in Chickland.

As I close, I thank you all for your continued support, enthusiasm, dedication and passion for your community and remember that this centre has to be around for the next 50 years and more than that to keep serving this Chickland community. We hand this centre over to you with love and we hope you will treat it the same way we handed it over to you with love and joy and ensuring that it is around for many, many years to come.

God bless you.

Thank you.