Formal Opening Ceremony of the Chickland Community Centre on Saturday 5th October, 2019

  • Dr. Bhoendradatt Tewarie, Member of Parliament, Caroni Central
  • Mrs. Angela Edwards, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts
  • Mr. Henry Awong, Chairman of the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation
  • Councillor Anil Baliram for Freeport/Chickland
  • Ms. Gwyneth Alexander, Deputy Director, Community Development Division, Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts
  • Other Heads of Division and members of staff of the Ministry
  • Mr. Chris Jaroop, Acting CEO of UdeCott and other members of board and staff of UdeCott
  • Ms. Roselyn Babb, President 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 community centre.

A glimpse into the history of this area as well said by the secretary of the Chickland Village council shows the innovation, determination and commitment of a group of spirited individuals who poured their hearts and souls giving extremely hard work to ensure the development and the 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 which we can all be extremely proud of.

As we open this site, we must remember those who have brought us to this moment. The secretary offered her gratitude for a much desired community centre. Given the time and the challenges you had to overcome, your gratitude is much appreciated. We celebrate in your joy today. I would also like to thank the team of the Community Development Division, 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 turning out any community centre. We sit together, we note together where we have gotten to in terms of construction 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 resident of Chickland will be much, much, much more. This beautiful facility is outfitted with:

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

A really long way from the 20 x 25 bamboo structure 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 goals of 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 is in star focus. This community centre gives you the opportunity to focus your community to come together 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 the CEP classes of the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, 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 want to give them another rounds of applause. This centre gives you access to every programme that is hinged on community development offered by the Ministry and other ministries by the government. And 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 a space in a positive way.  Your MP 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 that the Ministry will be right there to hold your hands so that we ensure that this centre is well kept and well maintained to suit 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. Whom much is given, much is expected. So if you did so much without this facility, then I would 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 for your continuous 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 the Chickland community. We hand over to you with love and we know that you will treat it the same way, we have handed it over to you with love, joy and ensuring that it is around for many, many, many years to come.

God bless you.

Thank you.