Sod-turning Ceremony for the Surrey Community Centre
Ministry of Sport and Community Development
Sod-turning Ceremony for the Surrey Community Centre
Friday 20th November, 2020
The Honourable Shamfa Cudjoe
Minister of Sport and Community Development and Member of Parliament for Tobago West
- The Honourable Marvin Gonzales, Minister of Public Utilities and Member of Parliament for Lopinot/Bon Air West
- Councilor Dwayne Mora
- Tamica Charles-Phillips, Acting Chief Executive Officer, UdeCOTT and other staff members
- Susan Corbett, Director of Community Development and other staff from the Ministry of Sport and Community Development
- President of the Surrey Village Community Council and other members of the Council
- Specially Invited Guests
- Special mention must be made of Mr. Amrit Samario, multi-talented, award-winning steel orchestra Panorama music arranger, songwriter, performing artist, producer and educator, and the Samaroo family who were a part of the opening of the first Surrey Village Community Centre in 1973
- Members of the Media
- Ladies and gentlemen
It is a pleasure to be here today as we mark the start of a new centre in Surrey Village, Lopinot. The history of your old centre, which was officially opened on March 19, 1973, is not lost and should be preserved as we move forward. Your previous centre served you quite well. It was the home of your Youth Steel Band, FC Supernovas, who was sponsored by First Citizens. In a similar fashion to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, First Citizens Bank recognizes the value of investing in the youth and its impact in building communities. I know that given the state of disrepair, the Ministry has not hosted any programmes here for quite some time, but that will change soon with the reopening of a modernised and newly refurbished centre.
Community centres are deeply rooted in our country’s DNA, dating back to our late and first Prime Minister Dr. Eric Eustace Williams, who opened the doors to the first Community Centres in the 1960s. Community development played an important part in what he saw as our national development; community centres meant community development.
Today, the turning of the sod for the construction of the New Surrey Village Community Centre symbolizes the unfolding of an architectural framework for communal life, an embodiment of our commitment to bring a community together through a shared space. It represents the Government, through the Ministry of Sport and Community Development, saying to you, we have marked the spot, we are making the investment, and we are moving forward to deliver this centre to the people of the Lopinot community.
This project represents the Government’s investment of over 11 million dollars in the people of Surrey Village and environs. The new 7,866 square-foot community centre’s construction on approximately 15,746 square feet is expected to be completed in 2021. This new state-of-the-art two storey community centre will include:
- Community Gym, a Teaching Kitchen, Classrooms and
- Computer Lab
- Multi-Purpose Hall
- Library services
- lighting and sound system for the auditorium
- A Security System as well as upgradable Wi-Fi capabilities.
- Staff Office
- Record/ Storage areas
- Washroom Facilities
- Laundry area
- an elevator
- Security Booth
- A clearly defined and controlled perimeter (fencing andgates); and a
- Secured parking area
Since 2015, the Government has embarked on an aggressive drive to construct and refurbish community centres, providing you with the platform to meet, plan, network, influence and participate in decision making and national development. The purpose of these centres is to promote the meeting of the minds, sharing of ideas, transfer of knowledge, honing of talents and sharpening of skills. The Community Centre is a vital organ in the community. It is the engine room. It is where the true spirit and energy of the community comes alive. It is where true development happens.
To date, we have built 45 community centres and have provided upgrades to over 57 community centres at a total cost of just under 148 million dollars. We understand the importance of community centres in advancing sustainable development and the inherent opportunities for this centre to improve the community’s quality of life.
Whether through the Ministry’s community education programme classes, organizational development sessions, courses in sport administration, community sport tournaments, practice sessions for the Prime Minister’s Best Village Trophy Competition, community meetings, weddings, and so much more, your community centre will serve you. This new centre can also be the site to host neighbouring communities to your Community Development Day Celebrations, an event with the potential to boost local tourism in the community. It can serve as a hub where the community’s history and heritage can be shared and preserved, as well as a hub for tours to the historical sites and to explore the flora and fauna of Lopinot.
Whether big or small, a community centre provides countless opportunities for sustainable growth and transformation. We know that the new Surrey Village community centre will be a place for all to experience the transformation that will come. Whether through increased entrepreneurial prospects or improved community cohesion, this modern facility will catalyze the change you want for yourself. The Government’s role is to support. I, however, challenge you not to let this transformation enhance the uniqueness and charm of this beautiful community.
I look forward to returning to open the centre and celebrating that milestone with you officially.
May God bless you all, and may God bless our Nation.