Residents in the remote village of Parlatuvier, 25 kilometres northeast of Scarborough are now afforded the use of a spanking new $6 million community centre.
The centre overlooking the scenic Caribbean Sea can boost of a large auditorium, a fully equipped computer room, library, kitchen, conference room, a spacious car park and an office for the Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA).
It is one of several community centres being constructed or refurbished and scheduled for commissioning this year. In fact the new John Dial Community Centre will be commissioned at 4.30 p.m. on March 6. Other centres to be either constructed or upgraded are located in Speyside, Lowlands, Betsy’s Hope, Belle Garden, Lambeau, Bon Accord, Mason Hall and Mason Hall.
The Parlatuvier Community Centre was commissioned on Sunday by THA Chief Secretary Orville London and Community Development and Culture Secretary Tracy Davidson-Celestine.
Although the building took four years to plan and construct, villagers on Sunday expressed delight that their dream had come through. The villagers previously used a nearby dilapidated one room structure for meetings. Len Carrington, president of the Parlatuvier Village Council said the dream of a community centre in the village dated back 60 years to the days when Dr Eric Williams was Chief Minister.
He said it was an eight-month project but took 42 months to be completed. “This project had its challenges but it taught me patience and perseverance,” he said. Carrington said the village can boast of having such prominent Tobagonians as its “son of the soil” like former Caricom Secretary General Edward Carrington, THA Chief Secretary Orville London, THA Finance and Enterprise Development Secretary Dr Anselm London and THA Chief Administrator Dr Ellis Burris. Certificates of recognition were presented to all four plus seven other villagers. Eight other awards were presented by community activist Briggette Horsford.
In addressing the packed auditorium Assemblyman for the area Tracy Davidson-Celestine said the building was a testimony of what can be achieved if people worked together and was also a testimony of the commitment of the Orville London administration to provide services for Tobagonians. She also urged the villagers to make full use of the centre and disclosed that soon the nearby fishing jetty and facilities would be refurbished and a play park built for the benefit of villagers and Tobagonians in general.
Chief Secretary London described the building as a catalyst for the development of Northside Tobago and had the potential to develop all of the Northside of the island. He said his administration had given the villagers a first class community centre because they were first class people and urged them to use the facility to make money.
He said there was no reason why once a year villagers could not organise a Parlatuvier Day by inviting former villagers from around the region and the world as a means of promoting tourism. He added that one of the things “we do not capitalise on is making money. You now have an opportunity to make money”.
London said 20 years from now the centre will be a landmark given to the village by this administration headed by Orville London who is from Parlatuvier. “Let us ensure we maximise this opportunity,” he stressed.