For all those who rightly describe Port of Spain as a city at its tipping point, they are very correct for the wrong reason, namely:Unlike the picture of a city on the verge of self-destruction, as most people see it, this socio-economic hub smack in the South American gateway, is about to take a quantum leap into a whole new way of being for itself and for its people.
What a remarkable challenge this must have presented Mayor Joel Martinez who – having started off on a somewhat uncertain footing three years ago – has now straddled the wild horse of a city on the move to place on record a number of significant achievements such as:
- The official recognition of Port of Spain by the United Nations as a City of Heritage and Culture;
- The twinning of Port of Spain with Shanghai, and the establishment of the appropriate Arcs on Charlotte street to have the area called Chinatown;
- An aggressive drive to give the city a welcoming facelift by engaging in well-planned clean-up initiatives in local and commercial districts; and
- A greatly improved relationship with the business community so that the Council and businessmen seem to be singing from the same hymn-book as regards their concern for the capital city.
In a country where Crime continues to tear away at the fabric of a general peace-loving people committed to positive evolution, Port of Spain stands strong.
Like the ever-loving mother who keeps her arms wide open in readiness to lovingly embrace all her children at the risk of being harmed, this is a city where the haunting rhythms of the steel pan and the Hosay Tassa drums mix with gunshots from the hills.
The front page news splendidly features another TT sports hero bursting out in front of the world pack to grab a gold medal, even as young men of his same age are suspected at home of beating and robbing a Roman Catholic priest.
Policemen expected to enforce the Law are charged for breaking it, and while no one is disputing the possibility of scrap iron exports being used as a cover for illegal shenanigans, those in the know are now curiously protesting government’s passing of legislation to curb the practice.
Even so, people continue to come to the city for a diverse number of reasons including:
- To stage protest against the central government;
- To walk and talk and share drinks, laughter and dance on the busy Ariapita Avenue recreation strip;
- To grab great bargains on Charlotte Street; and
- To take in an international Cricket match at the now jaded Queen’s park Oval.
As Port of Spain puts the cap on its 60th Anniversary of City Day (June 26) therefore, only good things are to be expected from Mayor Martinez and his young army of Council members with energy to burn in their passionate quest to build their city of music, culture and fantastic people.