Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 16th 2013 Contents B2
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, September 16, 2013
From Page B1
Copper master Ken Morris s home
and old workshop were also open
to the group, as his son Glendon
Morris entertained questions about
the importance of preservation.
"During the years, everybody
has been telling me don t break
down the building. I have to restore
it. It has a lot of history."
Surrounded by old Carnival
relics and a cluttered work desk
in his garage, where he is currently
building the coat of arms for T&T s
embassy in China, Morris said the
grey, wooden house, which rests
on slabs of concrete, was about
135 years old.
He said it had the potential to
be a mini-museum, as already
tourists would pass by to see where
the original metalwork for Carnival
Can cultural tourism
While the old-time architecture is
beautiful and the call for its
restoration and conservation is valid,
the question of whether people would
pay for an organised tour of Belmont
Independent fundraising consultant
Joanne Butcher said, "Absolutely."
She said cultural tourists spend
more time and money in an area, and
so it was wise for the country to
invest in making Belmont open and
available to them in an organised way.
"Not everyone wants to go lie on
the beach," she said vehemently.
Butcher, from Miami, has worked
on the development of Miami Beach
to make it much more than a party
She said research showed the value
of art, heritage, culture and cuisine as
being beneficial to the county's
economy. She cited statistics too,
saying Miami-Dade county's arts and
cultural industry makes about US$922
million every year, based on a study
completed by the county's
Department of Cultural Affairs.
Butcher, who was visiting family for
a few days and was a part of the tour
group, said cultural tourists were not
interested in commercial shopping
malls or chain stores, and looked
forward to making connections to
places they visited, which would bode
well for their possible return.
"Cultural tourists want to go to a
country and have a real experience.
They will stay for four to five days.
And because of the local culture
attachment, they would be more likely
to come back."
She said tourists who have no
family roots in a country would not
know where to visit unless guided.
"Without direction where would
they go? Around the Queen's Park
Savannah and what? Have TGIF?"
One stop along the three-hour tour
that stood out to Butcher was a visit
to the Rada compound and cemetery
along Antoine Lane. Rada is a West
African religion from Dahomey, now
called Benin. It is a closed compound
where annual ceremonies two weeks
before Carnival occur, replete with
traditional drumming, chanting and
She said: "I had never heard about
that before. And I bought the book
that was available to learn more. And
that's exactly what I am talking
Scantlebury sold copies of A Rada
Community in Trinidad by Andrew
Carr to interested guests.
Morris said it was plain to see that
Belmont had a rich past, and he
supported any move to immortalise
"Belmont is almost a forgotten city,
but it could be something more.
Did you know
The country's first President Sir
Ellis Clarke was born in Belmont.
Belmont was included in the
Port-of-Spain Borough in 1899.
It was the first area in Trinidad to
be populated by former African slaves,
who had worked the cocoa and coffee
estates in the area. Because of this,
Belmont used to be known as
Belmont Valley Road is
commonly shortened by most
residents to just "Valley Road." In
other words, people will know you're
from out of town if you say the
The Rada community, which
practised the religion of the
Dahomean people, settled in Valley
Road in 1868. The community still
exists, though it is much smaller. The
majority of the community has
migrated to Canada.
Abojevi Zahwenu, popularly known
as Papa Nanee, the Dahomean man
who started the Rada community,
came to Trinidad as a liberated African,
but was held to be made a slave. He
was freed and taken to Freetown. He
then bought the land in Valley Road
and developed the compound.
Calypsonian Daniel Brown, aka
Trinidad Rio, musician Roy Cape, and
the boxer Gentle Daniel, were raised in
the Belmont Orphanage, also known
as the St Dominic's Home.
Calypsonians David Rudder and
The Mighty Shadow were born in
Valuing art and culture
Copper master Ken Morris's son Glendon entertains questions about the importance of preservation of the
masman's home and old workshop at Belmont Circular Road, Belmont.
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