Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 10th 2014 Contents B2
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streets to be exact. I currently live
in El Dorado but I have never severed
my ties to the Nelson Street com-
munity. I still go there almost every-
day, and I still have lifelong friends
from my neighbourhood on Nelson
Growing up in Port-of-Spain was
fun. There were a lot of children in
my neighbourhood and we had a lot
of fun together. There were no bor-
We had friends from Duncan
Street, Mango Rose, Lower Nelson
Street and we visited each other reg-
ularly. During secondary school at St
Francois Girls College in Belmont, I
can recall my house would be the
meeting point for my school friends.
When we went to school bazaars
and other activities in the city, par-
ents would drop my friends to my
parents home and pick them back
up when we returned. My school
friends became the friends of those
people that I was close to in the
Living in Port-of-Spain, most of
the places I needed to go were close
by. Charlotte and Frederick streets
were a stone s throw away for shop-
ping (in earlier times there weren t
any malls and the city was the main
area for shopping).
Some of my fondest memories
about growing up in Port-of-Spain
were when my parents would take
my sister, brothers and me, window
shopping on some evenings---I think
it would have been along Frederick
I would have been just about ten
then. I also remember going to a place
called the Dairies on Phillips Street
for ice-cream. Another fond memory
and an activity that I still do is going
by T&TEC on Park Street corner to
look at the Independence Day parade.
It was a tradition for a lot of families
in the neighbourhood.
Some of us still do it even though
we cannot just "run out the road" to
see it. There are so many more mem-
ories that I can relate but space and
time would not permit.
It s amazing just how much the
city has changed. Though we lived
in the heart of the city, going to town
as we called it then, was not done
every day, it was rather more like a
I can remember stores like Wool-
worth where you just had to get an
ice cream, Glendinnings and
Stephens. These were big department
stores on Frederick Street. Charlotte
Street had smaller stores similar to
some that are there now. Stores did
not have air-conditioning.
There was no street vending on
Charlotte Street in those days. Market
goods were bought on George Street
between Prince and Queen streets.
I also remember going to Marine
Square (now called Independence
Square) to visit friends at the apart-
ments at the corner of Marine Square
and Duncan Street. Those apartment
buildings are still there.
Another beautiful memory about
Port-of-Spain long ago, like in the
70s and 80s, it was pretty safe. The
neighbourhood always had its issues
but it was still safe.
I used to travel to school by myself
from Form Two. There were no fears
of the driver kidnapping you or ban-
dits sticking up the passengers. As a
teenager, when my school friends
gathered at my home to attend activ-
ities in the city, we would normally
walk to where we were going. We
would return to my parents house
by about 7 pm. We could have gone
shopping without fear of having our
On Sundays, a number of us
attended the Holy Trinity Cathedral.
We walked there by ourselves and
dressed in our gold jewelry, to boot.
There was no fear that someone
would steal it from us. In our imme-
diate neighbourhood we could go
outside and play, safely.
I cannot think of an incident when
one of us was hurt by some nefarious
element from in or out of the com-
During school vacations we would
play outside for hours on end. At
dusk you would hear parents start
calling us in one by one. They did
not have to worry that we would be
hurt in any way. We could safely cross
what are now borderlines.
It is really difficult for those of us
who were raised in Port-of-Spain
who remember a once vibrant, beau-
tiful and safe city to now see the
reality of what it has become and
not be saddened by that.
I have been doing as much as
I could in my former commu-
nity to bring back some virtue
to it. Over the years I ve worked
with people from the commu-
nity on various activities with
One initiative was to get the
children together on Saturday
mornings and take them to the
savannah to play under super-
The objective was to encour-
age them to play without quar-
relling and fighting and to help
them to understand that even
though they may disagree there
are other ways to resolve issues.
When I was still a resident I
would assist neighbours chil-
dren with their homework, in
particular those children who
were preparing for the Common
Entrance exam (now SEA).
My parents instilled in me
that a good education was nec-
essary. That value about the
importance of education has
never left me and I try to help
part-time lecturer at Costaatt.
I continue to engage the young
men in the community and
encourage them to stay away from
criminal activity. I try to stay close
to a number of them and in my
own way try to get positive mes-
sages to them. People in the com-
munity would often seek me out
for advice and information on
many matters. I respect them all
and they show me the same.
Within recent times a police
youth club was formed in the
community. Two Fridays ago the
children, led by Sgt Morris and
other parents, had a peace march.
We took the march across the
I am normally called upon, and
always make myself available, to
assist people in the community
with filling out forms, completing
resumes and giving recommen-
I am also the current secre-
tary to the single steelpan band,
City Sun Valley, located on
upper Nelson Street. The band
is managed by Gerard Mendez
and Dane Gulston. The players
are mostly children.
My desire is to see the city
come alive again. Other than
Charlotte Street and some parts
of the Brian Lara Promenade,
after 6 pm, the city is lonely,
I believe that the crime wave
that has engulfed the city, in
particular East Port-of-Spain,
is a major contributor to this.
I would also like to see more
control with street vending and
a cleaner city, and more activ-
ities, such as those that have
occurred for this 100-year
anniversary of Port-of-Spain.
In the meantime I would
continue to tell them how the
city used to be. I would use the
city s history to try to instill
some pride in them and so
encourage them to do the right
I normally tell people in my
Nelson Street neighbourhood
that this is their home, their
community, keep it clean and
have some pride in their neigh-
I always say that ghetto is
not a place but a state of mind.
Another look at a changed city
I used to travel to school by myself from Form Two. There were no fears
of the driver kidnapping you or bandits sticking up the passengers. As a
teenager, when my school friends gathered at my home to attend
activities in the city, we would normally walk to where we were going.
Continued from Page B1
It's amazing just how much the city has changed.
Though we lived in the heart of the city, going to
town as we called it then, was not done every day,
it was rather more like a treat. I can remember
stores like Woolworth where you just had to get an
ice cream, Glendinnings and Stephens. These were
big department stores on Frederick Street.
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