Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 3rd 2014 Contents A28
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt August 3, 2014
entrance. We need more security,"
The last administration awarded
a contract to dismantle the factory.
The sugar industry was shut down
by the PNM administration in 2003.
Former prime minister Patrick
Manning reportedly said working in
the sugar cane fields was demean-
The People s Partnership Govern-
ment stopped the dismantling of the
factory when it came into power in
2010 after the idea to create the her-
itage site was germinated.
But, according to a sugar village
Web site, the factory remains listed
"It s going to cost millions to
restore that," Muradali said.
After three years of painstaking
efforts, significant strides have been
made in the $16 million project.
Sevilla House, once the home of
Capt Watson who managed the estate
after the English company Tate &
Lyle bought it over in 1937, has been
refurbished and is ready to house the
Thousands of documents dating
back 100 years irreverently flung all
over the place in sugar estates were
collected and are being cleaned by
full-time staff for the archives cen-
tre.Boxes of cleaned documents sorted
and boxed by Caribbean archivists
hired for the job are piled to the ceil-
ing in a room in the refurbished
Caroni Ltd clinic, site of the archive s
But there is no museologist to
organise the museum.
"We have the building ready and
artefacts to fill the place and no one
to organise it. We do not have a
museologist in Trinidad," historian
Prof Brinsley Samaroo said.
"For two years we have been asking
the Indian government to send a
museologist. They have not been of
The sugar industry began in 1783
and after slavery ended, the colonial
government brought indentured Indi-
an immigrants to work on the estates.
"We are negotiating with the
Cubans. Their response is warm,"
said Samaroo, a member of the
There are documents tracing the
start of the Usine Sugar Company
in 1834, and from the Brechin Castle
factory in 1937.
"They were throwing away thou-
sands of photographs of all aspects
of the sugar industry," Samaroo said.
Two workers from the Ministry
of National Diversity and Social Inte-
gration, Andrea Balkaran and Alicia
Soonachan, and On-the-Job-Training
employees were removing staples
and cleaning old, mouldy documents.
"We found an old Tate & Lyle file
dating back to 1913 listing people
working in the factory," Balkaran said.
In neat handwriting in large old
books were the 1946 labourers pay
lists of Esperanza Factory.
Cane carriers, listed by name,
earned $2.50 an hour.
Samaroo said Sevilla House was
being restored to its former glory.
Its jalousie windows, ancient met-
alwork and hand-carved wood ceil-
ings are all intact, including old-style
Watson s prayer room, which has
a cross on the outside wall, remains
with its empty alcoves.
Sevilla Club is being renovated and
$6 million has already been spent on
this alone. Works include expanding
the swimming pool and the golf
course from nine to 18 holes.
"It will not be an elite thing. It
will be for all," Samaroo assured in
response to questions.
Three green ponds, each two acres,
surrounded by bamboo and bush lay
serene on the Sevilla compound.
Plans to convert it into a fun park
have not yet materialised.
"Right now, it s a breeding ground
for mosquitoes and caimans,"
But this is no deterrent for people
sneaking into the compound to lime
and fish at the site.
There are plans to construct
ajoupas with mud walls and thatched
roofs where African, Indian and Chi-
nese labourers lived on the old sugar
The Government is the main sup-
porter and funder of the Tourism
Ministry-led project, Samaroo said.
Different ministries have been
asked to oversee and fund different
parts of the project.
"The Government envisages it to
be a major tourist attraction.
"Pricewaterhouse has been
engaged to develop a master plan."
The Sugar Heritage Village and
Museum spreads over 520 acres of
former Caroni Ltd land and concern
was expressed that if a new political
administration assumes power in
2015, it will scrap the project.
Plans are afoot to have the com-
missioner of state lands vest the area
as protected under the Sugar Heritage
Village and Museum.
Refurbished Sevilla House
waiting to be converted
into a sugar museum.
Continues from Page A27
Prof Brinsley Samaroo
It will not be an elite thing, it will be for all
$6m and counting to renovate Sevilla Club....
Former Caroni Ltd manager Afzal Muradali poses next to an old cutlass
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