$12m Maitagual community centre opens

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

(centre) Minister of Sports and Community Developmen Shamfa Cudjoe and Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh unveil the plaque during the opening of the Maitagual Community Centre, Bushe Street in San Juan. -Photo by Roger Jacob

THE COMMUNITY of Maitagual in Petit Bourg, San Juan now has a $12 million community centre.

The Ministry of Sport and Community Development officially opened the facility at Bushe Street North on Wednesday morning, and line minister Shamfa Cudjoe urged residents to use it wisely.

The two-storey building features an internet cafe/computer lab, audio-visual room, gym, teaching kitchen, administrative office, auditorium, lobby and bathrooms.

(centre) Minister of Sports and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe and Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh – Photo by Roger Jacob

Cudjoe said the community is “rich in history,” adding that “community centres are the heart and soul of the community as they play a significant role in bringing people together and developing the lives of residents.

She said the “state of the art facility” is a place to share ideas and work towards community and national development.

“This is a place to be celebrated; to invest in,” she said.

“Share your ideas, hear the ideas of others, learn about others cultures and backgrounds of others and and teach them yours too.”

St Joseph MP and Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh recalled that when he was a child, community centres often were “Four walls, a concrete floor and a galvanise roof.

“Compare that to what you have here today – two stories of air-conditioned excellence with state of the art qualities, computer lab, gym and so on. This is how TT has evolved and developed over the years.”

Maitagual Community Centre, on Bushe Street, San Juan. – Photo by Roger Jacob

He thanked Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly as during her tenure as Minister of Community Development, “She would have brought the note to Cabinet to get this project going.”

He also thanked Cudjoe for completing the project and hailed Maitagual resident Yvonne Alexander as the centre was also “her dream.”

When he was first elected as St Joseph MP, he said he saw “some pillars and a column” and asked what it was. Residents told him it was the start of a community centre “since back in the 90s under the NAR (National Alliance for Reconstruction).

Looking at the school children in the audience, he said, “This (community centre) is for them.

“Now what is required is for the communities to use this community centre to make sure that those school children fulfil the words of the father of this nation (Dr Eric Williams) as we celebrate 60 years of independence. The future of the nation is in their book bags, and the future of this community is in this community centre.”