Village council wants say in running Pembroke Heritage Park

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The Pembroke Heritage Folk Performers, performed for hundreds of visitors and locas at Salaaka Feast 2022, Pembroke Village, Tobago. –

THE Pembroke Village Council wants a say in managing the Pembroke Heritage Park.

The council’s welfare officer Marion Kent, speaking on Tuesday night at a THA town hall meeting for Belle Garden/Glamorgan residents, said the council wrote to Secretary of Culture, Tourism, Antiquities and Transportation Tashia Burris in June 2022 to discuss the management of the park.

She said the council was told subsequently that the park, which hosts the village’s Salaaka Feast for the Tobago Heritage Festival, was being renovated.

“Our major concern, therefore, is for us to retain our cultural legacy,” she told Chief Secretary Farley Augustine and area representative Dr Faith BYisrael, who sat at the head table.

“So we are seeking that we get at least a seat at the table to discuss the management of the park after the repairs are complete.”

Saying Pembroke is considered the cultural capital of Tobago, Kent said the village council conceptualised the heritage park after the district won the Prime Minister’s Best Village Competition in 2002.

“The initiatives were for the Pembroke village’s festival yard, which is now called the heritage park, and the revitalisation of the Metro Stars Steel Orchestra.”

Kent also wanted to know if the piece of land directly opposite the heritage park, along the Windward Road, is being used for a specific purpose.

“The area across from the park that appears to be a landfill – we would like to know the intention (for) that space.”

The council, she said, has suggested the area could be graded and used permanently as a car park for patrons of events at the heritage park or the Pembroke Community Centre.

Augustine had earlier complained about the state of the heritage park, saying it was overgrown.

“I made a phone call immediately and I was happy when I returned there last week, I saw that the grass was cut,” he said, adding some plumbing work also had to be done at the park.

Augustine said the park must be monetised to benefit the residents of the district.

Kent said the village council was also concerned about the residents’ lack of involvement in the Great River Experience at the LURE Estate in Goldsborough.

The Division of Food Security, Natural Resources, the Environment and Sustainable Development launched the initiative in January.

“The village council recalls having initial conversations regarding this initiative. but somehow the perception is that the experience does not include the village council or the community of Pembroke. and we are asking that consideration can be given to the community to use its cultural resources to supplement and sustain the Great River Experience.”

Augustine said he will ask the division’s line secretary Nathisha Charles Pantin to look into the matter, which he believes can be easily rectified.