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Minister praises Habitat for Humanity's Guapo Beach project

General News The following is the address (verbatim) delivered by Minister of Community Development, the Honourable Nizam Baksh at the Ground-Breaking ceremony of the Guapo Beach Facility on Friday April 15, 2011 at 10:00 am.

All protocols observed.

A good Guapo morning to you all.

As I am sure many of you know, Guapo means “beautiful” in Spanish, and not only is this one of the most beautiful places in Trinidad, but thanks to Habitat for Humanity, the Atlantic Company, and the Point Fortin Borough Corporation, it is about to get even more spectacular.
I want to start by thanking our hosts this morning for the opportunity to be at the first Habitat for Humanity community project of this magnitude and Atlantic. The Ministry of Community Development agreed to support this initiative because it aligns with our Ministry’s vision of building resilient communities.

It was the former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan who said, “We are in an age where community involvement and partnerships are becoming increasingly indispensable. There is now a growing potential for cooperative development, and renewal worldwide.”

Today’s Sod Turning ceremony is all about that kind of partnership. Volunteers from the Guapo, Point Fortin area will join corporate volunteers and other Habitat for Humanity volunteers, to build what will become one of the most scenic landmarks in this part of the country.

Having looked at the graphic projection by Eyescream, and aware of the capabilities of the great organisations involved in this project, I have every confidence that the Guapo Beach facility, when completed, will become the premier beach facility in South Trinidad, and rival venues like Maracas, Manzanilla and even Pigeon Point in Tobago!

With the impressive track record of Habitat for Humanity T&T, with over 305 families served through housing solutions; combined with the weight of the Point Fortin Borough Corporation; and the power of the Atlantic Company, this site is set to become the top beach destination in Trinidad.

The partnership shared by these three organisations and the people of Guapo exemplifies the concept of Community Development that we promote at the Ministry, and that is: the combined effort of people in local communities, Government and external agencies, all united to improve the quality of life of the people.
In this regard, I want to assure you that Government’s participation in this project will not be limited to that of the outstanding contribution by the Point Fortin Borough Corporation.

I am pleased to announce that the Ministry of Community Development will be honoured to partner on the purchasing of the beach, or if you prefer, a children’s play park.

Although this place is so beautiful that it would not need much landscaping, I would also like to offer to supply any plants or trees that you may need. Exotic trees, fruit trees, ornamental trees, you name it, we will provide it. As you may have read in the press, the Ministry of Community Development is now taking the initiative for the Clean & Beautify Trinidad & Tobago (C&B T&T) programme, and it will be our pleasure to supply as many plants as you need. We will even come and plant them with you if you so desire.

Now, coming from Barrackpore, it took me less than an hour to get here, but even if I had to drive two hours from our head office at #8 Queen’s Park East, to extend my sincerest congratulations to Habitat for Humanity and Atlantic for their work today, it would have been a drive well worth taking.

Over the past fourteen years, you have been improving the living conditions of hundreds of citizens in our country; and over the past few decades, Habitat for Humanity has been doing the same around the world.
Since 1997, Habitat for Humanity Trinidad and Tobago has been generously and continuously lifting low income families out of squalor conditions and I take this opportunity today to extend congratulations and best wishes on your 14th anniversary. I feel very honoured to have my Ministry of Community Development establish a working relationship with HFHTT, as engage and focus on wealth generation.

As the former UN Secretary General noted, community involvement and partnership are indispensible and Habitat for Humanity has successfully built on such partnerships. It has not only nurtured these relationships, but it has proven that synergies are vital when working towards the same goal.

Today’s ceremony marks the culmination of one consultation effort fostered and supported by the Point Fortin Borough Corporation and sponsored in large part by Atlantic - a company that is renowned for its support nationally and for this southern borough, especially. Today we applaud Atlantic for their corporate support.

Our Ministry acknowledges the pivotal role that Atlantic has played in the support of the community of Point Fortin. This corporate citizen has demonstrated its investment in the people of Point Fortin with sustainable projects, worthy of our admiration.

The Ministry of Community Development upholds two of Government’s Seven Interconnected Pillars for Sustainable Development:
• People Centred Development and
• Poverty Eradication, which we now refer to as Wealth Generation.
Atlantic is today demonstrating that it too is committed to the development of people and wealth generation, specifically today for the people of Guapo and Point Fortin.

I avail myself of the opportunity to remind members of the organisations here present, that we are in an age where community involvement and partnership are increasingly being recognized as crucially important for any progress to be achieved. I want to challenge you to put this knowledge into practice. Just as we have seen this collaboration leading to a commendable community project, I am calling on corporate citizens and NGO’s to form meaningful alliances with communities. This is the only way that we will see a transformed community sector in Trinidad and Tobago. This is the only way we will bring about Government’s central promise: Prosperity for All. I would like to call on the people of Guapo and environs to volunteer. This will be a legacy for Guapo.

Thank you.

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