Piccadilly Street, Port-of-Spain.


There were mixed reactions from East Port-of-Spain residents yesterday to the Government’s proposal to revitalise the capital city.

Guardian Media yesterday visited Piccadilly Street, which Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley identified as one of the major areas for redevelopment.

Rowley said the Piccadilly Street Development has already been brought before the Cabinet while Planning and Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis assured residents they would not be displaced by the development.

Robinson-Regis on Monday said there was no proposed cost for the project yet and she could not say when it might begin.

Yesterday, most residents were hesitant to speak on the record but said they felt excited by the possibilities for change in the city.

Patricia Williams, who has lived in East Port-of-Spain for over 35 years, said she would welcome any positive change to the city.

She lamented the current state of the area, saying the streets were dirty and unsanitary.

“With all the filthy things around the place, it’s not healthy. We need to see something because we know (former) Prime Minister Manning had that intention of doing something good here, so if the Prime Minister (Dr Keith Rowley) want to do something, let him do so, it’s the benefit for all of us here,” Williams said.

She said the residents are eagerly awaiting full details of the project from the Government.

“I do not know what will happen to the buildings. He has to tell us about that, but I’m happy he is interested in doing something for Port-of-Spain.”

But another longtime resident of Piccadilly Street, Michael Edwards, said he has heard this plan too many times before.

During the launch on Monday, Rowley admitted this was the 17th plan to revitalize Port-of-Spain but gave multiple assurances his administration can pull it off.

“They have been saying that for many, many years now so I can’t say. I have a neutral view on that. Whatever they do, they do. Since I here, from ’83 to now, they say they going to develop, so I can’t say anything about that,” Edwards said.

Meanwhile, the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce says it will meet next week to discuss the Government’s announcement.

In a brief interview yesterday, Chamber Chief Executive Officer, Gabriel Faria, the chamber was invited to the launch of the project on Monday.

He said several members have expressed interest in partnering with the Government. On Monday, Rowley said the Government was seeking private investors as the State cannot afford the project on its own.

“We do have members who are interested in investing but there are also those who want to wait out the pandemic, so we will meet next week to discuss it at length,” Faria said.