I was indeed pleasantly surprised with our Prime Minister’s vision with regard to revitalising our capital city. Many people liken the word ‘capital’ to wealth in the form of money or other assets.
The Prime Minister, in this instance, was referring to our capital- the city or town that functions as the seat of government and administrative centre of a country or region. Suffice it to say that both meanings are interrelated.
It is simply the best idea I have heard in a long time, and it is also backed up by wisdom. There is a saying that you can judge a person by the friends he keeps. I think ‘you can judge a country by the capital we keep’.
For too long, we have allowed our capital to disintegrate for a country that was arguably the richest in the Caribbean for decades.
Most countries take pride in their capital-it defines its people. We are a proud people who believe in our country and love our country. It would indeed be a dream come true if we could rise to this challenge to revitalise our capital.
The Prime Minister listed six projects-the development of Memorial Plaza (residential, commercial, office, parking and recreational spaces), the Salvatori site, Picadilly Street, PowerGen site, City Gate and a Foreshore green space.
He said ‘today’s exercise is a commitment to stimulate and save our capital city. Let’s do it’. He lamented that we are one of the few cities whose waterfront does not drive the city.
When Minister of Planning Camille Robinson-Regis was asked ‘why now?’, her response was simply and aptly that ‘the revitalisation was long needed, but now the political will is there’. Dr Rowley admitted this was not the first time a plan like this has been conceptualised. He promised, however, it would be the last.
The top ten most beautiful capital cities in the world have been listed as London, Islamabad, Berlin, Washington, Paris, Rome, Tokyo, Budapest, Ottawa and Moscow ( International ‘The News’, 2015). FTN news cites the top ten capital cities in the world as London, Tokyo, Paris, Rome, Washington, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Bangkok, Cape Town and Wellington.
I have had the good fortune of visiting half of the top ten, and they are truly beautiful cities. Each time I visited one of them, it was difficult to leave. I often wondered why we could not do something about our own capital.
It is said that London is one of the best capital cities in the world, as travellers love its rich history and culture. It is one of the cities that offers everything you could ever wish for-great nightlife, educational museums and luscious green parks. Replace the word London with Port of Spain and see how that sounds.
As Martin Luther King said in 1963, ‘I had a dream.’ Dr Rowley now has a dream. Let us make it a reality.