Ian K Ramdhanie, msC,
The 4Cs Growth Pole, an initiative spearheaded by the Planning Ministry, focuses on development of four areas of central Trinidad—Chaguanas, Couva, Carapichaima and Charlieville. Properly executed, that plan should bring high levels of investment and activities to those communities which will spur economic advancement and infrastructural improvements. But even as plans are advanced for those communities, with multi-billion dollar projects about to come on stream, attention must also be paid to other parts of the country, particularly Port-of-Spain, the nation’s capital, which is in desperate need of its own development plan.
The city’s many problems, including chronic traffic congestion, overcrowding, a severe lack of parking space, vagrancy, illegal street vending and crime, as well as the fact that large sections of Port-of-Spain are prone to flooding, have combined to stifle development in the country’s official seat of government. Port-of-Spain has become an uncompetitive city that has deteriorated over five decades. While other areas of the country have become more attractive to larger numbers of the population, the nation’s capital no longer commands the psychological dominance that it once did and is no longer the centre of the country’s economic, social and political progress. One of the strongest indicators of that downward trend is the fact that the population within the city limits has declined significantly. In a trend that has accelerated over the last two decades, many areas that had once been residential are becoming increasingly commercial as demand for business space in the capital increases.