Last Sunday, the day after Trinidad and Tobago’s Keshorn Walcott made history by winning a gold Olympic medal, the Ministry of Community Development, through its St Andrews/St David District Office hosted its Community Festival, Shine: Spotlighting Community, to commemorate T&T’s 50th independence anniversary, at the Toco Recreation Grounds, Cemetery Street, Toco. Just about seven minutes away from the Olympian’s home, the event kicked off around 11.30 am with a military street parade, culminating at the recreational grounds, where Minister of Community Development, Winston “Gypsy” Peters, joined MP for Toco Rupert Griffith and Councillor Martin “Terry” Rondon for the salute. Following this, a formal ceremony took place to mark the occasion, as community development officer II Paula Garcia took to the stage and welcomed all to what was called a “double-gold celebration.” Garcia invited councillor Rondon to bring greetings on the occasion. Rondon took the opportunity to appeal to the Government for more assistance to Toco residents in the form of facilities for sporting events and for Toco’s fishermen. He extended congratulations to Keshorn’s parents for their son’s sterling achievement.
MP for the area and Minister of Science and Technology Rupert Griffith delivered brief remarks. He said he was proud of Keshorn, especially since T&T was celebrating 50 years of independence and commended the ministry for showcasing and highlighting the talents of communities through the Shine Festival initiative. Minister Peters, in the feature address, told Toco residents how pleased he was to join them the day after 19-year-old Keshorn Walcott made Olympic history. He lauded Toco as a community that has nurtured tremendous talent in people like Keshorn and soca star—Patrice Roberts. Peters said his ministry is seeking new techniques and approaches to engage the community in feasible projects to deepen entrepreneurship within the area. The minister said the Shine concerts were designed to bring out the hidden talents at community level and commended his ministry’s staff for making the initiative a reality in so many communities across the country. Following this, the minister declared the official start of Pot au Feu, where five teams competed in a culinary competition using locally-produced items. A creative drink competition also took place to highlight the bartending skills of Toco residents. The day also included a cultural extravaganza where schools, church choirs, dance groups, tassa and rhythm sections provided entertainment for the audience. The event culminated with a spectacular fireworks display, as Toco’s soca singer Marvin Lewis performed songs from various artistes, as well as his own compositions.