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The positive faces of Beetham Gardens captured the spotlight on April 30 as residents of the Port-of-Spain community spoke glowingly of the impact of a series of social interventions initiated by The Rose Foundation and supported by energy company BP T&T.
The occasion was a visit to Beetham Gardens (Phase Two) by Carl-Henric Svanberg, chairman, BP Group plc, who was given an outline of the social investment programmes aimed primarily at suppressing crime and empowering the residents.
Representing bpTT were Norman Christie, regional president; Giselle Thompson, vice president–corporate operations; Ronda Francis, manager–corporate responsibility, and other senior management personnel. The function took place at the Each One Teach One Preschool, a release from BP said.
The BP Group chairman took time from a heavy schedule in a two-day visit to T&T to interact with the residents of Beetham Gardens and get direct feedback of the benefits of various projects in Beetham and other communities.
“I have visited our facilities in Trinidad but this is the best part of my visit. I am extremely proud that we all support this programme. Even if we provide the money, that in itself wouldn’t make a difference. It is what you do with it. The real difference is the impact you make on the lives of the people.
“If we carry out more of these projects in T&T and other parts of the world, the world would be a different place,” Svanberg told the residents.
Minister of Community Development, Winston Peters, congratulated bpTT for partnering with the often-maligned Beetham community to bring about positive change in their lives, adding that he had first-hand knowledge of the company’s numerous social investment programmes in Mayaro, where he serves as MP. The Minister virtually stole the show in the formal part of the function when he sang verses from three of his calypsoes, including Little Black Boy, ending with an extempore verse and earning resounding applause from the audience.
April 30 will represent a benchmark in the history of Beetham Gardens, as the BP Group chairman buried a time capsule containing copies of future development plans and initiatives, a booklet titled Faces of Beetham, bpTT’s Aspirations and an info-graphic detailing the company’s local impact.
Svanberg also unveiled a Wall of Fame inscribed with the names of notable visitors to the community. They are the last British Governor of T&T, Sir Edward Betham Beetham, after whom the community is named; His Royal Highness Prince Charles; former chief justice Michael de la Bastide; former president of T&T, Prof George Maxwell Richards; British High Commissioner Arthur Snell; and BP Group chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg himself.
The time capsule will be opened after ten years.
Earlier, Beetham resident Michael Mason told the audience, the community “wants you to listen to what we want. Don’t come and dictate to us. We have loving people here. We have talent to burn and we welcome this opportunity to work with you. We have already seen first-hand how these programmes can benefit us. We need your support to uplift this community.”
Constable Denwayne Neptune, a member of the Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) of the T&T Police Service, outlined graphic examples of the positive work accomplished by the agency in collaboration with The Rose Foundation in high-risk crime areas.
“The interventions of the foundation have resulted in significant reductions of violent crimes in these communities. Young men who used to carry out violent gun crimes are now part of a classroom where they are learning and improving themselves. This is our mandate,” said PC Neptune.
Founded by Sterling Belgrove, The Rose Foundation is a civil society social development organisation.