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Point Fortin Mayor Clyde Paul says he intends to use the 2014 Borough Day celebrations to bring attention to this part of the country. Her said it seemed as though the oil and gas-rich town had been singled out by the People’s Partnership administration for punishment as money was being spent everywhere except in the borough. “I want to tell people to be more mindful of what is happening in Point Fortin. Borough Day is not just to jump and wine and fete. Use it to bring attention to this part of our country,” he added.
Speaking at one of the supporting events at the launch of the event on April 19, Paul said the Borough Day activities could boost the local economy and help the burgesses in light of problems they were experiencing with central government. He said annually more than 30,000 visitors and residents converge in Point Fortin for the annual celebration, yet the district’s hospital was not equipped for an emergency.
“We had the best maternity ward years ago, now it is understaffed. People say if you want to die, go to Point Fortin Hospital,” he added. The idea of a new hospital for the borough at a different location has been tossed around by successive governments. Recently in Parliament Point Fortin MP Paula Gopee-Scoon said there was absolutely no way she could go back to the people seeking a third term without a hospital.
Paul also pointed out that improvements to the Civic Centre, which should have been transformed into a Performing Arts Centre, has stalled. So too, he said, the Mahaica Oval project as the Ministry of Sports had refused to approve money for its upgrade. “Young, potential footballers are afraid to play here. The accommodation is inadequate. I am asking for $1 million to fix Mahaica so young boys could exhibit their skills,” he added.
He also called for the introduction of a water taxi service from Point Fortin to San Fernando to help ease the burden of residents, who sometimes have to leave home as early as 3 am to get to Port-of-Spain and return home after 7.30 pm. Paul said such a service would make it much easier for people wishing to participate in the celebrations, rather than being stuck in traffic for hours.
Despite these shortcomings, he said, there were a lot of good things happening in the borough and invited the rest of the country to come and enjoy what they had to offer for the 25th anniversary of the celebrations. One of the main events is the Point Fortin Borough Queen Pageant and Mayor’s Charity Ball, which will take place this Friday and Saturday respectively.
Next Wednesday, Point Fortin Jazz, featuring jazz vocalist Vaughnette Bigford, sitarist Mungal Patasar, ace pan player Ken “Professor” Philmore and others, will take centre stage at the new Guapo Beach facility. Celebrations will culminate on the weekend of May 3 and 4, with J’Ouvert, traditional mas and pan-on-the-move, as well as a sailing regatta and dragon boat festival.