The Santa Rosa First Peoples Community said it is not in favour of re-naming the Piarco International Airport due to its connection to the First Peoples’ history.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced recently that he will take a suggestion to Cabinet to rename the Piarco International Airport after the country’s first Prime Minister Dr. Eric Williams, pending his family’s consent. The suggestion was made while Dr Rowley was in New York City.
In a release on Friday chief Ricardo Bharath Hernandez said the First Peoples were following the discussion concerning the renaming of the International Airport with great interest as “A place name in such a prominent and visible place as the country’s International Airport is a signal honour to the First Peoples.”
They said they do believe that “ appropriate emblems of honour should be given to outstanding contributors to the nation’s development such as Dr. Williams, and note that several prestigious institutions are already named in his honour –“The Eric Williams Financial Complex, also known as the Eric Williams Plaza”; and “The Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex”.
They said though, “our Community strongly advocates that should another honour be given to him”, since after colonization, several communities with indigenous names were renamed by Spanish and British colonisers.
The First Peoples continued, “The remaining indigenous names of places and indigenous nations such as Arima, Chaguanas, Chacachacare, Piarco, Couva, Arouca, Carapachaima, Tamana, for example, are precious to the First Peoples as representatives of the lost languages.”
“This suggestion of renaming the airport through erasing a name in an original language of the First Peoples would further erode the First Peoples Heritage and Legacy which our Community continues to struggle to preserve,” they added.