On Saturday May 30, our country will commemorate the 175-year milestone of East Indian arrival to our shores. Incidental to this is the 82nd anniversary of the inclusion of St James into the City of Port-of-Spain.
This historic event took place on June 1, 1938.
Since then, St James has developed from a sleepy village into a vital sub-division of Port-of-Spain.
Originally, St James was settled by Tamil Indians and that event was immortalised by naming a large percentage of its streets after the cities and regions in India. Hence we have Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Baroda, Bengal, Kandahar, Lucknow, Agra, Patna, and Benares to name some.
Moreover, the two religions associated with Indians of Trinidad Hinduism and Islam, are very well established here and the Hosay commemoration is a major religious and cultural event which has become very well known.
Furthermore, all forms of Indian cuisine whether in direct form or indirectly in the manner in which food is seasoned have become characteristic of St James households regardless of ethnic origin, and of food vending outlets all over the country.
Additionally, architecture in St James and the enterprising spirit of its people reflect the philosophy of life of the Indian immigrant.
All of those characteristics have caused St James to be considered as the most vibrant sub division of Port-of-Spain and, incidentally, the best example of cultural and ethnic harmony in the Trinidad landscape.
Most natives of St James are proud to be “St Jamesians” and are quick to acknowledge the contribution that the India Immigrant made to the creation of this outstanding community.
Indians in St James also participate in events of other ethnic groups thus reinforcing our national motto: “together we aspire, together we achieve.”
Rishi Lakhan, via email