Friday, July 8, 2011

Where the streets have no name ..or soul

Rich and successful people are a strange lot. They possess the ability to balance both the creativity and imagination needed to dream big dreams as well as the cold hard ruthless mechanics to turn said dreams into a reality. Eventually though this balancing act, takes a toll on the brain and they go super crazy.

Some, then  turn their attention to helping solve the world’s problems, others give away large sums of their fortunes to charity, some buy British football teams to play with, and some turn into brooding vigilantes donning  masks and capes and stalking  city rooftops aiming to be “a symbol of hope in a decaying world”. It seems though while being hugely rich and successful, Derek Chin, the chairman of the Movie Towne complexes, is content in just being super crazy.

This Week Mr. Chin announced his plans to build a mini city called ‘Streets of the World’, on 80 acres of land at Invaders Bay.
“If you thought Movie Towne was great, this will be greater. We will take the culture of a country and make streets out of them,” an enthusiastic Mr. Chin said.

Further elaborating, just in case some didn’t understand the finer points of his sophisticated idea, Mr. Chin added “There would be a Street of Mumbai, a Street of Hong Kong, a Street of the Middle East, a Street of Africa, and so on. There would be a fashion street for women. There would be a mini-carnival street, which Carnival bandleader Brian McFarlane would be involved in. These streets would be thematic streets.”

Now before you start reaching for the dustbin to relieve your stomach from the mass of undigested food that is surely now making its way up your oesophagus, wait. There’s more.“There would be additional attractions, like horse and buggy. Maybe from the Queen’s Park Savannah through Woodbrook straight to the Streets of the World, tourists would travel on them,” says Mr. Chin.

Ok, go ahead I’ll give you a minute.

Not wanting his Frankenstein to be lonely, Mr. Chin has also proposed building it a bride.

“In 2011, what have we done with Carnival? We are still building a Grandstand in 2011. What is the legacy of Carnival? The answer to that is nothing. Let’s build a Carnival museum in wax”, said Mr. Chin.

Now being an Indian from Chaguanas I would admit to not being an expert on Carnival, however, I was always under the impression that the Steel Band, Calypso, and the art of Mas Making, were just some of things that make up the continuing legacy of Carnival. Plus, if tourists want to see waxy, shiny, immovable, soulless objects wearing costumes, surely they can just go look at  the band ‘Tribe’ for free.

An argument can be made that Mr. Chin is going to generate lots of employment with his venture, and his ultimate goal, of making Trinidad and Tobago more ‘entertainment friendly’ is admirable and even necessary. And it would be a good argument.

However, Mr. Chin projects the cost of his idea to be well over 1 Billion dollars. His proposed site is on land which environmental groups think should be left as is and not tampered with.

There are many questions that need answers.

Is Mr. Chin going to get any special tax breaks, or government help with this project?

Who exactly owns the land at Invaders Bay?

What type of land is it and  under what special conditions, if any, are mangrove given  over for construction?

What are the environmental and social impacts of making a mini city?

Is it morally right for billions of dollars to be invested in such a small area when just 2O minutes away lie some of the poorest parts of the country?

Someone once told me that great civilizations are not defined by what they build, but rather by how they live. Most Trinidadians think the opposite, and sadly the only time questions like those above seem to get answers in a country like ours is during a movie.



Hackett said...

Keep writing man your voice needs to be heard

Pauline said...

I couldn't believe it when I read the article either. Two things worry me though. He says he has spoken to several government ministers and they think it's a great idea and he ( or someone) has already started clearing the land next to the Mariott. We should be denouncing his idea from every street corner but instead there is silence.

Samantha said...

Oh geez no.....don't touch the Valley.... before they fix the roads....improve the trails for bikes and walking, put more guides in ...organize additional themed hikes, perhaps ad a bike rental office. Turn d space by KFC into a water park, ad a long jetty with a an amusement park, widen d road to take the traffic,but....leave the green space green!!!!! yuh doh have to touch the green space.
We really doh need no more malls for Francis Fashion and Detour....cuz oh gorm... the street of Hong Kong...the street of Africa only going to end up with d same stores we have here...cuz only them big boys could pay de rent.
So instead of me being able to take my family on a Sunday picnic in a quiet green space.... I go be fighting up to pay big money and find parking in another area for the same stores we have in all the other malls..... the same products in everymall....

How about a craft village where crafts people can actually have a forum to sell their handmade goods? not everything have to be for money so???