Charles Kong Soo
Former Congress of the People (COP) founding member and leader of the National Coalition for Transformation (NCT) Nalini Dial says successive MPs for Arima have failed the people of the borough miserably in addressing their ongoing issues for generations.
She was speaking to Guardian Media from the family landmark building that housed the former Dial’s Drug Store, on Farfan Street, Arima, before launching her campaign and walkabout in the borough.
Dial said, “I was born and raised in Arima. For the 60 years of my life I have not seen much development in Arima, it really hurts me. It’s disappointing, Arima is a borough, it should have a certain level of progress and development going on in it.
“The landmark, the Dial stands for progress and development and it’s also very symbolic; it carries my name it rings a bell there.
“When I walk through Arima, some things haven’t changed when I was living and growing up like the very cluttered streets, businesspeople are complaining about not much business are coming into Arima that people are preferring to shop in the malls.
“Some business people are very interested in doing community projects, but the incumbent MP Anthony Garcia was not interested and they did not have much interaction with him.”
She said even Garcia’s predecessor under the People’s Partnership government, Rodger Samuel was just mainly about ministerial duties and not focusing on the needs of Arimians.
Dial said this was a major downfall of whoever was in government on winning a seat and neglecting the people after all the walkabouts, talks with residents went out the window.
She said for the last five years residents in two villages in Blanchisseuse had no work activity or any sort of representation from Garcia.
Dial said she spoke to a land developer from the area who was willing to provide almost 200 jobs for youths in the community.
She said crime was a major issue in Arima and nationwide as well, that was where a representative came in.
Dial said people thought representatives deal with matters of state like infrastructure, and didn’t know they dealt with legislation and policies that impacted them almost directly like crime.
She said the borough did not have a homeless problem like Port-of-Spain, however, there were traffic problems, water issues, and vendors on the pavements to contend with.
Dial said everything was linked, thriving employment, culture and business contributed to lower crime, she had a big project for the youths in Arima, and surrounding areas like Pinto Road and Santa Rosa where there were many unemployed youths.
She said relocation of the Arima market was bandied about because of the lack of parking facilities.
Dial said she would like to see large business enterprises help smaller businesses.
She said compared to the Queen’s Park Savannah, the Arima Velodrome was underutilised, teaching, training, sports, a garden of arts can be done there.
Dial said Arima had the potential to be a major entertainment hub in T&T, where people can come and be entertained and spend their money instead of journeying to Port-of-Spain, Carnival can be expanded beyond the Velodrome.
She said the 25 acres of land in the foothills of the Northern Range leased to the First Peoples for the creation of a First Peoples Heritage Village and Living Museum was too remote and difficult to reach to be a viable tourist attraction.