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Monday 23 October 2017
Letters to the Editor

Safeguarding our heritage

THE EDITOR: In response to a letter from Fatimah Mohammed on August 25, we provide information on the work of the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago, the mandate of which is to safeguard our built and natural heritage.

The recent presentation on the Woodford Square Heritage District was based on the work of an intern from the International Council of Monuments and Sites. The area of focus was the preparation of dossiers on historic properties that could be included within this heritage district. The trust benefited greatly from having an expert’s analysis with a new perspective on the development of this heritage district in our capital city of Port of Spain.

This presentation was just one of many that the National Trust has held in the past two years highlighting various aspects of our heritage and culture. The trust has organised lectures, tours and exhibitions to promote the recognition and appreciation of our multi-faceted history.

Tours have explored sites in Gran Couva, Rancho Quemado, Moruga and Cedros; travelled from north to south Trinidad learning of the railway history; visited museums and traversed the western isles in the Gulf of Paria.

The Nelson Island Heritage Site is a multi-layered tour where information is provided on indentureship, Tubal Uriah Butler and the 1970 Black Power Movement for hundreds of primary and secondary school students and members of the public. We have explored the marine archaeology of the Scarborough harbour in presentations in TT.

In partnership with the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts as part of Patriotism Month, the National Trust has organised three tours for September celebrating the First Peoples, the East Indian heritage and the African heritage.

Our lecture series last November reviewed the influence of Spanish and French settlers, enslavement, indentureship and pre-Columbian history.

Last year we took the opportunity to learn of the Ramleela celebrations in Cedar

Hill, Princes Town and participated in the Kendra Phagwa Festival in Raghunanan Road, Enterprise. Recently, we also explored the history of Tobago in a presentation there and we are working with the Tobago House of Assembly to list the Main Ridge (Forest Reserve) both nationally and internationally. The National Trust has compiled a list of over 500 properties of interest in TT, representing a wide diversity of our heritage, and is working to protect our historic sites through the listing process and the preparation of dossiers, therefore affording national recognition to these sites. Information can be obtained on these sites from our website: www.nationaltrust.tt.

The trust recently commenced the posting of YouTube videos which include: the Mud Mandir in Exchange Village, Couva; the Temple in the Sea, the Banwari archaeological site, the Tortuga Roman Catholic Church and several others which can be viewed on our website and Facebook page. With a small complement of staff, the National Trust is working to stimulate awareness, protect our heritage sites, and address the laws to strengthen the ability to safeguard our heritage.

As a membership-based organisation, the trust welcomes new members who will have the opportunity to explore and learn about their heritage and thus support the preservation of our national treasures. We aim to ensure that there is understanding, appreciation and recognition of all that represents TT. We invite readers to go on our Facebook page or website to obtain more information about our heritage and join the National Trust.

MARGARET MCDOWALL

chairman

National Trust of TT

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