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Monday 23 October 2017
Letters to the Editor

Land for sport instead of shelter

Land for

THE EDITOR: I write on behalf of Trendsetter Hawks, a children’s football club from east Port of Spain, run by community stalwart Anthony “Dada” Wickham and some volunteer directors.

Since 2015, I have been writing to lease HDC-owned land behind the Nipdec car park to convert into a recreational field to serve the downtown Port of Spain children, primary school students, residents and by extension the club — a reach of hundreds if not thousands of working class citizens.

By letter/e-mail I approached the HDC chairman, the MP, the East Port of Spain Development Co, even a former mayor, all without success. Unfortunately, the land has been disappointingly appropriated for a homeless shelter. While I won’t disagree vagrancy is a major issue, I believe that land has better productive use as a tool to not only fight crime but create avenues for community integration, family bonding activity, recreation, fund-raising, discipline through sport and a range of generational life-skill development for both parents and children.

Not since the colonial era have residents of the capital city enjoyed/received land for meaningful recreational development. While a decision has been made, it is worth every effort for a final appeal to the State agencies involved, since there are other alternatives.

Sport will not end the violent crime that plagues the capital, but it can greatly assist in bringing together communities, respect, a collective identity and indoctrination of positive beliefs and understandings, when the home, the streets, the schools and the community are unable to.

Trendsetter Hawks has been around for 40 years.

It has influenced hundreds from Port of Spain communities, outlasted all crime-fighting plans, even politicians and political parties.

Imagine if the club got access to land for a physical base how much more can be achieved.

NICHOLAS LOCHAN

via e-mail

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