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Monday 11 December 2017
Letters to the Editor

Can’t wait for the ‘live music district’

THE EDITOR: The Government proposes to establish a “live music district,” as announced in Monday’s budget. Planners call these mechanisms business improvement areas (BIA) or business improvement districts (BID).

If you read a bit about these mechanisms, you will see the way they form a “rising tide” for the people who are able to capitalise on them. The collective marketing of various establishments in these districts are able to send a clear message for people looking for shopping, recreation etc.

We have two similar mechanisms locally:

The Brian Lara Promenade was slightly formalised, and the Promenade Management Association would collect dues from the businesses and landowners along the promenade, using the fees for its maintenance.

Everyone doing business along Independence Square saw good profits as visitors were attracted to stroll, lime or shop along the promenade. I am uncertain of the current status of the association but the promenade remains a noteworthy district in our nation’s capital.

Ariapita Avenue has emerged as an informal BIA/BID for nightlife, and is now a hub of parties, bars, street food and other types of nightlife that is well known across the Caribbean. An Antiguan friend of mine who has never visited TT asked me about this “Avenue” his friends who came here enjoyed visiting.

I’m intrigued to get more information about the location and the other mechanisms involved in the creation of this district.

Trinidad is the birthplace of two internationally recognised genres of music, calypso and soca; it is the birthplace and home of the steel pan; is one of the largest creators of gospel music, and is home to several creative implementations of musical craft including pan-jazz, for example.

Our diaspora includes several artistes of international acclaim including Slinger Francisco, aka Mighty Sparrow (calypso), Machel Montano (soca), and Linda McCartha Monica Sandy-Lewis, aka Calypso Rose (calypso).

Combined with the other artistes in lesser known genres such as Sherwin Gardner (gospel), Freetown Collective (genre unknown but beautiful), we have a globally marketable musical product.

When we add the boundless talent found within our Caribbean region, this msuic district can stir up increased visitor arrivals, and return visitors outside of Carnival.

I am excited to hear more about this as the budget debate continues, and of course to seeing its implementation.

MAURICE BURKE, San Juan

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