Its public relations officer Kemal Manickchand said: “Our main initiative is to regain our historical natural beauty which is ably supported by the glorious Lady of Montserrat, Tortuga RC Church, to where pilgrims come from all over the world visiting. This initiative undertaken is a clean-up and beautification drive of the Tortuga and Montserrat environs.”
This, he added, was seen as a priority in light of unchecked and rampant dumping of tyres, garbage, unwanted household items, poultry remains, unwanted dogs and general refuse along the Cedar Hill Road.
The TMT wants its slogan — Our Road leads to a Community, Not a Dump — to reach all citizens so that they too may adopt it and so minimise illegal dumping along our roadways.
The TMT’s team is led by pundit Surendra Maharaj; senior teacher at the Tortuga Government School Sherry Ann Guevara, Beverly James, Desiree Persad, Gail Sookoo, Ricardo Scott and Manickchand.
The residents have also united to improve the area and give their fullest support to the TMT.
Two weeks ago the clean-up committee brought dozens of villagers together to clean the sides of the road leading to the village. It is expected that signs and ornamental plants will follow.
CEPEP is no longer contracted by government to maintain the village of Tortuga, but the management team is also looking into recruiting some of the former CEPEP workers in this beautification drive.
This drive will be launched officially next month to encourage the community to take part in cleaning up or beautifying their own houses and curbsides. Quarterly prizes are to be awarded for various efforts such as best garden, best ornamentals, best painted house, best fence, best mailbox and best patriotic display for national observances or displays for festivals.
Manickchand who is a professional designer and decorator said his only wish is for corporate bodies to invest in projects of this nature and foster community pride and care. He wants the vision of this initiative to be shared by all.
“Let Tortuga and its environs be an example for the rest of the country,” he said, before concluding with the writings of the famous
author Charles Kingsley who once said about Tortuga in his book At Last: a Christmas in the West Indies:
“A group of enormous palmiste stands on a plateau, flat and yet lofty and healthy. The soil is exceedingly fertile.
There are wells and brooks of pure water all around.
The land slopes down for hundreds of feet in wooded gorges full of cedar and other admirable timber, with palmiste towering above them everywhere.
Far away lies the lowland; and every breeze of heaven sweeps over the crests of the hills. The panorama from the top of Montserrat is at once the most vast and the most lovely, which I have ever seen.”