Arima is a place of firsts. The home of the First Peoples, the first in the western hemisphere to become a Royal Chartered Borough, the only one of its kind in this part of the world.
It was with pride that Arima MP Anthony Garcia spoke about his home town as the Arima Borough Council celebrated 131 years as a borough with its annual civic awards ceremony last Wednesday at Arima New Government Primary School.
Several Arimians were honoured for their service to their community.
“No matter how the world feels about royalty in this era, history cannot be removed, recalled or changed, and the fact remains that Arima is unique.”
Garcia said that was the first time in the history of TT that there was a sitting mayor, Lisa Morris-Julian, who was the granddaughter of a former mayor, Leroy Morris. Her uncle Jimmy Morris also served on the Arima Borough Council.
“One of my goals is to ensure that those burgesses of Arima, whose presence and contribution of this place, and who are leaving us when we least expect it, are never forgotten.”
He recalled the days when community spirit existed in Arima, when children were taught to respect their elders, and parents supported the teachers who corrected their children instead of rushing into the schools to give the teachers a good “busing.” He said there was a time when neighbours were not afraid to correct the children next door, and would always “throw an eye.”
He said, “Arima must be a place where old-fashioned values abound, where children are taught to be respectful and adults support each other.”
Morris-Julian, said the awards ceremony was the civic way to honour outstanding Arimians not just for the past few years, but particularly this year.
“Because of the flood in Greenvale last year we acknowledge many people who actively assisted the flood victims. I am very proud and Arima did very well. We have to stand up for our country, and we must serve the people.
Arima is changing and some may say not for the better, but with you all at the helm, it will be better.”
Morris-Julian had special praise for one of the special awardees Rose Dookie who she said served for many years as the caretaker at the Arima Town Hall, for free.
“She does it simply because she wants to. She has taken over my events, she’s my hospitality co-ordinator free of charge. She said I can’t afford her, and it might be true.”
She said the awards ceremony this year was less about celebrity, and more about service.
Darcelle Perreira and Arima Volunteer Network received the youth award; Nu Pioneers and Arkadians Sports Club got the cultural award; Dave Maharaj and Travis Ali took the business award; Gabriel Cumbermack and Natasha Rahim received the educator award; Fire Fitness and Arima Football League received the sport award; Santa Rosa Lions Club and Bethel World Outreach Ministries got the community service award; and Temple Street Action Committee received the Arima Borough Council award.