Friday, July 18, 2014

What's in a Name?

Without so much as a 'by your leave' the Port of Spain Mayor erased eighty years of this nation's history and renamed the King George the Fifth park the Nelson Mandela Park for no reason that anyone else can fathom by the stroke of a pen, causing his immediate predecessor to question not only his motives, but his procedure among other things, and prompting me to wonder, if it is so easy to change the names of things, why don't we change the names of some things that really do need changing?

Like Beetham Gardens.

Clearly a victim of a name that keeps that community's representatives away, why not change the name to Balisier Park, so that the political directorate of the Baliser party might feel inclined to stop by for a visit? And why stop there? If we're taking steps to reinvent Beetham then surely Laventille could do with a new 'do' too, and what better name than PNM Heights? Surely if Laventille was known as PNM Heights then the PNM that has had unbroken representation of that area for over fifty years would be motivated to treat Laventille better, not so? I mean, if ever there was a name synonymous with failure, brokeness and squalor it would be Laventille, so why not change it for the betterment of all who live and work there?

And then there's Sea Lots; a place so abandoned to its own misfortunes it took the crushing death of a mother and two children to even turn the national attention to it. Why not rename there too? I mean, there are a lot of good names we could use but off the top off my head I would suggest naming it in honor of former PNM leaders who themselves have made nothing but excuses for the plight of those people, and similar to Churchill-Roosevelt double barreled recognition, why not Williams-Manning Gardens? Now there's a name worthy of such primely located waterfront property, don't you think? And who could deny that no two individuals have more responsibility for the condition those people find themselves in than those two gentlemen? I mean, with a push we could squeeze Chambers in too, but as he had neither of the oil booms that those two had I think it would be unfair to Williams and Manning to share that glory, don't you agree?

And then there's east Port of Spain, a place so desperately in need of a name change and representation, some say it is overdue. Morvant is another historically blighted place that might benefit from a name change, why not change the name of Morvant to Vision 2020? So that the people might be guided to ask, why with all that planning a die hard community as devoted as theirs was so ignored?

See the benefit of this name changing thing? Mayor Tim Kee might be on to something here.

And not forgetting the current political leader of the People's National Disappointment who himself has been credited with some exceptional abandonment of his own, why not name one of the newly minted Diego Martin West hotspots in his honour? I mean, Factory Road, Richplain, Covigne and Mercer did not get where they are on their own (okay well they did but it took some serious and consistent ignoring from the elected representative of the area to allow the devolution to take place in such a short space of time), he is certainly deserving, yes? The flood zone that Diego Matin became on his watch is also worthy of memorializing, and I would suggest changing the name of everything north of Richplain all the way to Patna Village in his honor, reminding the residents that even though they are represented by a ghost, that ghost has a name, and it is Keith Christopher Rowley.

And finally (for this article at least) there's the Labasse. It is my view that nothing should be renamed before that stellar piece of engineering that put the national garbage dump between the capital city and the rest of the country, and as it is regarded as responsible for spawning the squalid desperation of Baliser Park (formerly Beetham Gardens), credit should be given where credit is due. Perhaps a competition that gives everyone an opportunity to weigh in on it, and perhaps we could even get the goodly Mayor of Port of Spain to judge, that way he gets to see democracy and consultation with the population up close, just so he understands what all the fuss is about in the first place.

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