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East savannah being destroyed
The Orange Grove Savannah (which some people now call the Eddie Hart Grounds) is a landmark in east Trinidad. People who live in the area or have used the savannah in the past have watched its gradual destruction with grief. In the colonial days the savannah boasted some of the best cricket grounds in the country, if not in the Caribbean. They were manicured and immaculately kept. On weekends it was normal to have four or five matches being played.
The western part of the property was sold to private businesses a long time ago, and gradually football was allowed to be played on all the grounds. Cricket and football do not mix. The entire surface of the savannah has been ravaged and it is now like the surface of the moon—covered with craters and hard ugly grass. Political meetings with their massive trucks and entourage have also contributed to the destruction.
The walking track is popular with the residents of the area, and recently some work was done to improve the car park which was fit for planting rice. A few days ago I was astonished to see bulldozers tearing up this work in preparation for what a sign says is a sporting complex of some sort.
The area being dug up represents about 75 per cent of the existing car park. The other morning I found joggers fighting to park in the small part that remains. A lot of functions are held there and people are now parking on the narrow Orange Grove Road, creating mass traffic confusion. If space for a building was needed, the southern boundary of the savannah, which is swampy and mos-quito-ridden, could have been used.
Lower down the road opposite the Anglican church vendors have traditionally made a living by providing a useful service to the public. Instead of providing facilities for the vendors the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation is constantly harassing them and has now found a reason to impose hefty fines. The term “serve the people” has acquired new meaning.
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