Fyzabad residents welcomed Government’s proposal to construct a heroes’ park and museum in memory of trade union legends in their community but called on Labour Minister Errol McLeod to address their unemployment problems. At a public consultation on Wednesday at the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union’s Hall of Revolution, Charlie King Junction, residents urged McLeod to make the project viable and sustainable. They said facilities, such as a library, amphitheatre and space for small businessmen, would benefit the people while helping to make the area attractive. The residents voiced their opinions before a panel, including McLeod, Senator David Abdulah and chairman of the Siparia Regional Corporation Leo Doodnath.
Member of Parliament for Fyzabad, Chandresh Sharma, was not present because he was at the Piarco International Airport awaiting the return of Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar from Panama. McLeod said the heroes park and museum was designed to honour late trade unionists. such as Tubal Uriah “Buzz” Butler, Arthur Andrew Cipriani, Adrian Cola Rienzi and George Weekes, among others. Despite a few union members from the Petrotrin Forest Reserve section of the OWTU being in attendance, there was a notable absence of other prominent labour leaders. Speaking on behalf of the Forest Reserve section, branch president Bernard Jones told the panel any museum and park constructed in Fyzabad must be able to sustain itself. He said they must be built in such a way that they did not become a strain on the economy and something that future governments would deem as unnecessary. His views were shared by others who said for far too long the community had been starved of business opportunities, McLeod expressed happiness for the support he received from members of the the community and assured them job opportunities would be created during and after construction of the museum.
He also read a Cabinet note which stated: “This museum will serve as an accessible reference point for local and overseas visitors, students, teachers, trade unionists and academics, through the preservation of the thoughts and words of those who lived our history.” Doodnath, who chairs the sub-committee for locating a site for the project, outlined three areas near to Charlie King Junction. The locations are owned by Petrotrin and Doodnath said the most favourable one was near the Pipe Rack, Crest Camp Road. The site overlooks Butler’s grave. Following several contributions in support of the location, McLeod said his ministry soon would schedule a meeting with Petrotrin to either lease the land or have the company return it to the State. He said he would not be taking any negative feedback from Petrotrin to Cabinet. He said it was the biggest project in the community for sometime and Fyzabad should now reap the benefits of its contribution to the country. He invited residents who had ideas for the project to make submissions through the Hall of Revolution, the office of the Minister of Parliament and the Siparia Regional Corporation.