From Havana, Roberto Castellanos reports for Prensa Latina, featuring Trinidad and Tobago’s capital in “Port of Spain, a pearl in the Caribbean.”
Considered a pearl in the Caribbean, Port of Spain is the capital and the nerve center of Trinidad and Tobago, rich in its cultural and commercial diversity and recognized as a business and commercial focus in the region. Founded by the Spanish in the late seventeenth century near the former Aboriginal village Cumucarapo (place of the silk cotton tree, in the local language), it became the capital of the colony in 1757, when Governor Pedro de la Moneda transferred there the powers of government from decadent San José de Orufia.
During the brief period under French and British rule, following the invasion of Sir Ralph Abercromby in 1797, it maintained its status, which preserved after independence in 1962. During the tenure of London, its development was slow and based on the exploitation of large sugar and citrus plantations, for the English capital was more interested in other areas, especially Asia. Officially it became a city in 1914 and that same year its first mayor, Enrique Prada, was named.
In addition, between 1958 and 1962, it was the provisional capital of the short-lived West Indies Federation while planning the construction of a new regional headquarters in Chaguaramas.
Although its population has officially only 50 thousand inhabitants, actually it exceeds 600 000 in accounting for the so-called East-West Corridor, a growing area with an outstanding industrial development. Much of the Corridor extends along East Main Street, between the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway and the foothills of the Northeastern Cordillera.
Due to the remarkable economic development of the country, which relies on its oil industry, Port of Spain is the main destination of Eastern Caribbean shipping. It is also headquarter of some of the leading banks in the region, as the Republic Bank and RBTT (formerly the Royal Bank). In facilities of Chaguaramas, about five miles west of the city, Guyana bauxite and part of iron ore from Venezuela, as well as various Trinitarian products, are re-exported. At the docks of the Bay of Paria, tens of cruises with thousands of tourists berth every year, one of the main incomes of the country.
[. . .] Like any city, Port of Spain has a rich and varied culture as evidenced by the operas, concerts and ballet performed in the Auditorium of the Queen. Also noteworthy for their variety the Caribbean Little Theatre, the Central Bank Auditorium, the National Academy of Performing Arts and the National Carnival and Entertainment Center. It also has many sports facilities, such as Pierre Complex, where boxing is practiced and Hasely Crawford Stadium, focused on football and athletics.
One of the most important cultural events of the country is undoubtedly the Carnival of Trinidad and Tobago, whose artistic expressions are enlivened by the “calypso”, an Afro-Caribbean rhythm developed on the island. A prominent place in the history and formation of Trinitarian identity occupies the area known as Laventille, home of the famous Carnival of Trinidad and the “steelpan”, the famous musical instrument made of old oil barrels. Located in a hilly area overlooking the Bay of Paria, the region, very depressed economically, is also known to serve as a reference to establish the first meridian of the New World, after the onset of colonization. [. . .]
Culture, tradition and history join together in Port of Spain to make this city one of the most beautiful and picturesque of Eastern Caribbean.
For full article, see http://www.plenglish.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1559841&Itemid=1
Photo by Waheeda Harris (http://gonetoswantravel.com/2012/08/02/morning-view-colourful-downtown-port-of-spain-trinidad/); see more at http://gonetoswantravel.com/