The Soul of a Pleasant Village
March 27, 2018 was a day of renewal for the people of Pleasantville as a newly refurbished community centre was officially rededicated and handed over. This ceremony marked the 23rd community centre opened or rededicated by the Ministry of Community Development Culture and the Arts since 2015. Pleasantville was once a sugar plantation located in South Trinidad, and in anticipation of this rededication the people of this beautiful community, packed the main hall to celebrate yet another milestone in their history. The Community Centre Building and land is about 1.5 acres and is situated at #2 Prince Albert Street, bounded on the south by the Pleasantville Government Primary School, on the west by the Pleasantville Sporting Complex and on the north by the Pleasantville Health Facility.
In 1960 the then Texaco Credit Union built houses for their employees in Cedar Drive, Teak End and Hibiscus Drive. These residents formed an organization to plan activities and programmes for the community. They met at their homes and then at the Pleasantville Government Primary School. On July 27th 1964 the Pleasantville Community Council was formed. Approaches were then made for a common location for people to commune and in short order then MP Gerard Montano turned the sod for the first centre which was built under the gayap concept. According to Ms. Claire Lares, Secretary of the Pleasantville Village Council, the “centre continues to be a home for many” including the Police Youth Club, homework centre, gym, extracurricular activities and community education classes.
His Worship the Mayor, Alderman Junia Regrello, was in awe of the refurbishments and encouraged the community to utilize the space to improve the soul of Pleasantville. Much along the same vein MP for San Fernando East and Minister of Housing and Urban Development, the Honourable Randall Mitchell, paid homage to his predecessors especially the role played by former MP and Prime Minister, the late Patrick Manning. For MP Mitchell, it was an honour to serve the people of Pleasantville and he told those present that “we are all here for a time; time borrowed from the future generation.” He reminded them that they had all the physical amenities a community could ask for; four schools, a Health Centre, a Shopping Plaza, a Technological Centre and a major Sporting Arena. He however questioned, “with all these amenities, why do we have problems with youth delinquency?” MP Mitchell postulated that what was missing was the need to get back to that place where the “community raised the child.”
In her feature address, Dr. the Honourable Nyan Gadsby-Dolly expressed the sentiments that “I know with this refurbished centre, there is a renewed spirit in Pleasantville, one of self-confidence in your abilities – a “can do” philosophy – which will bring you to new levels of achievement.” Minister Gadsby-Dolly also took the opportunity to congratulate the community on their successes as persons who participated in the Best Village Trophy Competition have gone on scholarship to the USA to study dance.
She therefore said in light of this, “I challenge you to get involved and maximize the opportunities this space provides to produce the next generation of T&T’s performing artistes.” She challenged them to sow deep roots and reassured them of the support of the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, “whether through the Community Education Programme, Best Village, the Music Schools, Technical Camps, Mentoring by the Masters, whatever programme you choose, you have the power and the opportunity to make your potential endless.”