Life & Development in Point Fortin:
Silver Jubilee Borough Day Celebrations 2005
Atlantic LNG Train 4
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Marlon Richardson Speaks - Pt 7
April 26, 2005
I learned to play sports at a place that was called 'Location', there was a derrick, and it was fenced with sand around it and it was smooth. We would play 'small goal', and we would put up a basketball post and play there. My father is a retired police officer, my mother was a housewife and I could always say she was a loving woman. I have three brothers and we grew up in Parrylands. There was a dam where we used to go and fish and make a little cook in the Lotting area. We had several little areas that we would play in, but we always grew up with loyalty to the village. Everyone who was in the village, and older than you, was either your aunty or your uncle. I grew up with my next-door neighbor Aunty Eltin. The entire village called my grandmother, mama, and my uncle Willie, is uncle to everybody. You always paid homage to your elders. If an old lady calls you and you refuse to go and help her, you couldn't go home or your bottom will be 'roasted'. I remembered when the elders called you, you would go in and they would ask you do some chores, and very often they would give you a little rock cake and the Solo sweet drink with the space man on it.
All families were big back then. In fact I have a cousin who is no relation to me. The story with that is; one day my grandmother was tying a cow with my cousin, and this old lady and her son were walking down the road after work, when a boy saw her son and said; 'that is my brother' and started crying, and would not let go of him. My grandmother then adopted that boy just like that; both he and my cousin are now grown up. Things like that have happened all over. For instance, somebody would die and the next-door neighbor would adopt that person as his or her son. That is the kind of tradition in the community that really survived.
There is a lady who I love very much and her name is aunty Eltin Ogis. She managed a national netball team for a while. If I didn't like what my mother cooked, I would go over by aunty Eltin and eat. I still get my sponge cake from her every year. I have a godmother who I will visit, and I can sit down there whole day if I do not feel to go home. It is really an extended kind of family. I can go into any of the fellahs homes, and we would sit and lime and call each other on the phone. Though some have moved on, our wild meat and dumpling limes continue.
Hunting was part of the tradition too. You would hunt for iguana, manicoo, squirrel and deer. The guys would go and hunt and come back and cook what was caught. If you go to any village in Point Fortin, you will hear the similar stories - in New Village, Warden Road, Cape de Ville, and Fanny Village. These are the real stories of Trinidad. My passion is in Point Fortin. I would not move from Point Fortin for anything. Even people who have left Point Fortin have that kind of fierce loyalty to the place. There are a lot of people who have left for years and came back. I know a couple - the Juliens, and they lived in the states for many years and came right back home. So most people ended right back here.
Unfortunately, our Clifton Hill beach is lost because of the Atlantic LNC. When they docked the harbour, the tidal movements destroyed the Clifton Hill beach, which was one of the most beautiful beaches in Trinidad. That is one of the greatest sore points with regards to Atlantic LNG in Point Fortin. That is why I am very careful with regards to the development of Point Fortin into a city. We used to play small goal there, and I remember we used to walk from Parrylands to Clifton Hill beach, take a bath and walk back home, which was about eight miles. Everybody was fit. With regards to losing Clifton Hill beach, it is really a sore point to the elders in Point Fortin, because that is what they grew up with. When that was lost, the people of Point Fortin were hurt immensely, and the hurt is still there.
The price of economic progress is sometimes extremely high. Though LNG has created a lot of employment, there is an imbalance with giving and taking.
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