When Vision Becomes A Reality-The Case of Fazal Karim and MTEST In Chaguanas
LETTER TO EDITOR
With the opening of the COSTAATT Chaguanas Campus I wish to extend warmest congratulations to my colleague Fazal Karim Former Minister in the Kamla Persad-Bissessar Administration for his foresight and determination to make Chaguanas an Educational City. With this campus that area has also benefitted from Mr. Karim’s work in the form of the NESC Campus at Woodford Lodge (specializing in Heavy equipment training, automotive repairs and heavy mechanical repairs). On the NESC compound is also to be found buildings dedicated to YTEPP where training in culinary arts among others would have started. Housed there also is a fully equipped mobile bus which is supposed to go around the Country training people in cosmetology. Next to the new COSTATT Campus is the OJT Headquarters as well as a building dedicated to Training of Human Resources for Supermarkets and other food service outlets.
Work was also started at Soogrim Trace east of the MTEST building for the Open Campus called the Esmond D Ramesar campus.
I make reference to all of this since it is very gratifying to see my vision for Chaguanas while I was a Mayor (2006-2009) emerging as a place to study, live and work being realized. In this regard, one has to acknowledge Karim’s vision in the establishment of the UTT Campus at Monroe Road, the M-TEST (now Agriculture next to Divali Nagar) and the NTA Building on Mulchan Sieuchan Road as well as the Aviation Campus and the Energy Campus at PT Lisas as other important Institutions in the transformation of Chaguanas and by extension Central Trinidad into a convenient and affordable Educational Centre.
Chaguanas has always had the potential to fulfil this role which in the early years saw successful schools devoted to the training of students in ACCA and Law. Praise is therefore due to Gail Narinesingh (Law) and Wahid Omardeen (Accountancy) as well as to Ms. Shoba Bedassie in her establishment of one of the most successful private secondary schools in Trinidad. Of course Chaguanas has always been on the Education Map with the performance of students at Presentation College and several Primary Schools.
Fazal Karim’s work as a Minister must not go unnoticed and one hopes that at a time when this Country needs to earn valuable Foreign Exchange that these Institutions can market spaces to Foreign Countries. We have the Human Resources and physical assets as well as a reputation to achieve this. Let me also acknowledge the establishment of the campus in Sangre Grande under his tem.
As we speak of diversification and job creation let us not fall into the traditional trap of thinking of diversification only as physical products as a result of manufacturing. We should recognize that diversification involves the expansion of services.
In closing let us also hope that aggressive marketing efforts will be made to earn Foreign Exchange at the Aquatic Centre, the Tennis Centre and the National Cycling velodrome all world class facilities. For those who still wonder what the PP Government did I hope this provides at least an insight into the vision of the Kamla Persad-Bissessar Administration, a vision that is even more relevant at this point in time.