By Louis B Homer
Trinidad Express Newspapers | Aug 7, 2011 at 11:42 PM ECT
As newly-elected Carib Queen Jennifer Cassar took up office on Saturday, she immediately called for the preservation of all special Amerindian sites in Trinidad.
In her maiden speech as head of the Santa Rosa First Peoples Carib Community, Cassar said: "I am emboldened to engage the attention of the authorities and the national community on the preservation of Corita, a petroglyphics stone at Maracas St Joseph, site of the old church at Caura Valley, Banwarie site in south Trinidad, and La Venezuela Statue on Old Santa Cruz Road."
She said the positive contributions made by their forefathers to the development of these areas have been largely ignored, and the history of Trinidad and Tobago has been no different.
Cassar said her first step would be the realisation of a heritage village which is critical to the preservation of Carib culture, spiritual traditions, and the social and economic development of young people.
She said Government has agreed to grant the community 25 acres of land on Blanchisseuse Road.
"My first duty will be to pursue discussions with the Cabinet-appointed committee to complete the paper work to officially hand over the land to the community next year."
She said the village will be used as a catalyst to generate employment, provide food security and the understanding of indigenous food and craft, create an environment for the education of children, create a museum to showcase the diversity of the nation, and to develop activities in eco- tourism and sustainable business activities.
Cassar, a descendant from a full Carib bloodline from Guyana, was inaugurated as the new Carib Queen at a colourful ceremony during Holy Mass at Santa Rosa Roman Catholic Church, Arima, in the presence of members of the Carib community and officials from the Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism and various organisations.
Minister Winston Peters was represented at the historic ceremony by Permanent Secretary Jennifer Jones.
Following her anointment by Monsignor Allan Ventour, parish priest of Arima, the community's new banner was blessed and Cassar was presented to the congregation, with loud acclamation from members of the community, as their fifth Queen of the Carib Community of Santa Rosa.
Her predecessor, Valentina Medina, died recently after serving as queen for 11 years.