Chaguanas

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Chaguanas
Borough of Chaguanas
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Chaguanas Main Road and Price Plaza
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Chaguanas
Location of Chaguanas, Trinidad and Tobago.
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Chaguanas
Chaguanas (Caribbean)
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Chaguanas
Chaguanas (North America)
Coordinates: 10°31′N61°24′W / 10.517°N 61.400°W / 10.517; -61.400 Coordinates: 10°31′N61°24′W / 10.517°N 61.400°W / 10.517; -61.400
CountryFlag of Trinidad and Tobago.svg  Trinidad and Tobago
Jurisdiction Borough of Chaguanas
Settled1797
Borough13 September 1990
Named for Chaguanes indigenous tribe
Government
  Governing bodyChaguanas Borough Corporation
  MayorFaaiq Mohammed (UNC)
  Deputy MayorMarisa Vidya Ramlogan (UNC)
Borough Corporation seats8 electoral districts
House seats 2/41
Area
   Borough 59 km2 (23 sq mi)
Elevation
[1]
48 m (157 ft)
Population
 (2011)
   Borough 83,489
  Rank 1st
  Density1,416/km2 (3,670/sq mi)
   Urban
101,297
Demonym(s) Chaguanans
Time zone UTC-4 (AST)
Postal Code
50xxxx, 52xxxx [2]
Area code(s) (868) [3]
ISO 3166 code TT-CHA
Telephone Exchanges 665, 671, 672, 829
Website www.chaguanasborough.com
HDI The HDI for Trinidad and Tobago is 0.814, which gives the country a rank of 19th out of 177 countries with data (2007/2008) – high

The Borough of Chaguanas is the largest borough [4] (83,489 at the 2011 census) and fastest-growing [5] [6] town in Trinidad and Tobago. Located in west-central Trinidad, south of Port of Spain, north of Couva and San Fernando, named after the indigenous tribe who originally settled there, it grew in size due to its proximity to the Woodford Lodge sugar refinery. It remained a minor town until the 1980s when it began to grow rapidly as it drew people for its bargain shopping and moderately priced housing. Its rapid growth has seen property values increase dramatically, however. [5]

Contents

Chaguanas became a borough in 1990; prior to that, it was part of the Caroni County. The current mayor is Faaiq Mohammed, and the Borough Council has historically been dominated by the United National Congress. [7] Chaguanas has also been a hub for Indo-Trinidadian and Tobagonian culture and even the broader Indo-Caribbean culture.

History

Chaguanas was named for the Chaguanes Amerindian tribe. [8] The area was settled by the time of the British conquest of Trinidad in 1797 (see History of Trinidad and Tobago ). The town originated on what was then H.E. Robinson's sugar estate adjacent to the Woodford Lodge sugar refinery and the De Verteuil coconut and cocoa estate to the north and east. It was sold over to the now defunct Caroni (1975) Ltd when sugar was the main export commodity for Trinidad and Tobago, and was part of the Woodford Lodge Estate, which is home to several buildings, including the homes of several ex-Caroni workers. Construction of the Trinidad Government Railway helped the town grow.

The Princess Margaret Highway, built by the US military during World War II, joined the Southern Main Road at Chaguanas. Construction of the Sir Solomon Hochoy Highway extended the highway south to San Fernando. The Carlsen Air Force Base was a former United States Army Air Forces World War II airbase constructed in Carlsen Field in 1942, consisting of two landing strips, "Edinburgh" and "Xerxes". The airbase also included an emergency landing strip, "Tobago". Edinburgh Field became the principal combat base for USAAF bombers and Naval airships on Trinidad as well as Navy fighters with a complex of runways and taxiways that surpassed even Waller Field. This lasted until 3 November 1943 when, it was renamed Carlsen Field. It was also used by the Royal Air Force and was defended by US Army infantry and AA units. When the Navy began lighter-than-air operations in the Caribbean in the fall of 1943, the 80th Seabees were brought in to build a station at Carlsen Field. To supplement the eight Army-owned buildings taken over by the Navy, the 80th Battalion built a large, steel blimp hangar, a mooring circle, paved runways, a helium-purification plant, and other operational appurtenances. The facility was formally disestablished on 1950, and today the former air and naval airship base has been turned into a dairy and agricultural area south of Chaguanas and is all but unrecognisable. Much of the former airfield area is owned by National Flour Mills (NFM) and the only remnants of the base are the name of the area in south Chaguanas, along with streets named "Edinburgh" and "Xerxes".

In the later 20th century Chaguanas grew rapidly as a bazaar town. The construction of Lange Park in the early 1980s attracted a middle-class community moving south from Port of Spain and the East–West Corridor and north from San Fernando. Its central location made it attractive to southerners working in north Trinidad and northerners looking for more affordable homes. Over the years, there has been an increase in the number of Afro-Trinidadian persons joining the mostly Indo-Trinidadian community of Chaguanas, primarily through the construction of National Housing Authority (now the Housing Development Corporation) residential housing, such as Edinburgh 500. Orchard Gardens was constructed as an upper middle class community, and Lange Park (which originally and continues to have a number of civil servants) gradually gentrified.

Also, despite Couva's historical legacy within the Caroni County, as Chaguanas has evolved and expanded significantly to become the de facto administrative and commercial capital of Central Trinidad, Couva's character has now changed to become a magnet for industrialisation, sports, health, education, commercial, aviation and residential activities.

In October 1990 Chaguanas was elevated to the status of borough under the provisions of the Municipal Corporations Act No. 21 of 1990. [6]

Geography

Chaguanas is low-lying and is just upstream from the Caroni Swamp. The Caparo River runs through the town. The Chaguanas Main Road runs East to West from Felicity to Longdenville. The Southern Main Road (SMR) from Busy Corner (part of which includes the Chaguanas Main Road from Busy Corner to Montrose Junction) runs south to San Fernando. The North-South Highways begins and ends at the flyover in Chaguanas, just east of the SMR West of the SMR, Perseverance Road continues south from Railway Road onto Orange Field Road.

Climate

Chaguanas has a lowland seasonal tropical climate with a wet season lasting from June to November and a dry season lasting from January to May. Unlike Port of Spain, Chaguanas has a usually hot and sweltering climate year round, with an exception for the wet season.

Urban structure

Chaguanas is bounded to the north by Munroe Road, to the east by the Gandia River, to the south by the Honda River and to the west by the Gulf of Paria.

The town is bisected by the Sir Solomon Hochoy Highway and Uriah Butler Highway.

Chaguanas consists of the following main population centres:

Governance

The Chaguanas Borough Corporation (CBC) is a local government authority and was incorporated on 13 September 1990 by Municipal Corporation Act 21 of 1990. The CBC is governed by the Act 21 of 1990 of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. In 2013, the Chaguanas Borough Corporation moved into its new administrative building situated in Success Street, Woodforde Lodge.

Chaguanas Borough Council has eight electoral district councillors and four aldermen selected through a proportional representation methodology. The mayor and deputy mayor are then selected. The electoral districts are: Felicity/Endeavour; Enterprise South; Edinburgh/Longdenville; Enterprise North; Charlieville; Montrose; Monroe Road/Caroni Savannah Road; and Cunupia.

Chaguanas comprises (wholly or in part) the following parliamentary electoral districts: Chaguanas West; Chaguanas East, Couva North, Caroni Central, and Caroni East.

Economy

Market on Chaguanas Main Road TnT Chaguanas 8.jpg
Market on Chaguanas Main Road

Chaguanas developed as a market town and still attracts bargain shoppers. Much of Chaguanas' development has centred around the Chaguanas Main Road where numerous shopping plazas have been constructed. The Chaguanas Main Road (east of the Chaguanas flyover) continued to develop, primarily through small and medium size businesses, to fulfill the expanding population centres.

Retail development expanded with the construction of three malls in the downtown in the 1980s (Centre City, Mid Centre and Ramsaran Plaza, later to become Centre Pointe Mall). Centre City Mall has been significantly renovated and there are future plans to expand further to become the largest mall in the Caribbean. It will feature two major buildings, one near to the Uriah Butler Highway and another close to the centre of Chaguanas, joined by an enclosed walkover above the Mulchan Seuchan Link Road.

Shopping Mall on De Verteuil Street De Verteuil Street, Chaguanas, TTO.jpg
Shopping Mall on De Verteuil Street

More recently, construction of Price Plaza in Endeavour expanded upscale retail opportunities. Price Plaza includes a warehouse-style store PriceSmart, TGI Friday's and Ruby Tuesday restaurants, a food court, SuperPharm, as well as many other retail outlets. MovieTowne is situated in Price Plaza. Adjoining to the Price Plaza complex are other restaurants and bars, e.g. Woodford Cafe, Wild Olive Restaurant, and Hollywood Grill.

A new shopping complex is planned to be built in 2013–15 in the Brentwood planned housing and commercial development.

ABEL or Alstons Building Enterprises Limited is a member of the ANSA McAl Group of Companies and is situated in Longdenville. It is the largest manufacturer of clay building blocks and Metpro steel and aluminium windows and doors and Astralite and Spectra uPVC windows and doors in the English-speaking Caribbean.

Chaguanas has also developed into a financial centre. The Unit Trust Corporation (UTC), First Citizens Bank (FCB), Sagicor, Republic Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, Scotiabank, RBTT, and the Bank of Baroda all have major corporate offices in Chaguanas.

The dissolution of the state-owned sugar company, Caroni (1975) Limited, had a profound effect on Chaguanas, since this company was a major employer.

Demographics

Chaguanas has grown rapidly from a small village to the largest city in Trinidad and Tobago. Chaguanas has historically been considered an Indo-Trinidadian city through its original villages (such as Edinburgh village, Felicity, Charlieville, Chandernagore, Chase Village, St. Thomas, Montrose, and Endeavour), but as it has grown it has become more multi-racial. Enterprise is a historically Afro-Trinidadian village that has been absorbed into the growing city of Chaguanas. Also, Edinburgh 500 and other associated governmental housing developments are also largely Afro-Trinidadian.

Historical populations
YearPop.±%
1980 6,177    
1988 8,000+29.5%
2000 61,897+673.7%
2011 83,489+34.9%

Race

Borough of Chaguanas racial breakdown
Racial composition2011 [9]
Indian 53.5%
African 25.3%
Multiracial 9.3%
Dougla (Indian and African)7.03%
European 0.1%
Chinese 0.2%
Native American (Amerindian) 0.06%
Arab (Syrian/Lebanese) 0.02%
Other0.15%
Not stated4%

Culture and entertainment

Scenery/attractions

The Lion House also known as Anand Bhavan, is the ancestral home of the Capildeo family and is the birthplace of Nobel Prize–winning author V.S. Naipaul is located in Chaguanas. This is generally assumed to be the model for Hanuman House in Naipaul's A House for Mr Biswas , with Chaguanas as the model for Arwacas

The Caroni Swamp, the largest mangrove wetland in Trinidad and Tobago, is located just north and west of the town. The swamp is a popular tourist attraction and roosting ground for the scarlet ibis, national bird of Trinidad and Tobago.

The Divali Nagar site, located in northern Chaguanas, is a major attraction in the period just before Diwali. The village of Felicity, on the western end of Chaguanas, is famous for its elaborate Diwali celebrations.

Media

The Trinidad Publishing Company (TTSE: TPCL), the country's oldest and most established publisher of the Trinidad Guardian newspaper, constructed its printing facility for the Newspaper division of Trinidad Publishing Company Limited, of the ANSA McAL Group's Media Sector, in the vicinity of Chaguanas flyover.

HCU Communications Limited (now defunct) was based in Chaguanas. It operated a radio station (Win Radio 101.1 FM), was home of television station (WIN TV) From early 2007, it also published three weekly newspapers, The Probe, Uhuru and Bollywood Today.

Entertainment

The town includes numerous malls (such as Price Plaza, Xtra Plaza, Mid Centre Mall & Centre Pointe Mall) and associated restaurants and bars. Also, a number of areas in Chaguanas are now quickly developing into entertainment areas, such as Rodney Road, Endeavour with The Rise, Law 5, Double R, and others.

Infrastructure

Health

The Chaguanas District Hospital is located in Montrose Chaguanas (along the Southern Main Road). Inclusive of the district health facility, a private hospital (Medical Associates) situated in the vicinity of the Chaguanas flyover was opened in 2012. Other small privately run health facilities are located throughout Chaguanas and its environs.

The Caroni County Medical Officers of Health (CMOH), of which Chaguanas falls under, is situated on the Southern Main Road in Couva. The CMOH are responsible for insect-vector control and septic leakage complaints.

Education

The Borough is host to many prominent primary and secondary schools. Notable primary schools include Montrose Vedic in Downtown Chaguanas, and Montrose Government in Lange Park.

The Presentation College, Chaguanas is a Roman Catholic secondary school in Chaguanas and is the brother school of Presentation College, San Fernando. It was regarded the best performing high school in Trinidad and Tobago throughout its history, and in particular within its recent history being awarded the country's President's medal for best performing student multiple times (5 times in a row).

The University of the West Indies (UWI) Esmond D Ramesar Open Campus will be constructed along the Narsaloo Ramaya Road in Chaguanas.

Transport

Chaguanas is an important transportation hub. Buses, taxis and maxi-taxis connect Chaguanas with Port of Spain, San Fernando, Curepe and Couva, and smaller settlements around central Trinidad.

Given the town's origin as a village and its generally unplanned rapid growth into the country's largest town (by population), Chaguanas is continuously plagued by traffic problems despite numerous attempts of alternative traffic management schemes. This traffic congestion is now considered as a threat to future growth of the Borough.

Sports

The main sporting venue in Chaguanas is the Central Regional Indoor Sport Arena Hall at Saith Park. Smaller recreation grounds (e.g. Woodforde Lodge, Avinash Samaroo ground) and cricket pitches (Pierre Road) are scattered throughout the borough, but no larger sporting venues are located within the town. The town leverages the infrastructure from other towns such as Couva's Ato Boldon Stadium or Sevilla golf course, also located in Couva.

Utilities

Electric generation is handled by Powergen, while electrical distribution is handled by the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC). Chaguanas does not contain its own power generation facilities.

Water and sewerage are under the purview of the Water and Sewerage Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (WASA).

The town is served by all major telecommunication (including cable, satellite) companies, e.g. TSTT, Flow, DirectTV, Digicel Play (Digicel) and Greendot.

Notable persons

Sister city

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San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago City in City of San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago

San Fernando, officially the City of San Fernando, is the most populous city and second most populous municipality in Trinidad and Tobago, after Chaguanas. Sando, as it is also known, occupies 19 km² and is located in the southwestern part of the island of Trinidad. It is bounded to the north by the Guaracara River, the south by the Oropouche River, the east by the Sir Solomon Hochoy Highway, and the west by the Gulf of Paria. The former borough was elevated to the status of a city corporation on 18 November 1988. The motto of San Fernando is: "Sanitas Fortis" - In a Healthy Environment We Will Find Strength. Many local Trinidadians refer to the city with the shortened name "Sando." San Fernando is called Trinidad and Tobago's "industrial capital" because of its proximity to the Pointe-à-Pierre oil refinery and many other petrochemical, LNG, iron and steel and aluminium smelters in places such as Point Lisas in Couva, Point Fortin, and La Brea.

Caroni County

Caroni County is a historic county of Trinidad and Tobago. It occupies 557 km2 (215 sq mi) in the west central part of the island of Trinidad, the larger island in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. It lies south and southwest of Saint George County, west of Nariva County and north of Victoria County. To the west it is bounded by the Gulf of Paria. County Caroni includes the towns of Chaguanas, the largest town in the country and Couva, the capital of the Couva–Tabaquite–Talparo region. Administratively it is divided between the Borough of Chaguanas, the Couva–Tabaquite–Talparo Regional Corporation and the Tunapuna–Piarco Regional Corporation. The county was divided into four Wards: Chaguanas, Couva, Cunupia and Montserrat. The major towns of County Caroni are Chaguanas and Couva. The port and industrial zone of Point Lisas is located in Caroni, and the region is also a site for agriculture.

Rudranath Capildeo was an Trinidadian and Tobagonian politician and mathematician. He was a member of the prominent Hindu Indo-Trinidadian Capildeo family. He was the leader of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) from 1960 to 1969 and the first Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of the independent Trinidad and Tobago from 1962 to 1967, succeeding his older brother Simbhoonath Capildeo who was the last Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council of British Trinidad and Tobago. He was also a faculty member at the University of London, eventually holding the position of Reader of Mathematics. He was awarded the Trinity Cross, the nation's highest award, in 1969.

Couva Town in Couva–Tabaquite–Talparo, Trinidad and Tobago

Couva is an urban town in west-central Trinidad, south of Port of Spain and Chaguanas and north of San Fernando and Point Fortin. It is the capital and main urban centre of Couva–Tabaquite–Talparo, and the Greater Couva area includes the Point Lisas Industrial Estate and the Port of Point Lisas. It is one of the fastest growing towns in the country. Couva's southern boundary is at the village of California & Point Lisas, and to the north Couva stretches to McBean. To the east of Couva is Preysal. To the west of Couva is the road to Waterloo and Carli Bay, which are located on the Gulf of Paria. Couva was part of the Caroni County. Couva is considered a major power base for the United National Congress (UNC), whose headquarters were previously located here.

Divali Nagar

Divali Nagar is an annual exposition of Hindu culture (broadly) and Indo-Trinidadian culture (specifically), it is associated with the celebration of Diwali in Trinidad and Tobago. The exposition is staged at the Divali Nagar Site, located in the borough of Chaguanas. This event was started in the Mid Centre Mall car park in late 1986. It was given a permanent site on the John Peters Road Extension off the Uriah Butler Highway a couple of years after.

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The Uriah Butler Highway, sometimes referred to as UBH, is one of the major north-south highways on Trinidad in Trinidad and Tobago.

Simbhoonath Capildeo

Simbhoonath Capildeo was a prominent lawyer and politician in Trinidad and Tobago. He was the elder brother of Rudranath Capildeo and uncle of Nobel laureate Sir Vidia "V. S." Naipaul and Shiva Naipaul. He was father to two sons, Surendranath and Devendranath Capildeo and a daughter, Sita Capildeo. Capildeo was one of the founding members of the Democratic Labour Party and a member of parliament from 1956 to 1966, becoming known as "the Lion of the Legislative Council". He served as the Leader of the Opposition in 1956. Capildeo was also an important leader of the Hindu community in Trinidad and played in role in the foundation of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha and the Bhadase Sagan Maraj. In 1989 he was awarded the Chaconia Gold Medal by the Trinidad and Tobago government, honoring his service to the country.

Couva–Tabaquite–Talparo Region

Couva–Tabaquite–Talparo is one of the nine regions of Trinidad and Tobago, and one of the five regions which form Gulf of Paria coastline on Trinidad's West Coast. Its regional capital and commercial center is Couva. Couva–Tabaquite–Talparo is the third-largest of Trinidad and Tobago's nine regions, with an area of 723 square kilometres (300 sq mi). As of 2011, the population was 178,410. The region is the second-most populous and fourth-least-densely populated region in Trinidad with 247 inhabitants per square kilometre (640/sq mi).

Southern Main Road

The Southern Main Road is a major road in Trinidad and Tobago running from Curepe in the north through Chaguanas, Couva, San Fernando, and Point Fortin to Icacos in the southwest.

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Capildeo family

The Capildeo family is an Indo-Trinidadian and Tobagonian family of Hindu pundits, politicians, and writers. The most notable members are 2001 Nobel laureate V. S. Naipaul and mathematician and politician Rudranath Capildeo. The ancestral home of the Capildeo family is known as Anand Bhavan and is in Chaguanas, Caroni County, Trinidad and Tobago. No-one today knows how the name Kapil transformed into Capildeo. It is possible that Kapil added dev, meaning God, from his village's name of Mahadeva Dubey to his name. Transliteration from Hindi to English was not well developed in the 19th century and words were spelt differently then from the way they are now. Thus, Kapil was changed to Capil and dev to deo, giving Kapil's descendants the surname of Capildeo.

Lange Park is the oldest planned premium residential community in Chaguanas, Trinidad and Tobago.

References

  1. "Elevation of Chaguanas,Trinidad and Tobago Elevation Map, Topo, Contour". floodmap.net. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  2. "List of Postal Districts". TTPOST. 29 July 2018. Retrieved 29 July 2018.[ permanent dead link ]
  3. http://www.tntisland.com/tsttexchange.html
  4. Table from 2000 Census on Central Statistical Office of Trinidad and Tobago website
  5. 1 2 Chaguanas – Trinidad’s fastest growing town Archived 30 July 2020 at the Wayback Machine – Afra Raymond, 29 July 2004.
  6. 1 2 The Borough of Chaguanas – the Fastest Growing Commercial Centre Archived 7 November 2006 at the Wayback Machine Trinidad Guardian , 1 October 1998
  7. http://guardian.co.tt/news/2013-11-09/unc-rules-chaguanas
  8. Nobel LectureV.S. Naipaul, 2001
  9. Central Statistical Office. "NON-INSTITUTIONAL POPULATION BY SEX, AGE GROUP, ETHNIC GROUP AND MUNICIPALITY" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 October 2017. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  10. Sam Eifling (11 March 2004). "A Worldly Pitch". New Times. p. 3. Archived from the original on 16 February 2015. Retrieved 16 July 2007.