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Cooperation to develop cultural and economic ties between Castries and Point Fortin in Trinidad and Tobago was the aim of a recent twinning arrangement between these two Cities.
In a symbolic gesture to mark Saint Lucia’s National Day celebrations, on December 13, the two cities signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for a development path.
Mayor Clyde Anthony James from the Borough of Point Fortin signed the MOU after meeting Castries Mayor Geraldine Lendor-Gabriel.
Castries has entered into similar arrangements with Cities in Guadeloupe and Martinique.
The Saint Lucia capital also has a twinning arrangement with the Taiwanese capital of Taipei.
Minister of Housing and Local Government Richard Frederick disclosed that Saint Lucia received an ambulance from Guadeloupe due to the twinning arrangements.
“We twin the cities, so we become almost like brothers and sisters…and we exchange cultural activities,” Frederick told the Castries- Point Fortin twinning ceremony.
He said an open relationship has developed with the n’friendly cities’ that would result in greater cooperation.
Point Fortin, the smallest Borough in Trinidad and Tobago, lies in southwestern Trinidad, about 32km (20m) southwest of San Fernando, in the historic county of Saint Patrick.
After the discovery of oil in 1906, the town grew into a major centre.
The town grew with the oil industry between the 1940s and 1980s production centre, rising to borough status in 1980.
“You and I are going to be sharing a lot of ideas, cultural ideas, intellectual ideas …and we are willing to exchange these ideas for the betterment for both of our countries,” Point Fortin Mayor ClydeJames declared.
“We have a lot to give Castries and we have a lot to learn from Castries …and we are looking forward to this,” the Point Fortin Mayor noted.
James invited the Castries Constituency Council (CCC) representatives to visit Point Fortin, as “there is a beacon of culture in Trinidad and Tobago”.
He described one of the festivals held in Point Fortin “as the best in Trinidad”, with month-long celebrations.
He said the city of Castries could use the Point Fortin festival to savour the entertainment and to enhance Saint Lucia’s tourism product.
Mayor Lendor-Gabriel said the two parties held “fruitful discussions” about widening collaboration opportunities.
She noted that the economic development in Point Fortin, through its oil industry, “has allowed us to look at that particular borough and learn from some of the experiences that can come out of understanding the people.”
“As a council we place emphasis on music and music development among the young persons,” she explained.
“And Point Fortin also has a very rich history of music …and, as well, it is considered to be the ‘Cultural Capital’ of Trinidad and Tobago,” the Castries Mayor added.
“We see great opportunity for us to learn from them,”she explained.