In the 2005 Budget Speech to the Parliament, the Honourable Prime Minister acknowledged that Laventille and its environs were among the most depressed areas in the country characterized by high rates of crime and unemployment and with many of its residents living in sub-standard conditions. East Port-of-Spain was therefore declared a Special Development Zone, in which special attention was to be paid to the economic and social challenges faced by its residents. The ultimate goal is the achievement of the reduction of regional disparities and the creation of sustainable communities as prescribed in the Vision 2020 philosophy.
Cabinet Minute No. 2384 of September 15, 2005 agreed to the incorporation of the East Port-of-Spain Development Company as a Limited Liability Company, wholly owned by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago.
The company’s mandate is:
To develop and redevelop a zone in East Port-of-Spain, bounded by Charlotte Street, Lady Young Road and the Eastern Main Road and including Morvant, Never Dirty and Caledonia, to improve the economic, social and physical environment of those areas.
The boundaries of the area under the purview of the company were subsequently expanded to include the communities of Beetham Gardens, Sea Lots and Katanga. The area henceforth referred to as the Metropolitan District of East Port of Spain is shown in Figure 1.1
The East Port of Spain Strategic Development Plan was informed by stakeholder consultations, field/ landuse surveys, secondary data collection, data analysis and review of earlier plans and their relevant policies and strategies.
Secondary data was obtained from the 2000 Population and Housing Census published by the Ministry of Planning and Development (Central Statistical Office), the only official source of Census data for Trinidad and Tobago. While the data is somewhat dated (seven years old) it remains the only comprehensive source of socio-economic data that is disaggregated for all communities in East Port of Spain and represents the entire population rather than a sample survey. The sixteen (16) communities identified by the CSO formed the basis for preliminary data collection analysis. However, more detailed spatial analyses resulted in a regrouping of communities into nineteen (19) urban villages which are used as the basis for further analyses and data presentation.
The methodology employed in preparing the Plan reflects the simple and traditional approach which involved:
Conducting demographic, socio-economic physical and land use surveys using primary sources, document review and interviews to determine existing conditions, needs and challenges in East Port of Spain;
Establishing models of community structure and service provision based on national development goals and the expressed wishes of the residents and stakeholders of East Port of Spain;
Conducting Gap Analyses to determine deficiencies between ideal and existing conditions;
Formulating appropriate strategies for achieving desired changes and identifying development; actions/projects to improve local conditions and circumstances.
The Strategic Development Planning Process.