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Maloney overpass opened at Liberation Day celebrations
Jubilation reigned in the Spiritual Baptist camp after the $7.1 million Maloney pedestrian overpass and its attendant $11.6 million access road project leading to St Barbara’s Spiritual Baptist Primary School, were officially declared open yesterday. The occasion was the Council of Elders 14th Anniversary of Shouter Baptist Liberation Day Celebration held at the Spiritual Shouter Baptist Empowerment Hall, Churchill Roosevelt Highway, Maloney.
Among those present were National Diversity and Social Integration Minister Clifton De Coteau, Works Minister Emmanuel George and Arts and Multiculturalism Minister Dr Lincoln Douglas. They were joined by Archbishop Barbara Gray-Burke, Arouca/Maloney MP Alicia Hospedales, Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation CEO Khadijah Ameen, and IRO president Harrypersad Maharaj.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar was billed to deliver the feature address but failed to attend the event.
Archbishop Gray-Burke said a prayer for Persad-Bissessar. De Couteau represented her.
The theme of its commemoration was “Peter, upon this rock I shall build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
De Coteau said: “The opening of this overpass was another example of the continued co-operation between Government and the Shouter Baptist community. Although the overpass benefits the general public, Government was particularly concerned for the safety of the children, teachers and parents of children attending St Barbara’s. The walk-over also offers a safe route for pedestrians wishing to cross the highway to access the Maloney Gardens Housing Development, the new primary school, Arawak and Company Ltd and the Forestry Division facility.”
De Coteau added: “The new road provides access to lands used by the Forestry Division of the Ministry of Housing and the Environment, and in the future it will provide access to lands earmarked for development in the area.”
George urged them to be safety-conscious and strive to be good citizens. He also said there were numerous calls for infrastructure like bridges. At times, water posed a challenge.
Calls for secondary school
Earlier on, De Coteau said he heard Baptists “call for a secondary school and serious consideration is being given to this request.”
He said Government was committed to education. To date five children from the primary school have written SEA.
“I understand Archbishop Burke has been meeting with state officials and every effort is being made to bring to reality another dream. For many of us, education is the path out of poverty and an opportunity for a better life for ourselves and our families. At the national level, a well-educated population means a more knowledgeable, diversified and skilled workforce which is able to support the developmental goals.”
Saying it was important to build schools and walkovers, De Coteau admitted the fight against crime was of paramount importance. “We need to bring everyone on board in the fight against crime. We have 5,000 soldiers whom we pay $1 billion for, every year.
We have a crime problem that is just out of control when it comes to murders. Yes, we have reduced the serious crimes but we need to do more.”
On a personal note, De Couteau complimented Spiritual Baptists for their tenacity.
“Nothing will hold you back or keep you down. No obstacle will be too great for you to surmount. No pain or suffering will be too much for you to bear.”