Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago

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Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago
The District of St.James
St. James, Port of Spain, Trinidad, in 1998.
St. James, Port of Spain, Trinidad, in 1998.
Coordinates: 10°40′N 61°31′W / 10.667°N 61.517°W / 10.667; -61.517Coordinates: 10°40′N 61°31′W / 10.667°N 61.517°W / 10.667; -61.517
Country Trinidad and Tobago
County Saint George County
City Port of Spain
Government
 • Mayor Louis Lee Sing (Mayor of Port of Spain City)
 • Governing body Port of Spain City Corporation
Time zone AST (UTC−4)
 • Summer (DST) DST (UTC-4)

St. James is a district of Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. The main road is the Western Main Road. It runs from Woodbrook to Cocorite. St. James is also known for its diverse mixture of cultural activities.[citation needed]

History[edit]

St. James became part of the city of Port-of-Spain in 1938.[1] Until 1992, the Civil Aviation Training Centre (CATC), now a unit of the Trinidad and Tobago Civil Aviation Authority, was located along Long Circular Road in St. James.[2]

Streets in St. James[edit]

Many of the streets of St. James were named after the "older names" of Indian cities such as "Agra; Baroda; Benares; Bengal; Bombay (Mumbai); Calcutta (Kolkata); Cawnpore; Delhi; Hyderabad; Lucknow; Madras; Nepaul; Nizam; and Patna.

There are also streets that are named after either English persons or places, such as Clarence Street, where an Anglican church and school are located.[3]

Military Cemetery, Crematorium, and other cemeteries[edit]

Within the boundaries of St. James are a military cemetery, two other cemeteries and a crematorium.

To understand the reason for the existence of the military cemetery, we look at the background to the establishment of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC)

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission,[4] which shows photos of the military cemetery in St James and which provides a list of the deceased and identifies the St. James Military Cemetery as a location for the deceased on its website, there are 40 casualties from World War I and II (whose names are listed at Memorial Park, off Queen's Park Savannah).[5]

In recent times, the Military cemetery has been used to bury persons who have died in the service of Trinidad and Tobago in the Defense Force, or the Army or the Coast Guard, to name a few of the services which protect and serve the country.

According to "BURIAL GROUNDS, CEMETERIES & CREMATION SITES (TRINIDAD) Arranged by Ward/District",[6] the names of the two other cemeteries which are located in St. James are as follows:

Western Cemetery, George Cabral Circular, Terre Brulee, St. James (This cemetery can be accessed from George Cabral Street, off WMR), and Mucurapo Cemetery, Panka Street, St. James.

According to the records which are available to the public, there is one famous person who has been buried at Western Cemetery, former president of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (from 1987 to 1997) Noor Hassanali.[7]

Woodbrook Cemetery, Mucurapo Road, St. James.[6] (This cemetery can be accessed off Panka Street, St James).

There are public records on some "eighty seven (87) persons who are buried at Mucurapo Cemetery over the years, some as early as 1936 - Ms Leonora Prince."[8] Perhaps one of the largest deaths on a single year are the "Whitlocks, where the parents and 3 children who were missionaries returning to Africa died in the same year, according to the tombstone".[9] Then there are the tombstones where the information is recorded in another language, perhaps that of the Jews - "Ernst Otto Fischer who was born in 1881 and who died in 1944"[10]

According to the cemetery records some of which are available online, there is at least one famous person who has been buried at this cemetery, "Beebe, Dr. Charles William b. July 29, 1877 d. June 4, 1962".[11]

Culture[edit]

Fast food - restaurants and other oOptions[edit]

The largest Pizza Hut in the world is located in Saint James on Tragarete Road.[12]

As of 2015–16, there are international fast-food restaurants which operate as franchises in St. James including KFC, Subway, Burger King and Papa John's[13] and local franchises such as Royal Castle, Rituals and Japs. Also, there are cooked items which are available either on the road side or in dining establishments, such as Hott Shoppe[14] Many of these food choices are either Indian or originating from a district in China.[15]

Within the last ten years or more to 2015/2016, Indian foods have been made available during the weeknights such as (dhal puri or dhosti) roti with a choice of curried meats and sea food with vegetables, and or bean. Some of the curried meats are as follows: chicken (bone or boneless or yardie (chicken raised in someone's yard possibly for the laying of eggs), duck, liver, beef and goat. Shrimp, lambie/conch[16] tends to be the sea foods that are offered for sale. The vegetables and bean, which are curried, except for pumpkin are as follows: potato, channa, bhagi, bodi, pumpkin. Recently curried soya has also become available in some stalls.

Available for sale on the weekend mornings are: doubles, fried aloo pies with channa and a choice of chutneys (coconut, tamarind, or mango) bhaignanee and saheena. These have become popular over the last ten years or so to 2015.

The Chinese-styled food have been available for at least 20 years and are offered either as stand alone or as a combination of items. There are noodles, rice, which are offered with or without vegetables and or meats. Many of the choices of meats may be cooked in a variety of sauces such as black bean, lemon, Chinese-style fried. The names of some of the dishes are Beef and Brocoli, Beef in Black Bean Sauce, Lemon Chicken, Cantonese Chicken, Pepper Shrimps, Vegetable Fried Rice, Chunky Vegetables, Chow Mein with Chicken. Also available are appetisers such as soups, wantons and spring rolls. The names of some of the appetisers are Chicken Corn Soup, Vegetable Soup, Wanton Soup, Wantons in Garlic Sauce, Fried Shrimp Wantons, Fried Chicken Wantons and Vegetable Spring Rolls.

Since the 1970's ice creams have been available for sale either from carts which are located on the pavements and recently they have become available from indoor locations. Some of the flavours of the ice creams are seasonal such as soursop, barbadeen, while some are local mixes such as cherry coconut, cherry pine, orange pine, rum n raisin, Guinness and peanut. There are also traditional flavours in which ice creams are available such as vanilla and chocolate.

Bakeries and other sources of ready-to-eat food[edit]

One of the prominent establishments which is located on the Western Main Road, St James, Linda's[17] represents a chain of bakeries which offer for sale: salads, pastries, dough products, cakes, and breads. The pastries and dough products are either savoury or sweet and are a mix of international and local items. Some of the sweet products are coconut turnovers (dough, filled with grated coconut cooked with spices and brown sugar), sweet bread (a bread made with coconut, dried fruits and other ingredients), banana bread, currant rolls (a flaky pastry with currants, with a rolling technique being used to prepare the product). The savoury products are slices of pizza, minced beef pastry pies, curry potato pastry pies. Cakes of all sizes and varieties are offered for sale. There is a choice of cup cakes which are elaborately decorated, eight inch sponge, chocolate or marble cake which are available as plain, frosted with buttercream or with icing applied to the cake.

Another chain of bakeries of excellence is Freddie's[18] which may have been in existence prior to the formation of Linda's and which offer almost all of the products which are offered by Linda's. However when it comes to bread, Freddie's is in a class by itself. The outlets offer white breads of different sizes, prices and textures. There is the "original" range of breads which are available in loaves of which there are at least two (2) sizes which are priced under TT$10.00. There are also whole wheat breads, hops bread, white and whole wheat and garlic bread which are available for sale.

Groceries, meat shops, greengrocers, and markets[edit]

Over the years, there have been several groceries which have either closed after a number of years, changed owners and, or have been rebranded, and, or remained open. As of 2000, several of the groceries are located either on the Western Main Road of St. James or on one of the side streets. Some of the older establishments are Woo Lings (1970s)[19] and The St. James Meat Cottage, which has changed location and the size of its floor space over the years. St James Meat Cottage opens from around 7:00 am and closes at 11:00 p.m. throughout the year, except for Christmas Day, Carnival Tuesday, Easter Sunday and possibly one or two other days[20]

Given the cultural mix of persons who reside in and visit St. James, meat shops have been popular as a source of economical suppliers of this staple over the years, with some of them offering meats which are halal for the Muslim and other sectors of the population. Green grocers have set up shop either off of pick ups or at the front and sides of person's homes over the years.

The St. James market which is located near to Vidale Street was rebuilt during the last twenty years and offers on a Saturday the sale of ground provision, fruit and vegetables, meats and fish.

Businesses, places to visit and other tourism activities[edit]

Malls[edit]

St. James spans a wide geographical area stretching from the St. James Crematorium via Long Circular Road to Fatima College on Mucurapo Road in one direction and from close to the overpass by Peakes to the Police Barracks along the Western Main Road in another direction. In this area, there is at least one large mall, Long Circular Mall[21] and several mini malls or plazas, which are scattered throughout the district. A mini mall is classified as being either a one or a two storey building with several small stores, each of which sells a different range of items.

The Long Circular Mall has been in existence since the late 1970s into the early 1980s and while it has evolved over time, there are services which have remained constant over the years, such as the repair of shoes, suitcases, the sale of shoes, the sale of flowers and books.

Attached to the Mall is a large grocery Tru Valu [22] which belongs to a chain of supermarkets which provides excellent products and services. Currently, there is a doubles vendor instore to offer a quick and affordable snack, prior to shopping. There is also an instore bakery which provides pre packaged items along with freshly baked breads, pastries, cheeses, and rotisserie styled chicken which are available either by the quarter, half or whole. Also available in the supermarket are fresh fruit, vegetables, seasoned chicken, other types of meats which are to be prepared for cooking, tinned and bagged products.

Banking[edit]

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) opened a branch in the late-1950s at the corner of Mooneram Street. This branch of CIBC was closed several years after the merger of CIBC (Trinidad) and Republic Bank Limited. A food establishment is now located on this spot.

The CIBC branch was later followed by branches of the Royal Bank of Canada, at Bournes Road and The Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank), the latter occupying the spot where JP's (John Pereira) supermarket opened in the 1960s.[23]

Manufacturer and pharmacies[edit]

St. James is the birthplace for the successful Trinidadian-based soft-drink company Solo.[24] During the 1970s, this soft drink company was located at the corner of Western Main Road and Long Circular Road. The operations of this company were moved close to Aranguez, where the soft drinks are currently manufactured. From the Highway, the factory is visible if one is heading towards the Piarco airport.

There are at least four pharmacies which operate in St. James and are scattered along the Western Main Road. Many of these have diversified their product lines into: stationary, food items such as teas, milks, juices and cold drinks. Several of these pharmacies open from 7:00 am and close at around 9:00 p.m. for seven days. They cater to those needing medicine late in the evening or an emergency supply of stationary either for a project or for school for the next day.

Naipaul House[edit]

St. James was home to Nobel Prize-winner V. S. Naipaul, who lived on one of the streets prior to migrating to the United Kingdom. His home has been preserved as a historical landmark.

NALIS - St. James Public Library[edit]

The St. James Public Library is operated under the National Library and Information System Authority (NALIS) and is one of twenty five (25) public libraries which offers services to the public free of charge from Monday to Saturday every week.[25] The St. James Public Library is located on 31 Church Street, St. James. Church Street runs parallel to the Western Main Road, starts on George Cabral Street and ends on Bombay Street.[26] The St. James Public Library was located at the corner of Bournes Road and Western Main Road for many years and within the last five years moved to its new location on Church Street.

There is a children's section as well as an adult section in the Library, like in most of the Libraries in Trinidad and Tobago. In addition to all of the services which are offered to walk in patrons such as the borrowing of books and movies on cd's, photocopying, internet services, available to read items such as books, magazines and newspapers, the Library also offers online services. These online services are as follows:e-books via EBSCOHOST and Overdrive, Student Research Center, EBSCOHOST full text databases.

Art Gallery[edit]

Since the 1990s, St James has been home to Horizon's Art Gallery which is located on Mucurapo Road.[27] This gallery offers for sale paintings from local artists such as Louison Dermot, Boscoe Holder, Leroy Clarke, Glen Roopchand, Neil Massy. There are at least six open nights per year where new works from artists are exhibited and the public is invited to view the paintings or artwork, mingle and meet the artist.

The St. James Amphitheatre[edit]

The St. James Amphitheatre is located along the WMR and offers its services to the residents, groups and those wishing to host activities in St. James.

In June each year, WEBEAT is hosted by the St. James Community Improvement Centre. "A new feature has been added to the 2015 edition of WeBeat St James Live, to be held from June 5–13. Staged by the St James Community Improvement Committee, the new event—Rum Street—will be held in collaboration with Angostura."[28]

In the 2015 WEBEAT, regular attractions included "We Film Night (June 6), in collaboration with the T&T Film Festival, WeTreat (June 7), Health Day (June 8), in conjunction with the PoS North Lions and the North West Regional Health Authority; and, WeTalk Historian Talk Show with emphasis on Youth (June 8). These events were free to the public."[28]

For several years in August, the RC. Archdiocese of POS - St Mary's parish hosted their fundraising event "Toute Bagai" which was one of their main fundraising events towards the restoration of the church building at 3 George Cabral Street, St. James.

During the year, at the Amphitheatre there are several performances by various Evangelical groups which last for a week and are open to the public. Otherwise, the area is open to the public to walk in, sit on the benches or gather informally. Due to the availability of ice cream vendors, and other food sellers which operate in close proximity to the Amphitheatre, many persons use the area as a place to congregate to enjoy ice cream cones or the food which was purchased.

Tourist activity[edit]

Within the last ten years or so, at least two casinos or member's clubs have opened in St. James. These have attempted to replace the recreation clubs of the 1970s that operated in bars.

Bars located on the Western Main Road (WMR) have been a source of revenue and activity for many years. Two of the famous bars operate opposite to each other on the WMR, with patrons frequenting their bar of choice. Over the years, these two bars were joined by Smokey & Bunty, an establishment that catered for the younger crowd who patronised the establishment after work on many evenings, especially on a Friday evening. Of course with the ability of the youth to lime on the pavement, this establishment became quite a competitor to the other two spots as it was also located near to a fast food outlet which provided food quite quickly and reasonably, thus attracting another crowd of persons into their business. The fast food establishment offered food for almost 16 hours daily and extended into the night, hence you were sure that the food was fresh, hot and tasty. Sadly, between 2014 and 2015, a fire destroyed most of the historic building which housed Smokey & Bunty and the food outlet.

During the life time of Smokey and Bunty, additional entertainment was offered on the pavements and on the road space of the three bars, with Parang being offered close to Christmas and the Carib girls liming on the Carib Truck in late July into early August when the "Great Race" was held.

On one of the weekends leading up to the morning of the "Great Race", a parade of some of the boats which would have entered the Great Race would pass through St. James as part of the build up to the day. The "Great Race" was a boat race which for many years was sponsored by Carib Brewery, a subsidiary of the ANSA McAL group. The race was open to several types and sizes of boats, which allowed for the creation of "classes". The race started in the waters of Trinidad, in the Gulf of Paria, went through the "Bocas", down the islands and ended in Store Bay in Tobago.

Notable people and other influences[edit]

A tadjah at Hosay in St. James. 1950s

"Where Belmont's settlement was African in origin, in St. James, the city's most westerly suburb, the influence was decidedly East Indian. St. James too was a sugarcane estate, and the workers there were largely East Indians who arrived in Trinidad as indentured laborers The streets of St. James bear witness to its earliest inhabitants with names such as Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Benares, Ganges, and so on.

St. James is mecca for the annual Hosay Festival, when it is possible to hear classical tassa drumming, as small effigies of mosques parade through the streets. ... Each year Hosay is celebrated in a different calendar month as the remembrance is based on a date in a lunar month which has less days than the calendar month. (See http://www.bestoftrinidad.com/culture.html for the dates when Hosay is celebrated in Trinidad and Tobago during the years 2000 to 2030 [29]

There is a Muslim mosque located on the Western Main Road in St. James, near to Subway restaurant at 2016. There is also one located on Mucurapo Road, opposite to the Mucurapo Cemetery and in close proximity to the Mucurapo East and West schools.

A Hindu temple is located on Ethel Street,[30] which is located in close proximity to Panka Street."[31]
  • Rapper, songwriter, and singer Nicki Minaj was born in St. James[32] and lived here until she was five years old with her grandmother before moving to New York City with her parents.[33]
  • Over the years, there have been at least three Roman Catholic priests who were born in St. James: Fr. Ronald Mendes C.S.Sp, Fr. Alan Hall and Fr. Robert Christo, Vicar for Evangelisation (at May 2016).

As Vicar for Evangelisation one of the areas of focus of that ministry has been "Catholic Church goes after sex workers (By Cecily Asson Monday, February 23, 2015) "Also weighing in on the interview was Vicar of Evangelisation Fr Robert Christo who told the Catholic News that the aim of the outreach ministry to sex workers was to provide an “alternative path of reintegration of their sexuality in a holistic way.” [34]

Fr. Hall was "ordained a diocesan priest on Sat Dec 18, (2010) at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Port of Spain. Archbishop Edward Gilbert was the main celebrant and preached the homily." [35]

Fr. Ronald Mendes C.S.Sp was the last priest to serve as principal of St. Mary's College. "Layman to lead St Mary’s College After 150 years of priests as principals..."[36]

Other influences[edit]

Most of the character of St. James came about through the Anglican and Catholic influence on primary and secondary schools. For many years, for the catholics Mucurapo Girls' School and Mucurapo Boy's School were the only option with respect to educating their children and grandchildren, just as St. Agnes was the school for the Anglican boys and girls who resided between Maraval and St. James. In the 1970's and before, many of the entrants for the convent schools and colleges which were located outside of St. James (Fatima College) and in between the Queen's Park Savannah (QRC, Holy Name Convent), Belmont (Providence, St Francois Girls'), and Port of Spain (St. Joseph's Convent, Bishops' Anstey, and St Mary's College) came from these three primary schools. Thus church and attendance at either the Catholic or Anglcian churches was the main activity for many families. Support of the parish via youth activity, fundraisers and other events shaped the character of many young persons well into adulthood, as they were exposed to the Works of Mercy, such as feeding those in need, visiting the sick and the elderly and developing a sense of care for those other than themselves and their families.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.bestoftrinidad.com/communities/stjames.html.
  2. ^ "CIVIL AVIATION TRAINING CENTRE (CATC), TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO." Trinidad and Tobago Civil Aviation Authority. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
  3. ^ St. Agnes Anglican.
  4. ^ Port of Spain Memorial, Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
  5. ^ Find War Dead, Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
  6. ^ a b Trinidad & Tobago Family History Organisation.
  7. ^ Find A Grave.
  8. ^ Prince at Find A Grave.
  9. ^ Find A Grave Whitlocks.
  10. ^ Fischer at Find A Grave.
  11. ^ Beebe at Find A Grave.
  12. ^ Pizza Hut
  13. ^ KFC; Papa Johns.
  14. ^ Hott Shoppehttp://tntyp.com/Trinidad/Hott-Shoppe/profile.
  15. ^ Yang Dynasty .
  16. ^ TNT Island Curry lambie.
  17. ^ Linda's.
  18. ^ AmerPages T&T items - Freddies.
  19. ^ F1rst.com Supermarkets Woo Lings.
  20. ^ Four Square Meat Cottage.
  21. ^ Long Circular Mall.
  22. ^ Google Tru Valu.
  23. ^ Best of Trinidad Communities St James.
  24. ^ Solo Beverages.
  25. ^ NALIS - Find a Library.
  26. ^ Google Maps C- Church Street, St. James
  27. ^ Horizon's Art Gallery.
  28. ^ a b Guardian Life Style Rum Street - WEBEAT.
  29. ^ Dates of Hosay between 2000 and 2030, Best of Trinidad Culture.
  30. ^ Port of Spain Hindu Mandir.
  31. ^ Trinidad & Tobago. Insight Guides. APA Productions, Singapore, 1987, pp. 142-143.
  32. ^ Telesford, Nigel (1 Nov 2010). "Minaj magic". Trinidad Express. Retrieved 16 February 2011. 
  33. ^ "Character Study: Just How Real Is Nicki Minaj?". Vibe. Vibe Media. 23 June 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2013. 
  34. ^ "Crime & Court", Newsday.
  35. ^ You Tube Ordination of Fr. Alan Hall https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VLHYGpd9Is
  36. ^ "Layman to Lead St. Mary's", Trinidad Express.