“Beetham will become a model community for the entire nation to follow.” This declaration was made by Member of Parliament for Laventille East/Morvant, Adrian Leonce, at the official launch of BP Trinidad and Tobago’s Beetham Gardens Beautification Competition at the Beetham Gardens Community Centre yesterday.
“Projects like these allow the Beetham to become self-sustainable, and will instill values in our young people such as patience, pride and an instinct to care for their environment. I believe that the community will be nurtured and nourished from this project in every way and I want to get involved so that I can say that I was part of what I know will be a successful project,” Leonce added.
The competition requires residents of Beetham Gardens to develop gardens using plants, fruits and vegetables over six weeks, after which they will be judged across a number of categories such as best front-yard garden, most innovative flower and vegetable garden, and the garden showing the best example of community love and spirit. A number of prizes are on offer and include a home makeover, furniture and appliances, computers and books.
Lending full support was Fitzgerald Hinds, Member of Parliament for Laventille West and Minister of Works and Transport: “This is an excellent initiative and the government will do what we can to help. This competition is also timely because it will integrate well with the general clean-up exercise that we have been planning. We live in serious times and communities like Beetham have challenges, but change is possible with new approaches like Beyond Borders, which encapsulates a greater vision. It’s a step toward improving the quality of life for everyone and I congratulate bpTT, The Rose Foundation, and especially, the people of Beetham Gardens for participating in this competition.”
The inter-community competition represents yet another dimension of BP Trinidad and Tobago’s Beyond Borders programme, which is focused on empowering several ‘at-risk’ communities across Trinidad and Tobago, including Beetham, Covigne, Embacadere, Kernahan and St. Barbs.
Ronda Francis, Corporate Responsibility Manager, bpTT, underscored the rationale for the company’s thrust: “At bpTT, our corporate aspiration necessitates that we must improve the lives of the citizens of this country and that is why we have focused on investing in areas of national development. Beyond Borders is one of our signature projects and the seeds of change we sowed six years ago are now starting to bear fruit. We have seen the formalisation of several non-governmental organisations and businesses in these communities and these have become vehicles for the growth and development of their socio-economic and physical landscape.”
Also voicing their support for the benchmark project were representatives of a number of organisations, including the Inter-Agency Task Force’s ‘Hearts and Minds’ Programme, the Beetham Gardens Village Council, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the Beetham Gardens Photography Association and One Call Foundation.
According to Kerwin Alexander, Chairman of One Call Foundation, “Our organisation was formed through Beyond Borders and our focus is on the environment including using plants for agriculture and beautification. This project fits well with our mission and vision and will greatly benefit the people of Beetham Gardens. The activity of planting and the produce we will reap are also part of encouraging healthy lifestyles, not to mention the unity and love that this will instill. We owe a great deal of gratitude to the Rose Foundation and bpTT for investing in Beyond Borders – it is helping to transform our communities and our nation.”
This initiative had its genesis in 2014 when the Chairman of BP Global, Carl-Henric Svanberg, visited Beetham Gardens where he met with residents and buried a time capsule containing a document with the goals and aspirations of the community. The capsule is to be opened after 10 years.
The ceremony ended with a formal handover of tools, seedlings and other material to the community groups that will assist in the coordination of the competition. The officials also lit up the official Beetham Gardens Christmas tree located at the community centre.
Beyond Borders is administered by The Rose Foundation, a non-profit human development civil society organisation, which provides training in organisational development skills. The programme translates those abilities into sustainable and viable projects.
Giving context to the overall initiative was Sterling Belgrove, Executive Chairman of The Rose Foundation: “The idea started with the need to make an intervention in ‘at-risk’ communities in order to drive their sustainable development. From the onset, bpTT understood the need to energise this programm, and with their support, it has indeed moved Beyond Borders. I’m proud to say that 127 residents have already registered to participate in this competition and we will provide seedlings, tools and technical assistance. We will also be planting 30 varieties of fruits across the community so that young people will be able to enjoy these for many years to come.”