December 3, 2013 ENERGY company BP Trinidad and Tobago intends to embark on a one-year pilot programme in its home community of Mayaro/Guayaguayare in 2014 aimed at deepening its corporate investment in two main social sectors - education and sports – which will benefit all residents, especially the youth. This new focus on the company’s social investment policy in the south-east region of Trinidad was announced at its Community Development Forum - Organise for Development – held at the bpTT Mayaro Resource Centre last Thursday. To this effect, assurance was given to participants representing diverse non-governmental and community-based organisations that there would be no shift in bpTT’s longstanding policy of embracing other sectors, such as micro-enterprise, arts and culture, the environment and social support. Last week’s forum was a follow-up to a consultation held in November, last year, titled Working Together for Development which brought together more than 200 community representatives who were charged with the task of laying reinforced foundations for the sustainable development of the wider Mayaro/Guayaguayare region. Giselle Thompson, Vice President, Communications and External Affairs, bpTT, told the community leaders that the 2013 consultation provided a unique opportunity to discuss ways to improve the relationship between the company and the community and to revisit the initiatives and approaches for the sustainable development of the region. “BPTT is delivering on the promise to not only share the outcomes of our last discussion and ongoing consultations with key community stakeholders but to continue the honest and open conversations on the state of the bpTT/community partnership with the goals of finding ways to continue to support the shared vision of the new, more autonomous Mayaro you called for at the Working Together for Development conference,” she said. Two key ingredients required for sustained community development in Mayaro/Guayaguayare, Thompson pointed out, were quality leadership and strong institutions. She reminded participants that bpTT has been working alongside the people of Mayaro for the past 15 years. Over this period, she noted, bpTT has formed enduring partnerships with the community and its social investment programmes had become an integral part of community life. “We at bpTT remain committed to a renewed effort in the transformation process to create a better Mayaro that we can all be proud of. Together, we can achieve this through the Organise for Development agenda,” she added. In the keynote remarks, David Law, research officer to Winston Peters, Minister of Community Development and Member of Parliament for Mayaro, said this time was a momentous era in the development of Mayaro. “The programmes of the past instituted by bpTT still stand the test of time. Let us expand on this infrastructure and create new initiatives that will lead to sustainable development. We must all work under one umbrella if we are to achieve this goal,” he appealed to the participants. The outcomes of last year’s Working Together for Development consultation and initiatives for the way forward were presented by conference facilitator Sterling Belgrove, founder/director of The Rose Foundation. They include the following: • involvement in new projects • improvement on existing projects • understanding of the impact of projects • a cry for autonomy. Don La Foucade, also a presenter, appealed to all stakeholders to work together for the improvement of their community. Among the participants who commended bpTT on its initiative to consult with the residents of Mayaro on the way forward and made suggestions for sustainable development of the region were school principals Any Paul and Reynold Phillip, former Trinidad and Tobago cricketer Imran Jan and scout music band leader Patsy Lezama.