Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) deputy leader Dr Faith BYisrael revealed plans to build a folklore theme park in Pembroke, if her party wins the January 25 THA election.
The PDP candidate for Goodwood/Belle Garden West was featured on PDP’s virtual platform on Thursday.
During their Primetime interactive programme on Facebook, BYisrael discussed how Pembroke’s cultural history could be monetised.
“We know that Pembroke is the cultural capital of the island. Whether we like it or not, Pembroke is the capital of culture,” she said.
“I think the use of that Pembroke Heritage Park needs to be year-round, 24/7, almost like Disney World where you can go Disney World any time of the day, any time of the year and experience Disney World. We should be able to go to that Pembroke heritage facility and experience Tobago heritage throughout the year.”
PDP candidate for Parlatuvier/L’Anse Fourmi/Speyside, Farley Augustine, who was interviewing her, lauded the idea.
“Taking our folklore characters and having them present there. So instead of people flying out to Florida and going and see Mini Mouse and Mickey Mouse, and those people, they can drive up to Pembroke and go and see a La Diablesse, a soucouyant, a douen, all these folklore characters, get the dirt-oven bread in a very Disney World type of setting, except we’ll be using local, traditional characters to create a folklore theme park.”
Augustine and BYisrael believe this would significantly enhance Tobago’s tourism package.
“When the Trinis fly across, there is something to do instead of just running to the beach,” Augustine said.
BYisrael added, “When the cruise ships come, whenever the cruise ships start coming back, it is a natural stop.”
BYisrael said another benefit will be the added commerce to Tobago East. She said the east is lacking economic opportunities and migration continues to be a problem.
“You’re moving from the large population in the western end of the island and brining some volume to the east. We know that space is relatively small but it is something that we will expand on.”
She said the PDP has a plan to get more people visiting Tobago East and to ensure its population stays.
“The communities in the west, it’s where the big lights are so it attracts the young people but it was not developed to withstand the needs of that large volume of people. You will always have issues with water, road, drainage, those kinds of issues because everyone moving into a community not designed for that volume of people. We need to have young people stay in the villages that raised them.”
She said the PDP will expand villages through the construction of homes using community labour.
Augustine said, “Instead of building these isolated housing schemes, we’ll look at expanding existing villages and allow villagers to find homes there, so they are less likely to migrate out of Tobago East into the west or out of Tobago, because there will be opportunities for living within the village they grew up in.”