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Respect the facility, keep it pristine – Gonsalves

Respect the facility, keep it pristine – Gonsalves


Camillo Gonsalves, parliamentary representative for East St George, says the Calliaqua Town Hall building is a manifestation of the investment being pumped into the community he represents.

A community, according to Gonsalves, which is special to the growth and development of the entire country.

The town hall, built at a cost of EC$2.339 million, and mostly funded by the Republic of China on Taiwan (ROC), was officially opened last Tuesday, September 3.

The building is a multipurpose facility, housing a day care centre, a post office, a computer lab, a library, a town hall room and a magistrate’s court-room.

Speaking during the opening ceremony, Gonsalves said that the building is part of the renaissance taking place in East St George and represents “money well spent.”

He described the facility as unique, not only in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), but in the wider Caribbean.

The building’s uniqueness not only comes through its design, but through its facilities and services, as it boasts of the fastest Internet speeds that can be found anywhere on the island.

Gonsalves explained that while the other learning resource centres, town halls and schools in the country get their Internet through an old-style copper wire connection, the closeness of the facility to the SVG Coastguard base allowed for a modern fibre optic connection.

He said that the connection has been tested and the speed is twice as fast as anywhere else on the island, while the Wi-Fi capabilities allow persons access from not only in and around the building, but in certain other areas of the community.

And Gonsalves says that persons in the community have been taking advantage of the Wi-Fi, as last week, over 4,000 unique devices accessed the Internet at the facility, using over 100 gigabytes of data, although the building was closed.

He encouraged persons to keep the facility pristine and respect it, while utilizing it to the fullest.

“I don’t want it to become a mausoleum. I don’t want us to lock it up. I want it to throb with the energy of Calliaqua. I want it to feel the energy of this community. I want there to be classes here to teach young people. I want there to be dramatic productions, music performances and I want us to come and see the children from Miss Young’s pre-school,” said Gonsalves.

He said that the facility should be known as a place of learning and not become known for one thing only.

“…Let us not make it become the magistrate’s court; let us not make it become the post office; let us not make it become a preschool, a day-care; let us not make it become a computer lab where you take classes; let it be greater than the sum of the individual parts,” said Gonsalves, adding, “it is built, furnished, stocked and connected and all that is missing is you. It is your facility, use it.”

The opening ceremony also heard from Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, former East St George parliamentary representative Clayton Burgin, ROC Ambassador Baushuan Ger and chief engineer Brent Bailey,

The Prime Minister described the facility as “top class.”

He said that the town hall portion has standing room for 250 persons, as well as a stage, private washroom, bar and kitchen area, which is intended for use by people in the community to hold functions.

He also noted that the computer lab has 18 stations that are Internet access ready and he is hoping to have students use the area for School Based Assessment (SBA), among other types of studies.

The library has shelving for 3,000 books and seating for 20 persons and a librarian’s office, while there is a modern fire alarm system and parking for four vehicles. The magistrate’s court has a separate entrance and parking as a security measure, while there is a grassed area for pre-school usage and an access ramp for disabled persons.

The senior Gonsalves thanked the ROC for the near full financing of the building.

Commenting, Ambassador Ger said that he is happy that the building is completed. He said that back in 2010, when a town hall was decided on, the ROC agreed to contribute EC$1.5 million. He revealed that they later gave an additional EC$200,000.

“…and today we are here to witness the completion and it is now a fully functional building that provides a good service,” said the Ambassador.

He said that the ROC has been partnering with SVG for 36 years and they are a loyal partner, with this building being a symbol of long lasting cooperation and friendship.(LC)