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Mayor: Arima ticking again
Outgoing Arima mayor Ghassan Youseph says the Arima Dial is now working 100 per cent, and the historic landmark’s being brought back to life symbolically reflects the resurgence of the borough and its people. He made the comment at the commissioning of the new dial at the corner of Queen Street and Broadway last Thursday. The restoration work was done by Michael J Williams, of TimeKeeper, and sponsored by Xtra Foods Supermarket.
“It’s working 100 per cent, with all four sides illuminated at night,” Youseph said. “The stagnation of the borough was symbolically manifested in the non-functioning of the dial for years, and we therefore had to get the dial working so we could get Arima ticking again—and Arima is ticking again.
“If you look around you, there are new buildings and businesses going up, the Mt Pleasant bridge has been built; infrastructure developments—we have more than 69 projects started already or about to start, including the $1.6 million upgrade of the Princess Royal Park. We want to spend $1.1 million for a senior citizen facility in Tumpuna Road that has been approved, and we may be out of office when it is built, but we started it.”
He said there was no more danger of tall trucks severing overhead cables to the dial, because the new clockwork system eliminated the need for cables leading to the Town Hall. The dial’s mechanism, he said, was now nestled inside the base of the original 113-year-old cast-iron column. Asked if the dial was hardened to withstand vandalism, Youseph said the dial was the pride of Arima and he didn’t expect anybody to vandalise it.
He said he wanted to ask the Government to fix another famous Arima landmark, the velodrome, as the borough lacked the funds for such a massive undertaking. Xtra Foods marketing manager Daniel Austin said he encouraged the parents who passed the monument with their children daily to teach them the value of punctuality and the humane value of using their time to help others.
Austin said he urged the Ministry of Tourism to promote the dial as a monument of T&T history, along with the borough being promoted as the home of the original people of T&T, the Amerindians. Williams, who is a former President of the Senate, said he didn't like to see clocks not working. “It doesn’t look good, it shows a bit of indifference. Whenever we fix a clock, the people are happy because it works,” he said.
“What upsets me are the public clocks which are not working. They are two important clocks—the John Donaldson Technical Institute’s, which has not been working for 40 years, and Queen’s Royal College’s—and they are in my sights.” The four new acrylic faces of the Arima Dial, designed and built in T&T, are electrically driven and will automatically reset to the correct time after a power failure.
A photocell will switch on 480 LEDs to illuminate the dial at night. Timekeeper has also restored the 100-year-old Holy Trinity Cathedral tower clock, the San Fernando City Corporation’s turret clocks, the 138-year-old St Mary’s College tower clock and the clocks at Mt St Benedict.
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