George V Park in Port of Spain, which is to be renamed Nelson Mandela Park today, should be named after the nation’s first prime minister, Dr Eric Williams, and not the late South African leader.
This is according to Reginald Vidale, chairman of the Dr Eric Williams Memorial Committee.
Vidale said he had requested the park be named after Dr Eric Eustace Williams. “I am taking strong objections to the King George V Park in St Clair being named after Mr Nelson Mandela. I do not agree with the renaming of the park,” he said.
Vidale said he had no animosity toward Mandela, who was honoured by the committee for his fight for freedom.
“I love Nelson Mandela as a hero and a freedom fighter and all that he did to free South Africa from the apartheid system which was so cruel.”
Vidale said the committee had requested Woodford Square be named after Trinidad and Tobago’s first prime minister as part of T&T’s 50th Independence celebrations.
He said Woodford Square was significant to Williams’s political career.
That request was turned down, he said.
The next move, he said, was to request George V Park in St Clair be named after Williams.
That too was turned down, he said.
Residents of St Clair said they were not consulted before a decision was taken to rename the park, and asked that a plaque erected with historical information on George V remain in place.
The decision to rename the park came three months after discussions among members of the Port of Spain City Corporation to pay tribute to Mandela, who died last year at the age of 95 after suffering from a respiratory infection.