Saturday, October 6, 2012

Inaugural LiTTour initiates literary heritage tourism in two districts


At least two communities have committed to taking charge of their heritage elements following the inaugural LiTTour – Journeys Through the Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago - last week.
The Mayaro Historical Society has committed to take actions for completing renovations of the historic old Mayaro Post Office, including setting up a restoration fund, “rather than sit and wait” as they have been for some eight years for some other body to repair the building.
This breakthrough follows a meeting with participants in the inaugural LiTTour, led by author Kris Rampersad, who offered suggestions on how the community could move forward to realise plans for the building while engaging with other bodies and authorities in the effort.
The building is identified as part of the literary heritage of the island in Rampersad’s book LiTTscapes – Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago and elsewhere.
 “We have received some sound ideas from this visit and are ready to move forward”, local historian and author, Michael Anthony, who accompanied the tour and has been championing restoration of the building for the last 30 years, said.
Rampersad explained that Mayaro became the destination of the LiTTour to demonstrate how such historic heritage elements can be put to use, stimulate economic activity and generate income for the district, while contributing to the upkeep of the buildings. The old post office is featured as an important literary house as the settings of many of Anthony’s stories in LiTTscapes. LiTTours are being conducted in collaboration with the Public Transport Service Corporation’s Know Your Country Tours.
During the LiTTour, which included readings from works like Sandra Street, Green Days by the River and A Year in San Fernando, Anthony also gave insights into the Mayaro settings of his stories and literary characters.
Meanwhile, Sangre Grande was also a PiTTstop for participants in the inaugural LiTTour.
Chairman of the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation Keshwar Maharaj welcomed the LiTTour, hailed it as a boost for the district’s heritage tourism thrust, and announced plans to restore the former Sangre Grande Post office to serve as a museum of the history of Sangre Grande. The old  Grande Post Office is also featured as one of the district’s significant historic heritage buildings in LiTTscapes and residents have voiced concerns about its state of disrepair. Maharaj also announced plans for a literary heritage activity centre within the corporation’s new administrative centre.
In Sangre Grande, local scouts read selections about the district from LiTTscapes and the novel Between Two Seasons by painter/author James Isaiah Boodhoo ’s. Author Michael Anthony shared personal memories and insights about the district.
Other participants in the LiTTour included renown sketch artist Anthony Timothy who sketched aspects of the journey,  head of the Ministry of Work’s Historical Restoration Unit, Rawle Mitchell; Gia Gaspard Taylor of the Rural Women’s Network; conservationist journalist Heather Dawn Herrera among others.
Customised and other LiTTours are available through requests to lolleaves@gmail.com or 377-0326. LiTTscapes is available at local bookshops and details through  www.kris-rampersad@blogspot.com. 

Caption:
Sangre Grande Councillor Francois and scouts chat with authors Kris Rampersad, and Michael Anthony   during the inaugural LiTTour from Port of Spain through Sangre Grande to Mayaro on Saturday. Photo by Kriston Chen courtesy LiTTours. Photos copyright KRIS RAMPERSAD