Trinidad and US Revive Symbol of Collaboration
By Dialogo April 23, 2012
Teams of divers and sailors from the U.S. Navy were in Trinidad and Tobago in early April, as part of Navy Dive-Southern Partnership Station 2012 (ND-SPS 12), a multinational partnership engagement designed to increase interoperability and partner nation capacity through diving operations.
In addition to carrying out community relations projects with local Trinidadians for ND-SPS 12, the naval personnel also restored the main gates to Lapeyrouse Cemetery in Port of Spain as a U.S. Embassy outreach effort in the Caribbean nation. The project was designed to re-memorialize U.S. Navy Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, a War of 1812 hero, who died of yellow fever off the coast of Trinidad in 1819.
The Perry Gateway, as the ornamental metal structure is known, was originally built in 1925 to honor the war hero, mark the entrance to his burial site, and symbolize the strong connections between the United States and Trinidad and Tobago, but over the years it had fallen into disarray.
“You can tell they are almost 100 years old because the metal has been broken down over time and there is a lot of rust, pitting and corrosion,” said Navy Diver 1st Class Brian Mouton, assigned to the U.S. Navy’s Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2, reported the U.S. Navy.
The collaborative effort also included the Port of Spain City Corporation, Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, and the Ministry of Tourism, which helped coordinate the restoration project and carried out maintenance to the sidewalk and area surrounding the gate, according to information from ND-SPS 12 Public Affairs.
During the rededication ceremony on April 4, Port of Spain Mayor Louis Lee Sing noted that Lapeyrouse Cemetery is one of the most important “historical and living assets” of the city, and a “treasure chest of unresearched and uncollated data”, reported Trinidadian news site TrinidadExpress.com.
For his part, Tourism Minister Dr. Rupert Griffith highlighted the fact that the gateway represents one of the few remaining sites displaying the country’s historical links with the United States.