13th December 2012
Launch of Historical Exhibit at the Piarco International Airport
On Wednesday, 12th December 2012, Airports Authority of Trinidad and Tobago hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony to launch the opening of an historic exhibit in the Atrium of the Piarco International Airport. The exhibit, a gift from the Embassy of Spain, comprises letters and reports which document the historical, economic, political and social development of Trinidad under Spanish rule. The display also includes remarkably accurate historical cartography documents of the islands of Trinidad and Tobago.
Gerald Hadeed, Chairman of the Authority expressed his gratitude to the Embassy of Spain, and assured that the documents would be permanently displayed at the Piarco International Airport. He said, “We believe that it is fitting for these documents to be shown in the Atrium at the Piarco International Airport, since the airport serves as the first port of entry for most visitors and the gateway to the nation. We can assure you that these priceless documents will be cherished and preserved for generations to come.”
He continued to express the importance of cultural and historical education at the airport which is the main port of entry into the country, as he recognized the airport’s role in shaping first impressions and sharing the rich cultural history of our nation. “One of our major objectives at the Authority is to engender a sense of pride and patriotism and promote unity in diversity through cultural and educational exhibitions at our airports. We recognize that our airports play a critical role in shaping the first impressions of visitors to Trinidad and Tobago. By installing displays such as this, we hope to foster an improved image of our country. “
Not omitting ANR International Airport in Tobago, he advised of works which are soon to begin in the sister isle so that both airports are brought to international standards; “As a matter of high priority, refurbishment works will commence in a matter of weeks on the facilities at the international departure and arrivals areas and the check-in concourse at the ANR Robinson International Airport, in Tobago. The construction of a VIP Lounge will also be done in the short term, with the long term goal of installing a world class International Wing. Already, the runway rehabilitation project in Tobago is complete and we have extended the hours of operation to satisfy the high demands for travel on the domestic air bridge.”
The Ambassador of Spain, H.E Joaquin de Aristegui Laborde, donated the historical documents, statistical data and maps all depicting Trinidad’s history from as early as the days of Christopher Columbus’ first sighting of the islands. He addressed the gathering, and expressed his delight at make the historical contribution to the Authority and strengthening ties with the nation of Trinidad and Tobago and Spain. He made reference to aspects of the history of Trinidad and Spain and he spoke of Don Cosmo Damien Churruca, a Spanish Officer and renowned scientific navigator, who in 1792 was appointed to lead the expedition to fix the first longitudinal points in the New World relative to Spain.
Hon. Chandresh Sharma, Minister of Transport, gave the feature address. He was also grateful to the Ambassador for his donation to the airport, and by extension to the country. He expressed his hope of developing the education system by granting scholarships to students to study in Spain.
The Authority takes pride in hosting this unique, significant and distinctive display.