Recollections of Arima by Auldith King a.k.a. Elie Richards

This is Auldith King a.k.a. Elie Richards.
Born Arimian now residing in the USA.

To: Dr. Cliff Bertrand

After reading the beautiful tribute you paid to one of Arima’s greats, it is apparent that many Arimians lacked the knowledge and the history that is associated with the town and people of Arima. History played a very important part of our generation; e.g., how Arima got its name, and who were the First People of Arima.

A) Arima was derived from an Amerindian word which means “water”; the First People of Arima were known as Amerindians or Caribs.

B) On August 1st, 1888, Arima was made a Royal Borough. To this day, activities such as Borough Day and Santa Rosa Feasts are popular and attract people from all over Trinidad and Tobago. One very festive celebration that was also prevalent with early settlers of Arima, was the Hosay. And a family that took much pride in making head pieces such as the half-moon, and dancing to the rhythmical beat of the Tassa Drums, were the Rojan Khan family. After the dancing ended, they would throw the head pieces in the Arima River. All of this was part of their customs which included prayers, feeding people, and planting flags of different colours.

C) The Dial – The original Dial was purchased from France and donated to the town of Arima by Francis Wallen in the year 1898 at the location of Pro Queen Street Arima. This landmark was so well received by the Arimians that when someone had to meet with another, the phrase would be “meet me by the Dial”, and it stayed the same to this day.

D) The first and only bus company Arima ever boasted, which was located ‘over the bridge’, was by an individual named Mr. Damani. Folks seemed to move on beyond those times and the name got lost in the shuffle. We, however, have many prominent names that I think should be mentioned to the young ones to explore. Names like – Mr. Nelson, who was a well-respected pharmacist; Dr. Buccoo, a very prominent family practitioner; Lord Kitchener; Mr. Caracciolo; Mr. Subero; Mr. Kistow; Mr. Bellamy.

And Educators like Mr. Lubou; Mr. Johnnie Brooks; Mr. Eugene Laurent Senior; Mr. Draper – who was in charge of picking up Truancy children.

And so many more names too numerous to mention. I am therefore calling on all the pioneers to do justice to the name of Arima, for it has meaning far surpassed one’s imagination.