Borough of Chaguanas is the largest municipality
(67,433) 2000 census) and fastest-growing
town in Trinidad and Tobago. Located in Central Trinidad about 18 km
(11 miles) south of Port of
Spain, Chaguanas began life as a convict depot.
grew in size due to its proximity to the Woodford Lodge sugar refinery
. It remained a minor town
until the 1980s when it began to grow rapidly. Although it
originally drew people for bargain shopping
and moderately-priced housing, the growth of the town has seen
property values increase dramatically.
Chaguanas became a borough
in 1990; prior to
that it was part of the County
. The current mayor
is Natasha Navas and the Borough Council is
dominated by the United
Chaguanas was named for the Chaguanes Amerindian
tribe. The area was settled by the time of the
British conquest of
Trinidad in 1797 (see History of Trinidad and
The town originated on what was then H.E.
Robinson's sugar estate adjacent to the Woodford Lodge sugar refinery
and the De Verteuil coconut
and cocoa estate to the north and east. Construction of the
helped the town grow.
The Princess Margaret Highway
built by the US military during World War
, joined the Southern Main
at Chaguanas. Construction of the Sir Solomon Hochoy Highway
extended the highway south to San Fernando.
In the later twentieth century
Chaguanas grew rapidly as a bazaar town. Construction of Lange
Park in the early 1980s attracted a middle-class community moving
south from Port of
Spain and the East-West
Corridor and north from San
Its central location made it attractive to
southerners working in north Trinidad and northerners looking for
more affordable homes. Edinburgh Gardens and Edinburgh 500 was
built by the National Housing Authority. Like many such
government-built housing developments, these neighbourhoods added a
Chaguanas' mostly Indo-Trinidadian
population. Orchard Gardens was constructed as an upper middle
class community. Lange Park gentrified
becoming an increasingly upscale neighbourhood
In October 1990 Chaguanas was elevated to the status of borough
under the provisions of the Municipal Corporations Act No. 21 of
Chaguanas is low-lying and is just upstream from the Caroni Swamp
. The Caparo River
through the town.
Chaguanas has a lowland seasonal tropical
climate with a wet season
June to December and a dry season
from January to May.
Chaguanas is bounded to the north by Munroe Road, to the east by
the Gandia River, to the south by the Honda River and to the west
by the Gulf of Paria
The town is bisected by the Sir Solomon Hochoy Highway
Uriah Butler Highway
Chaguanas consists of the following main population centres:
- Downtown Chaguanas - the original core town of Chaguanas and
modern central business district; lies west of the Solomon Hochoy
- Montrose - primarily commercial district east of the Solomon
- Edinburgh Gardens - south of Montrose.
- Edinburgh Village - south of downtown Chaguanas Area. There are
two villages between downtown Chaguanas and Bagna Trace/Carlsen
Field triangle roundabout - Edinburgh Village and Perserverance
Village. Boundary is defined by the Edinburgh Hindu Temple and
- Lange Park - north of Montrose and south of Endeavour, east of
Orchard Gardens and the Uriah Butler Highway.
- Orchard Gardens - immediately north of the downtown and west of
the Uriah Butler Highway.
- Charlieville - lies on both sides of the Uriah Butler
Highway,northeast of Felicity.
- Felicity - lies further north and west of the downtown, east
and south of the Caroni Swamp.
- Endeavour - northeast of Orchard Gardens, north of Lange
- Enterprise - east of Endeavour and north of Longdenville
- Longdenville - east of Montrose.
- Cunupia - population
centre to the northeast Chaguanas, north of Enterprise.
- Carlsen Field - a former U.S. airbase to the south of
Chaguanas, this area of the town is still predominantly
The Chaguanas Borough Council consists of 8 elected councillors and
. The electoral districts are
|Monroe Road/Caroni Savannah Road
Chaguanas developed as a market town and still attracts bargain
shoppers. Retail development expanded with the construction of
three malls in the downtown in the 1980s (Centre City, Mid Centre
and Ramsaran Plaza, later to become Centre Pointe Mall). Centre
City Mall is in the process of expansion to become the largest
in the Caribbean. It will feature
two major buildings, one near to the Uriah Butler Highway
and another close
to the centre of Chaguanas, joined by an enclosed walkover above
the Mulchan Seuchan Link Road.
The above photo shows shoppers, pedestrians and vendors on the
More recently, construction of Price Plaza in Endeavour expanded
upscale retail opportunities. Price Plaza includes a
warehouse-style store PriceSmart
and Ruby Tuesday
restaurants, a food court,
, as well as many other retail
The third location of Movietowne, the largest cinema
business in the country, is undergoing
construction nearby Price Plaza and is expecting completion in
Chaguanas has developed into a financial centre. The Unit Trust
Corporation, Sagicor, Republic Bank of
Trinidad and Tobago
all have major corporate offices in
The dissolution of the state-owned sugar company, Caroni (1975)
Limited, had a profound effect on Chaguanas, since this company was
a major employer.
Chaguanas has grown rapidly from a small village to the largest
town in Trinidad and Tobago. Chaguanas has historically been
considered an Indo-Trinidadian
town, but as it has grown it has become more multi-racial.
Longdenville is a historically Afro-Trinidadian
village which has been
absorbed into the growing town of Chaguanas. Edinburgh Gardens and
associated residential developments are also largely
Culture and entertainment
Chaguanas hosts the Divali Nagar
The Nobel Prize
-winning author, V. S. Naipaul
was born in Chaguanas.
The Lion House, birthplace of Nobel-prize winning author V.S.
Naipaul is located in Chaguanas. This is generally assumed to be
the model for Hanuman House
in Naipaul's A House for Mr Biswas
, with Chaguanas
as the model for Aruacas
The Caroni Swamp
, the largest mangrove
wetland in Trinidad and Tobago, is located
just north and west of the town. The swamp is a popular tourist
attraction and roosting ground for the Scarlet Ibis
, national bird of Trinidad and
The Divali Nagar site, located in northern Chaguanas, is a major
attraction in the period just before Divali
The village of Felicity, on the western end of Chaguanas, is famous
for its elaborate Divali celebrations.
HCU Communications Limited (now defunct) is based in Chaguanas. It
operates a radio
station (Bollywood Masala
101.1 FM), and launched a television
station (WIN TV
early 2007. As HCU Publications, it also publishes three weekly
newspapers, The Probe
The main sporting venue in Chaguanas is the Central Regional Indoor
Sport Arena Hall at Saith Park. Smaller recreation grounds and
pitches are scattered around
the Chaguanas area, but no larger sporting venues are located
within the town. Chaguanas cemented its place in cricket when
Ramlal Bajnath, founder of Bajnath's Sports Centre setup formal
cricket leagues in the region to draw attention to the area's
The Chaguanas District Hospital
in downtown Chaguanas. A private hospital, HealthNet Limited, is
located in Endeavour, and Sajeevan Medical Complex on Ramsaran
Chaguanas is an important transportation hub. Buses, taxis and
maxi-taxis connect Chaguanas with Port of Spain, San Fernando, Curepe and Couva, and smaller
settlements around central Trinidad.
As a village
which grew spontaneously
into a large town
, Chaguanas is plagued by traffic problems
Electric generation is handled by Powergen, while electrical
distribution is handled by the Trinidad and Tobago
(T&TEC). Powergen has natural gas fired generation plants at Point Lisas, Penal and Wrightson Road in Port of Spain.
Additional power can be supplied from power generation facilities
controlled by Inncogen at Point Lisas.
Telecommunications are regulated by the Telecommunications
Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT). It has been working to
de-monopolise the industry, granting several new licenses in 2005.
telephone service is a
monopoly controlled by Telecommunications
Services of Trinidad and Tobago
(TSTT). Licenses have been
granted for competition in this area, but start-up is a while away.
Wireless telephony is currently controlled by TSTT
as well as Digicel
came later, but licenses have been granted for a private company,
to offer wireless service in
competition with TSTT and Digicel. However, Laqtel has had its
license revoked and is undergoing severe financial
is provided by
. The service is
, but digital
service will be offered in Chaguanas in
. The arrival of
digital service introduces packages such as high speed internet
service up to 15
Mbit/s, digital landline
and the digital cable
Water and sewerage are under the purview of the Water and Sewerage Authority
Trinidad and Tobago (WASA).
Chaguanas is a sister city
with some of
the following cities:
- Table from 2000 Census on Central Statistical Office of
Trinidad and Tobago website
- Chaguanas – Trinidad’s fastest growing town - Afra
Raymond, July 29,
- The Borough of Chaguanas - the Fastest Growing
Commercial Centre - Trinidad Guardian, October 1, 1998
- Nobel Lecture - V.S. Naipaul, 2001