Lord Kitchener Statue, Port-of-Spain – Uncommon Attraction
Trinidad is the birthplace of calypso, soca, and the steelpan. Naturally, the country pays tribute to its proud musical legacy in a number of ways. One not-so-sterling example of this is the Lord Kitchener Statue.
Kitchener, Forever Dancing
Don’t get me wrong: the statue itself is great. In fact, to me, it’s beyond fantastic.
I mean, there’s Kitch as he was most famously known – all decked out in his trademark suit and hat. He’s not just standing there, of course. Oh no, that would not embody the man.
Instead, Kitchener is dancing. A broad and somewhat devilish smile graces his face. Even the eyes hint at the mischief endemic to so much of his music.
The Lord Kitchener Statue may be seven-feet of lifeless bronze, however it’s anything but torpid. Kitch’s spirit truly lives on in its frozen dance.
At the same time, though, the statue’s location isn’t nearly as stimulating and vibrant.
You can find the Lord Kitchener Statue astride Port-of-Spain’s very bustling Western Main Road. This is the primary thoroughfare extending northwest from downtown Port-of-Spain to Saint James.
To say the spot is uninspiring is a bit of an understatement.
Music lovers and the culturally curious who happen to find themselves in the area would have to brave four lanes of busy traffic just to access the statue. It’s doubtful, though, that many visitors to Trinidad’s capital would just happen to find themselves here.
There just aren’t any other nearby attractions that might make the area a must-see spot for visitors to the city. It’s almost as if the original intention was for the statue to be seen (enjoyed?) primarily by those passing by in their cars. This, of course, renders it an afterthought, not a great work of art celebrating an even greater artist.
The tangle of low-hanging power lines, one of which I digitally removed to improve the lead image, and billboards further devalue the statue, at least to me.
A New Home for the Lord Kitchener Statue?
Now, I don’t know Port-of-Spain well enough to suggest a perfect new home for the Lord Kitchener Statue. It seems to me, though, that the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) could work.
The state-of-the-art facility, which opened in 2009, covers a good 63,000 square feet, all of it very pedestrian-friendly. As well, the wide open spaces of the Queens Park Savannah stretch out in front of the building. This, combined with NAPA’s famed dancing fountains, create an oasis of peace and tranquility in the city.
Also, the expansive atrium in the iconic structure already bears Kitchener’s name. Adding the Kitchener Statue to the NAPA grounds would be a natural extension of this honor.
Best of all, though, visitors could stand in Kitch’s shadow, maybe dance with him a little, and learn a bit about his tremendous legacy in peace.
You know, without having to risk life and limb contending with one of the busiest streets in one of the Caribbean’s most bustling cities…
Editor’s note: The Kitchener Statue was produced by Patrick Warsing Chu Foon, a highly-regarded Trinidadian in his own right. It was installed at its current location just outside St. James in 1994.