Penal (originally Peñal) is a town in southern Trinidad. It lies south of San Fernando and
Debe, and north of Siparia. Originally a riceand cocoaproducing area, Penal has grown into an important town in the past few years and is now a desirable place for corporate expansion. At the heart of the town are a couple of Plazas, with many businesses, furniture and appliances chains, and the popular fast food restaurants,such as KFCas well as a branch of MoneyGramInternational Money Transfer located on the ground floor. Penal is largely considered to be dominated by the East Indian descendants, more commonly referred to as Indians. Penal has a police station, branches of two banks, a credit union, health facilities, photo studios, restaurants, clothing stores and many opportunities for recreation as well as many schools, thus providing reasonably well for its populace. Penal plays a major role in the energy supply to the nation's populace. Petrotrin, the national oil company, has a major sub-unit in Clark Road and the National Gas Company has many gas lines running through Penal that links the gas fields of the South East Coast and the Industrial estates. One of the countries three major power generating plants owned by Powergen Ltd is located in Penal.
Penal is administered by the
Penal-Debe Regional Corporation.
Many religions are practiced in Penal. By far the majority of people follows the Hindu religion. This is not surprising since the Indians who make up approximately 90% of the population are descendants of Hindu indentured servants from India.
There are many places of worship but one small organization called the Saraswatti Vidyalaya Penal is the place where people go to learn about Indian music and religion. This school is located in Boodoo Trace, Penal and was founded in 1984 by Dubree Sooknarine under the auspices of the Bharatya Vidya Sansthaan and is run totally on voluntary service from the teachers and students. There is no fee for attending. Tuition is always free.
Indian film music is also very popular. Especially so, are the compositions from Bollywood movies. The Dil Ki Awaaz Indian orchestra is the mainstay of Bollywood film music practice in the small town of Penal. The small band plays film and traditional religious music. They are located in Clarke Road, Penal.
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