Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 3rd 2015 Contents A14
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The National Trust Council intends to seek legal
redress for what it describes as a flagrant breach
of the National Trust of T&T Act, following the
destruction of the Greyfriars Church of Scotland
on Frederick Street, Port-of-Spain.
In strongly condemning the complete demolition
of the site, the council said it represented a complete
disregard for this country's national heritage, especially
on the eve of the nation's 53rd anniversary of Inde-
The demolition was ordered by businessman and
real estate developer Alfred Galy, who in November
last year began demolition work on the 200-year-
old church. Half of the building was destroyed and
the roof of the church subsequently collapsed.
Telephoned yesterday, however, Galy said the Trust
"had no case" and should "desist from taking this
Galy said he had broken no law and had acted
according to his rights. "I respect all the national
heritage sites in the country,' Galy said.
"However, I have not broken the law and the Trust
should consider pursuing a more compromising posi-
A statement issued yesterday by Margaret Mc
Dowall-Thompson, deputy chairman of the National
Trust, said the process of formally listing this property
as a heritage site commenced in January of this year
after the new owner began destroying parts of the
two buildings on the Greyfriars site.
It said the church was significant to T&T for the
• It is the site of the first public library in the
• The location of the first meeting of the anti-
• The site of the first church that welcomed all
persons equally without regard to class or race and
provided freedom to marry across religions.
• It is part of the Historical District of Woodford
Square, which is also an approved National Heritage
Mc Dowall-Thompson said the National Trust held
several meetings with the owner, the Port-of-Spain
Corporation, and the Town and Country Planning
Division, while there were also interventions by the
minister of planning and the minister of national
diversity and social Integration.
"The National Trust, as did all of the other parties,
attempted to demonstrate to the owner that this his-
torical site could be developed sensitively and still
operate as a viable business as happens over the
developed world and in our own Caribbean region,"Mc
Dowall-Thompson said in the release.
"However the owner continued to aggressively
destroy parts of the structure and had to be stopped
on two occasions by the Port of Spain Corporation.
"The Greyfriars site was formally listed by Gazette
No 82 of 2015 on August 4, 2015. This site, which
now forms part of the National Heritage includes
the bell tower of the original church, the three graves
on the site and the stone walls that surround the
"The owner was notified as he was when the
Intention to List was gazetted and the Notice was
also published in all three national newspapers. This
means that not only must the owner obtain permission
from the Port-of-Spain Corporation and the Town
and Country Planning Division to undertake any
alteration, demolition or destruction of this listed
property, he must also obtain permission from the
National Trust. The owner has obtained no such
permission from any of the above named parties.
"The National Trust Council will now be taking
the necessary legal steps to seek redress for this
flagrant breach of the National Trust of T&T Act
Following destruction of Greyfriars, National Trust taking legal action...
Galy: I broke no law
Chapter 40:53 by the owners of the
listed Greyfriars site."
During an Easter Sunday Mass in
April this year, Presbyterian Minister
Rev Daniel Teelucksingh had
described the demolition of Greyfri-
ars Church of Scotland as a "deba-
cle" and called on churches to pro-
tect their places of worship.
"That Port-of-Spain debacle is a
reminder of what can happen when
your faith is taken for granted. It's
a very, very sad story of colossal
carelessness in Port-of-Spain for us
to allow one of the city's very pre-
cious treasures in what is called the
Port-of-Spain Heritage Park to be
destroyed," Teelucksingh had said.
WHAT GALY SAID
however, Galy said the Trust
"had no case" and should
"desist from taking this
Galy said he had broken
no law and had acted
according to his rights. "I
respect all the national
heritage sites in the country,'
"However, I have not
broken the law and the Trust
should consider pursuing a
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