Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 31st 2016 Contents CHARLES KONG SOO
The sport utility vehicle (SUV) inside
which senior counsel Dana Seetahal
was murdered went under the auction
hammer and was sold for $115,000 yes-
There were no bullet holes, and the
colour of Seetahal s pristine condition
Volkswagen Touareg SUV, registration
number PCN 6, was changed from the
original light blue to light grey.
But there were no takers when auc-
tioneer Edward Soon started the public
auction at $180,000 among just five bid-
ders at Seetahal s former law office, El
Dorado Chambers, on St Vincent Street,
The vehicle was eventually "resold"
for $115,000 to the successful bidder,
Mark Pantin, from Mt Lambert.
Soon called for any higher offers than
$115,000 as the hammer was raised for
a second time and one of the bidders
said they were waiting for a call before
the hammer came down.
Soon was forced to restart the auction
sale when Jason Seepersad placed an
earlier bid for the vehicle for $120,000,
but subsequently declined, saying he did
not want to pay the additional ten per
Pantin paid a ten per cent downpay-
ment for the SUV and was expected to
pay the balance tomorrow.
One of the unsuccessful bidders said
if the deal fell through and Pantin could
not honour his commitment, he would
take the SUV and pay Soon with cash
Speaking to reporters after the auction,
Seetahal s sister Susan Francois, the direc-
tor of the Financial Intelligence Unit,
said: "It s a very emotional time. It brings
back a lot of memories, but I am glad
that it is sold because the proceeds from
the sale actually goes to the staff who
worked in her office.
"So of course for that reason we want-
ed the best price that we could possibly
"I m glad that it is final and in a sense
that episode is closed."
According to Seetahal s will, her vehicle
is to be sold and the proceeds divided
among the staff who were employed
with her for more than a year.
When Francois was asked if she was
satisfied with the price her sister s SUV
was sold at and whether she was dis-
appointed at the low turnout at the auc-
tion, she said the people who were inter-
ested came, there were several offers and
the auctioneer accepted what he con-
sidered was the best offer.
Also present were Kenrick Seetahal,
Seetahal s uncle, other family members,
friends and former staff such as Darryl
Lewis, her personal assistant.
January 31, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Government will pump $400
million into restoration work on
the controversial Red House project
by the end of March.
The Urban Development Corpo-
ration of T&T (Udecott) has already
spent $110 million on consultancy
and construction work on the his-
torical building, which remains
Work on the Red House began 19
years ago, with Udecott assuming
responsibility for the project in 2005.
To bring the project to a close,
Udecott will inject a further $381
million on construction of a Parlia-
mentary Complex---phase two---tak-
ing the total figure for the iconic
building to a whopping $891 mil-
Confirmation came from chair-
man of Udecott Noel Garcia at his
Sackville Street, Port-of-Spain, office
Sitting in the company of Ude-
cott s chief operations officer Abena
Richards, Garcia revealed that public
tenders for the restoration project
went out last June.
Of the ten companies that sub-
mitted bids, Garcia said only three
"Those tenders have been evalu-
ated. A decision is to be made before
are to proceed.
"A recommendation will come to
the board on Wednesday. I expect
we will have to sit and negotiate
with the preferred contractor. This
has to go to Cabinet for approval.
We are talking about another two
months. I suspect restoration work
will start on the Red House by the
end of March," Garcia disclosed.
Garcia estimated the cost of the
project at "$340 million to $400
million," to be completed in 2018.
Since 1997, Garcia said, the Red
House was earmarked to be restored,
but this had been hindered by delays.
Once completed, Garcia said, Ude-
cott would move to construction of
the Parliamentary Complex on the
northern side of the Red House to
house administrative staff, a library,
offices for MPs and other staff.
Richards said the complex s "cur-
rent base building cost" exclusive of
outfitting costs and Value Added
Tax (VAT) is estimated at $346.1 mil-
lion "without contingency."
With contingency-exclusive of
VAT, Richards estimated the cost at
Richards disclosed that the design
work for the Parliamentary Complex
"was ongoing right now. Once that
is complete then we will go out for
tender and then construction."
Richards also gave a breakdown
of the ten companies which were
paid "thus far" by Udecott for con-
sultancy and construction work on
the Red House, which amounted to
$110 million exclusive of VAT.
The largest payment went to
Canadian firm Genivar Ltd who col-
lected $26.7 million. Genivar was
contracted to renovate and refurbish
the southern and mid-section of the
Red House, which was expected to
house the Office of the Prime Min-
The next biggest payment went
to Bernard Mackay Architect/Saraiva
e Associados, SA Joint Venture, with
Enco Ltd was paid the least with
Garcia: Project faced with
Garcia said that given the technical
nature of the "plaster of paris" works
to be undertaken on the ceiling of
the Red House, masonry and iron-
mongery skills would be required.
"So whoever gets the restoration
contract must have technical assis-
tance from foreign firms," Garcia
Asked what delayed work on the
historical building, Garcia said:
"There were a number of issues."
Among them were administrative
changes, budgetary constraints, and
changes in the scope of works.
Another setback occurred in 2014,
following the discovery of bones and
cultural artefacts during an excava-
tion phase at the Red House, Garcia
"To a certain extent there was a
bit of administrative confusion or
ambiguity as to what should have
been done. Then there were technical
issues and hurdles. Restoration
requires specialists. It was not a case
of simply going out there to restore
it. You have to get people who can
understand what needs to be done.
Then you have to reduce it into a
brief and then tender. So those were
factors that delayed the project,"
He said whenever a new admin-
istration came into power the project
Garcia said when then prime min-
ister Patrick Manning was in power
Continues on Page A8
$400m Red House repair starts in March
Seetahal was killed around 12.05
am on May 4, 2014, as she was
driving home from a casino. She was
shot multiple times. According to
police, residents heard several
gunshots and then the sound of
screeching tyres before discovering
Seetahal dead in the driver's seat of
her SUV. Eleven men have been
charged with her murder. Seetahal
had worked on several high-profile
cases, one of them being the Vindra
Naipaul-Coolman murder trial.
Public auctioneer Edward Soon, left, speaks with bidder
Jason Seepersad during the auction of murdered senior
counsel Dana Seetahal's Volkswagen Touareg SUV, outside
the El Dorado Chambers, St Vincent Street, Port-of Spain,
yesterday. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
Dana's SUV sold for $115,000 at auction
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