Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 7th 2016 Contents A10
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt February 7, 2016
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Out of line, out of bounds and out
That s how former speaker Wade
Mark yesterday summed up Prime
Minister Dr Keith Rowley s move to
take charge of restoration works on the
historical Red House building.
Mark was joined yesterday by Oppo-
sition MP Dr Roodal Moonilal who
described Rowley s move as "an attempt
by the PM to micro-manage multi-
billion dollar construction projects. This
approach has inherent dangers when
a PM gets his hands in such matters."
A release from the Office of the Prime
Minister on Friday stated that Rowley
will chair a restoration committee estab-
lished to oversee restoration of the Red
House, President s House, Stollmeyer s
Castle, Whitehall and Mille Fleurs.
Mark to Rowley:
Take your hands off the Red House
RHONDA KRYSTAL RAMBALLY
Education Minister Anthony Gar-
cia says yesterday s Republic Bank
Junior Parade of Bands showed how
mas could be enjoyed without peo-
ple being "scantily clad."
He said he enjoyed what he saw
at the Queen s Park Savannah when
bands, from mini to large, totalling
112, crossed the stage.
The event was scheduled to start
off to a late start around 8 am
The national anthem was played
at 9.45 am at the Savannah and
then it was a burst of colour and
costumes with hundreds of junior
masqueraders prancing and jump-
ing to Machel Montano s Stage,
which was the dominant song for
Garcia paid tribute to the children
who he said showed resilience, cre-
ativity, and a desire to keep the cul-
He said, "Mas could be enjoyed
without being scantily clad and if
we are to follow what our children
have taught us today, perhaps, in
the not too distant future, we can
see masqueraders being fully clothed
and not being exposed to the extent
to where it is sometimes degrading."
He said yesterday s parade was a
lesson on how to play mas by being
He also praised the children with
disabilities from the Princess Eliz-
abeth Home who came out and
Garcia praises creativity,
decency in kiddies mas
The committee, comprising
Finance Minister Colm Imbert,
Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi
and Planning and Development
Minister Camille Robinson-Regis,
also decided to abort the existing
tender exercise of the Red House
in the light of changes made.
The release stated that a number
of decisions were made with
respect to the Red House s scope
of works. Construction of addi-
tional parliamentary space (the
Parliamentary Complex), which
would have been catered for in any
new construction, will instead be
accommodated at Cabildo Build-
The formation of the committee
came days after chairman of the
Urban Development Corporation
of T&T Noel Garcia in an article
in last week s Sunday Guardian
estimated the cost of the Red
House project at $340 to $400
million, to be completed in 2018.
Construction of the complex,
exclusive of outfitting costs and
Value Added Tax, was estimated
at $346.1 million without contin-
In response to the new decision,
Mark said Parliament was an
independent arm of the State
which could not be dictated to.
"My position to Rowley is to
take his hands off the Red House.
You cannot come like a big jefe
or big czar as a Prime Minister
and tell Parliament what and
what not to do. If he does not
learn fast he will learn soon. He
must know that he cannot do
what he is doing."
Mark said former prime min-
ister Patrick Manning discovered
to his own peril that he could not
move the prime minister s office
to the Red House.
"You cannot change the scope
of work on Parliament, and even
if you want to do that it must be
done properly. What I am calling
for is an immediate establishment
of a Joint Select Committee (JSC)
on Parliamentary Accommoda-
tion, as was done under the last
administration. If they want to
change the scope of work they
must bring that to the JSC. No
prime minister could tell us how
to run the affairs of Parliament."
Mark said in 2010, a Joint
Select Committee (JSC) on Par-
liamentary Accommodation was
established under the chairman-
ship of former minister Stephen
Cadiz, of which Rowley was a
In 2012, the JSC compiled a
report which showed that
restoration work on the Red
House, inclusive of construction
cost, was estimated at $241 mil-
The Parliamentary Complex
was projected to cost $205 mil-
lion, inclusive of preliminary site
works, Mark said.
"This Government is on a ram-
page. They are undermining
independent institutions. Now
they are trying to hijack the Par-
liament. I am not going to let
Rowley, Imbert and Al-Rawi
mamaguay and fool this country.
If Rowley has problems with
money the proper approach is to
come through the proper parlia-
Yesterday, Imbert said he could
not answer questions that fell
under Udecott s purview.
Garcia and Rowley yesterday
failed to respond to text messages
sent to their cellphones.
Pupils of Rosary Boys' RC School parade across the stage during yesterday's
Republic Bank Junior Parade of the Bands at Queen's Park Savannah, Port-
of-Spain. PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
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