Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 31st 2016 Contents had signalled to him and Finance Minister
Colm Imbert that they had a mandate to get
on with this job.
Meanwhile, architect Rudylyn Roberts, who
heads the group Citizens for Conservation
(CFC), believes there is no maintenance pro-
gramme or proper system in place to deal
with old buildings.
"They are like an old grandmother who is
fragile and needs special care. After all these
years, the buildings are still not repaired," she
She said during a former PNM adminis-
tration, repair work on President's House was
supposed to start. "A drawing was done. Work
was started and it stopped."
Roberts felt this administration was show-
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Continued on Page B9
From Page B1
history is important. They don't think these buildings
hold any rich cultural heritage. Generally, there is no
pressure on the Government to refurbish or resuscitate
them. This lack of interest is a reflection of an ignorance
of our history. It shows a lack of a spirit of commitment
to the country."
At the President's House grounds, incumbent Pres-
ident Anthony Carmona has moved into the renovated
cottage, originally reserved for guests, and staff are
reportedly working from containers. The media pre-
viously ran stories about the controversial $28,000
monthly tax-free housing allowance which was being
paid to the President, in addition to him being accom-
modated at temporary quarters while the cottage was
Impetus to renovate and repair seems constantly to
be stymied. For instance, museum curator Claire Broad-
bridge wrote in the book Zalayhar Hassanali---Life of
a First Lady of how under a previous PNM admin-
istration, the Canadian government had offered money
to repair President's House. Canada offered the funds
(reportedly a large sum) as part of its thrust, at the
time, to help restore heritage buildings in the Caribbean.
But, Broadbridge said, unfortunately the repairs to
President's House never took place.
More recently, on November 2, 2015, after the current
PNM Government was sworn into power, Works Min-
ister Fitzgerald Hinds, in an online news report, said
the refurbishment and renovation of President's House
in St Ann's was a top priority. Hinds said a small allo-
cation was made in the 2016 budget towards this proj-
"We have been given assurances that whatever other
monies are required, to the extent that we can afford
it, will be made available for the refurbishment and
renovation of this wonderful edifice," Hinds said.
He said Rowley believed it was scandalous the building
was allowed to languish over the past five years and
PRESIDENT'S HOUSE TIMELINE
1873 and 1876---The Government House was built
patterned in Victorian style colonial architecture. Local
blue limestone from Piccadilly and Laventille were
Government officials moved out of the cottage on
the grounds which they occupied into the Government
House. Author Charles Kingsley, a guest of Governor
Gordon, wrote his classic, At Last, A Christmas in the
West Indies, in this cottage.
1958 to 1961---Government House converted into a
Federal Museum and Art Gallery with the advent of
the Federation of the West Indies.
1962---T&T became an Independent Unitary State
within the British Commonwealth under a Governor
General, Sir Solomon Hochoy.
1965---Sir Solomon and Lady Hochoy moved into
the Government House.
1976---T&T became a Republic and Government's
House became known as The President's House. It
was occupied by President Ellis Clarke, President Noor
Hassanali and then President Arthur N R Robinson.
2000---President's House declared structurally
unsound by the Ministry of Works and Transport.
August 2007---Urban Development Corporation of
T&T, headed by Calder Hart, assigned to do restoration
works to President's House.
May 2010---Minister of Works Colm Imbert advised
then president, George Maxwell Richards to vacate his
staff from the building "with immediate effect" after a
portion of the roof collapsed.
June 2015---President Anthony Carmona, who had
been living in State-provided premises at Flagstaff Hill,
Long Circular, moved into the refurbished cottage with
his wife and two children.
From then till now---President's House still in a
state of disrepair.
'T&T does not have a sense of history except for a small minority.
The vast majority of people do not think history is important.'
Links Archive August 30th 2016 September 1st 2016 Navigation Previous Page Next Page