Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 8th 2014 Contents A30
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, July 8, 2014
• From Page A29
"This Prime Minister felt it was of the utmost impor-
tance. I believe you have to have a passion for it. So,
for Rowley to make a statement of that nature, labelling
the ministry as nonsense, well, out of the abundance
of the heart, the mouth speaks."
SUCCESSES AND FAILURES OF
THE NATIONAL TRUST
For a year, this reporter has travelled past the Mag-
nificent Seven along Queen s Park West on a daily basis
and seen no changes to Mille Fleurs, Hayes Court or
Stollmeyer s Castle.
A year ago the T&T Guardian reported that the castle
was "90 per cent" complete, according to a statement
provided by Udecott. Last week, Mitchell said that
figure was incorrect and it was more like "85 per cent
"It should be completed by the first quarter of next
year," he confirmed.
What Stollmeyer s Castle will be when it s done,
nobody seems to know.
"The State will decide," Mitchell said.
"A visiting site," Samuel told us, adding, "Maybe a
facility for functions."
That no concrete plan is in place for its use post-
restoration has raised a few eyebrows, but Samuel and
Mitchell both emphasised the heritage successes of
recent times such as the listing of 13 of 460 gazetted
sites with protected status, privately-funded restoration
jobs such as Archbishop s House, and the campaign
for Hayes Court by Citizens for Conservation (CFC)
(with whom relations have improved) which has prompt-
ed the Anglican Church to begin raising $24 million in
funds for its restoration.
Both men reiterated that Mille Fleurs is their main
priority. The old house still lies in a pitiful state and
it is alleged that $4,000,000 paid into the project last
year to the contractors (Canadian engineering firm,
Genivar) was simply absorbed by the firm as money
owed to them by Udecott after the Canadians sued
them for $122 million in outstanding fees in 2012. Genivar
allegedly insisted that no work would begin on Mille
Fleurs until part of the outstanding monies were paid.
Mitchell says Udecott awarded a contract to a firm
to do a dilapidation survey on Mille Fleurs a year ago
to stabilise the building and prevent further collapse.
This work, he says, has been done.
Shivonne and Shayanne Sammy, daughters of
Junior Sammy, said the restoration of Boissiere
House was a 61st birthday present from Sammy to
Shivonne told the T&T Guardian, "It has been
his dream to own a house around the Savannah and
he is very proud to own it. We now use it as a family
dwelling where we go on a Sunday and we have a
permanent caretaker there. It s very comfortable to
live in. I tried to furnish it of the era (early 1930s)
and have bought antiques. It definitely feels like a
home and the nicest thing is the porch where you
can sit out and feel the breeze. It s very relaxing."
The Sammys---who have not disclosed the cost
of restoring the house since they used their own
construction company and equipment to do the
work---took advice on the restoration from Rudylynn
Roberts, architect and president of CFC, the con-
servation group which routinely writes to private
owners offering assistance.
Roberts spoke admiringly of the Sammys efforts.
"They did not change anything, just replaced like
for like," she said. "Where there was rotten wood
they replaced it. Where there was painted wood
they repainted it. Where there was polished wood
they repolished it. Where there were roof tiles miss-
ing they replaced them. Where fretwork was missing
they replaced it with plywood. They replaced the
guttering, stripped the wooden floors, refinished
the wood panelling and doors."
Roberts says the Sammys instinct to preserve
was pleasing and spoke highly of the Heritage
No concrete plan in place
Awards, saying, "It is good what the National Trust
is doing as it draws attention to heritage preservation.
It s good for educational purposes and it allows
owners to understand what they are doing has value
to people other themselves."
Russell Nath, whose Ortinola House won Best
Kept Heritage Landscape, told the Guardian he
acquired the property in 1998 and restored it between
2001 and 2003. Since then it has been preserved
as an events venue for conferences and weddings.
Ortinola Great House sits at the centre of all this
in the lush Maracas Valley, a remarkable example
of how the nations built and natural history ought
to be managed and respected.
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