Whitehall should be the home of the Cabinet once again by the end of June, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has announced.
The Prime Minister, while addressing a People’s National Movement political meeting in Chaguanas on Tuesday, said the restoration of Whitehall, was merely a part of continuing refurbishment of the Magnificent Seven, which he said should transform Queen’s Park West by December.
“I want to invite all of you in this entire nation to travel around Queen’s Park West by Christmas, and it will be the finest street in the Caribbean because all of our heritage building would have been restored, renovated and back in shape,” said Rowley.
Whitehall had housed the Office of the Prime Minister up until 2009.
Stollmeyer’s Castle was reopened last year, while restoration work had also begun on Mille Fleurs, which Rowley said was almost demolished.
“Work has started on one of the buildings, which the engineers were telling us might have to be demolished because it had been so badly deteriorated; Mille Fleurs. With Cuban expertise and local contractors, work has started on Mille Fleurs and we are expecting to complete that work by the end of the year.”
The Prime Minister also announced that Parliament will also return to another historical building which has been subject to restoration work; the Red House.
Since 2011, the Parliament has been housed at Tower D at the Port-of-Spain Waterfront, as restoration work continued on the building.
“By Republic Day the Parliament will open in the Red House,” he said. The Prime Minister said the 13 floors currently occupied at Tower D, at the Waterfront Complex will be opened up for other use.
He said the renovation of the building was closed at a cost that is $425 m less than what the previous government had projected.
Rowley said this move would allow for the Lower House and the Senate to have simultaneous sittings.
The Prime Minister also explained that Clico had been moved from their St Vincent Street building, and are expected to occupy the site which formerly housed the Ministry of Agriculture in St Clair, paving the way for Cabildo Chambers which formerly housed the Attorney General’s office to become Parliament offices.
- by Peter Christopher