About $148 million is to be spent on the construction of a new residence and diplomatic centre for the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.
The project has a completion date of July 2007.
Tourism Minister Howard Chin Lee made the announcement on behalf of Prime Minister Patrick Manning as he responded to a question raised on the project by Opposition Senator Wade Mark during yesterday's sitting of the Senate at the Red House, Port of Spain.
Mark's question was addressed to Manning, an MP in the House of Representatives.
"The official residence is $36 million. The diplomatic centre, $55 million. Design fee, $11 million. Mobilisation insurance, etc, $14 million. External works, $32.1 million," Chin Lee said.
He said the project, as had been designed by a local architectural firm, was going to reach the $200 million mark until the China-based Shanghai Construction Group (SCG) was hired to do the job.
Construction of the proposed $450 million National Carnival and Entertainment Centre has come to a halt because the design is being reviewed.
Prime Minister Patrick Manning made the announcement yesterday almost a month and a half after the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (Udecott) said the Request for Proposals for the project were to have been issued "in the coming weeks".
"The Carnival Centre is on hold because of the events of Carnival this year and the need to rethink the design in the face of all of that," Manning said during the sod-turning ceremony for the $800 million 26-storey Broadgate Place Plaza shopping complex in downtown Port of Spain.
At the post-Cabinet news conference at Whitehall, Port of Spain, on February 22, Culture Minister Joan Yuille-Williams said construction of the National Carnival and Entertainment Centre would not be completed in time for Carnival 2008.
She said it would be built by 2009, which means masqueraders could find themselves parading on the road in front of the Queen's Park Savannah next year, as they did for Carnival this year.
Maybe Joan Yuille Willams needs to fire UDEcott and hire the China-based Shanghai Construction Group if she is serious about providing a stage for masqueraders anytime in the near future. While the Prime Minister (or new Prime Minister given that General Elections is carded for later this year) will be sitting pretty in a brand, spanking, new “crib” we masqueraders will have to eat dust on the streets of Port of Spain for the next few years only because we truly LOVE the mas! This just goes to show, yet again, how much priority is really given to what is trumpeted as “The Greatest Show on Earth”.