Nizam Baksh

Former House Speak Nizam Baksh, second from right, chats with political activist Wendell Eversly in the rotunda of the Red House on Friday during the ceremonial re-opening of the home of the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago.

Photo: JERMAINE CRUICKSHANK

FORMER Speaker of the House of Representatives Nizam Mohammed said Friday he was delighted that the Red House had been restored.

Speaking with the Sunday Express at the re-opening of the Red House, Mohammed said: “It is a cause for national pride and I hope that it would instil some sense of patriotism in this country. “Because our country has gotten to a state where we are too disorganised. And I think that today is a remarkable day for our people. I hope that this would be regarded as a gift to the people by the successive governments and a reassurance that Government would be in the best interest of all our peoples.

“More than that, I hope that this monument that represents our democracy will re-connect us, the masses, with the people who look after the business of our country.”

Activist and former Red House hostage during the 1990 coup attempt Wendell Eversley however expressed dissatisfaction that picture of the late Leo Des Vignes was not put up back in the chamber.

MP Des Vignes died after he was shot during the storming of the Parliament in July 1990. Eversley also said the names of the people who died were not placed on the new eternal flame.

The eternal flame was created after the coup attempt to commemorate the lives lost in the insurgence and to symbolise the need to be ever vigilant in the protection of democracy.

Eversley said he wanted to urge President Paula-Mae Weekes to take up the mantle to ensure that July 27, 1990 is never forgotten.

Eversley said the decision to hang a picture of Des Vignes had been taken by the then-Joint Select Committee of Parliament.

‘Money well spent’

So said UDeCOTT chairman Noel Garcia as he spoke about the renovation and restoration of the Red House.

UDeCOTT, the project manager, supervised and guided 22 contractors throughout the process.

“I feel a sense of pride, I feel a sense of awe. I travel throughout the world and when I look at this Parliament I could compare to any of the Parliaments in the world, be it Scotland, Ghana or India. And to those who try to pour cold water by saying the money could have been spent elsewhere, my answer is that anyone who walks through these halls and see what has been done, would agree that it was money well spent,” he said Friday.

Garcia said the Red House project was one of the most complex projects he had worked on.

He complimented the 3,000 workers who laboured on this project as well as contractors, local architects and local artisans.

“In one word, this is an awesome project,” he said.

On the cost, Garcia said the project was below the $441 million budget. He said the building was 99 per cent complete.

“We still have some minor things to do and that would be done over the next few weeks. But the building is functional, 99 per cent of the masonry and tiling work has been done, so yes, the project is completed.”

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