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New home for Eric Williams collection

By Clint Chan Tack Tuesday, August 2 2016

CABINET has granted a 99-year lease to the University of the West Indies’ (UWI) St Augustine campus for the use of the former public library building in Port-of-Spain, “to house on permanent exhibition...the Eric Williams Memorial Collection.” Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs Stuart Young made the announcement last week Thursday at the post-Cabinet news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, St Clair.

Recalling Williams’ tenure as this country’s first prime minister from 1956 to 1981, Young said Government believes Williams, “is someone who we believe should be significantly remembered in more ways than he has already been” for his contributions to TT and the Caribbean region.

Young said as opposition leader, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley approached the then People’s Partnership (PP) government for the collection to be housed at the former public library at the corner of Knox and Pembroke Streets.

Noting the PP rejected that offer, Young said Rowley has discussed the housing of the collection at the old library with Williams’ daughter, Erica Williams- Connell. He said Williams-Connell has agreed for her father’s memorabilia, currently housed at the Alma Jordan Library at UWI’s St Augustine campus, to be permanently housed at the library. Young said the library is 70 to 80 percent complete and once the rennovation is complete, it will be passed over to UWI to be outfitted for the housing of the collection.

Young also said Government has taken no final decision on how to honour the legacy of former Prime Minister Patrick Manning who died on July 2, at the age of 69.

Manning’s son Brian has called for the re-establishment of the Divine Echoes Orchestra and the establishment of a Patrick Manning Development Fund at the International Financial Centre, as ways for his father to be honoured.

Rowley recently said Cabinet will be guided by Brian Manning’s statement that the family would decline an offer for his father to be awarded the Order of the Republic of TT (ORTT) posthumously.

Manning rejected an offer in August 2014 by then Prime Minister Kamla Persad- Bissessar to be given the ORTT along with former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday (who also declined the ORTT).



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