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Wednesday 22 January 2020
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PM's Tobago residence ready for Dec 21 party

The new Prime Minister's residence overlooking the ocean in  Blenheim, Mount St George. PHOTO BY DAVID REID - DAVID REID
The new Prime Minister's residence overlooking the ocean in Blenheim, Mount St George. PHOTO BY DAVID REID - DAVID REID

THE Prime Minister's official residence in Tobago is a spacious two-storey structure, with a prayer room, four bedrooms and a multi-purpose room that can be used for Cabinet meetings and other high-level state events.

The $18 million building is in Blenheim, on the site of the prime minister's old official home, east of Scarborough.

It also has a swimming pool, sitting room, accommodation for visitors, well-manicured grounds and "a spectacular view of the ocean."

An Urban Development Corporation of TT (Udecott) official recently shared details of the residence with Newsday, days after Dr Rowley announced it was complete.

During a recent PNM meeting in Diego Martin, Rowley said he was very pleased with the house, which was built by Tobago-based contractor Parks International Ltd and managed by Udecott.

"It done. It finish. It nice," he declared, saying it was also ready for occupation.

At the meeting, Rowley also announced his intention to host a Christmas reception at the residence on December 21.

However, the Udecott official could not say if the reception would also double as the official opening of the residence.

"I know for a fact that it was completed about one month ago and the prime minister stood up on a platform and said he is having a function on December 21," he said.

"It is not going to be a formal opening, but the first function at the residence."

The PM's Tobago residence made headlines in August when Opposition MP Dr Roodal Moonilal alleged, at a UNC meeting in Debe, that the cost of the project had ballooned from an estimated $2 million for minor repairs to $18 million and that contractors wanted more money.

Udecott later held a news conference accusing Moonilal of spreading lies and misinformation about the project.

The news conference also provided timeliness in the project's development.

More recently, at a UNC meeting in Sangre Grande, UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar also accused Rowley of spending millions of dollars on the project, money which she said could have been better utilised helping people.

The Udecott official poured cold water on Persad-Bissessar's argument, saying the construction of the residence was long overdue.

"It is practically built, and gives Tobago its rightful place, because as it now stands, if Dr Rowley did not have a house, every time he goes to Tobago, he has to go to a hotel."

The official added: "But It is not to say that we went out and looked for a new site. It is just that the last administration allowed the house to fall into disrepair. It was demolished because the roof collapsed, termites ate everything and a decision was taken to demolish it and put up a new residence."

The official said one distinguishing characteristic of the new residence is that it has eliminated the need to rent hotel space or conference facilities for events.

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