THE EDITOR: The official residence of the Speaker of the House of Representatives at No. 9 Mary Street, St Clair, is currently making the news concerning its state of disrepair.
In your editorial of November 18, it was stated that Occah Seapaul was the last Speaker to live in the house. If that is true, then she was the only Speaker to do so.
When I was elected Speaker in 1986, although there was a residence in existence, I could not locate same despite diligent and exhaustive enquiries.
My efforts had to be abandoned in frustration. A public building, dedicated for a specific purpose, could not be located and was in possession of someone who could not have been identified. No one was willing or interested in pursuing the matter.
I therefore made representations for the allocation of another property. I recall how tedious that task was. Eventually the Mary Street property was identified. It was occupied by a retired senior executive of the Police Service who was reluctant to vacate. Eventually possession was retaken by the State, only to discover that extensive renovations were required.
Money during the NAR term in office was hard to come by and the 1990 insurrection only compounded the situation. Eventually the building was ready during the 1991-1995 term when Seapaul utilised the facility.
It was a very old colonial-style building. Today the authorities may be considering whether or not the building should be preserved. In doing so, the National Trust and Udecott should first establish the true history of the building before any official plan for same can be drawn up.
A lot of taxpayers’ money has already been expended. Let us not treat the matter lightly. A Speaker's residence is a vital necessity for the efficient discharge of the responsibilities of the holder of that office.