Sunday 24 May, 2020

Watch: Red House reopened, parliamentarians told to put citizens first

Photo by Darlisa Ghouralal.

Photo by Darlisa Ghouralal.

The people of Trinidad and Tobago are hurting.

So said President Paula Mae Weekes as she called on the nation’s parliamentarians to put aside the politics and work together to ensure that the needs of the citizenry are met.

She made the comment while speaking at the reopening of the Red House on Friday.


President Weekes said she was speaking on citizens’ behalf, who have written to her on a daily basis complaining that their cries for help have fallen on deaf ears.


“While Parliament and other leaders in the country are dabbling in semantics about whether we are a failed State or in a crime crisis, our citizens are being murdered at an alarming rate, they lack opportunities for employment or are losing their jobs, food prices are spiralling beyond the reach of many, and more and more of our children are falling into the “at risk” category.

Citizens are entitled to look to you for and demand of you solutions to alleviate their pain. They want you to work together for their good.”

She urged the country’s lawmakers to ensure that legislation brought to the parliament promptly addresses critical and pressing issues confronting the population. 

“I hope and pray that as I address this Parliament, holding myself out as a voice for citizens, it is not a voice crying in the wilderness,” she said.

Meanwhile, Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar echoed the sentiments expressed by the President, stating that developing the lives of citizens is a job parliamentarians cannot ignore.

“Our citizens must never be made to feel that politicians found resources to invest in buildings while the basic necessities which are near and dear to them are absent. By doing so we would have defeated the very purpose of Parliamentary democracy.”

Persad-Bissessar said there remained much work to be done in this regard, but noted that this could only be achieved by political opponents putting aside their differences for the good of the nation and creating a system which operates not for the few but for all.

The iconic Red House was restored at a cost of $445,000,000 – a price tag Government has defended.

First look at the Red House

Photos by Darlisa Ghouralal. 

Housing Development Corporation (HDC) Chairman Noel Garcia said the project was delivered ahead of time and within budget.  

The Red House is one of five historic buildings in Port of Spain renovated by Government: Castle Killarney also known as Stollmeyer’s Castle, Mille Fleur, President’s House and the Whitehall Office of the Prime Minister.

Mille Fleur remains the last to be delivered.

Parliament reconvenes at the Red House on Monday, January 27.

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