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Red House returns to glory


THE PLANNING Ministry has said the historic Red House has returned to its glory.

“The Red House is a vitally significant example of TT’s tangible cultural heritage. It has been a stage for many dramatic events in the history of this nation. It is the site upon which this democratic nation was born and where that democracy overcame an unprecedented challenge. Therefore, this monument is inextricably connected to the collective consciousness of Trinidad and Tobago and must be protected for the enjoyment of future generations,” said National Trust chairman Margaret Mc Dowall.

The ministry, in a release on Thursday, said the Red House is a listed heritage site and on Friday “it will finally be reopened with pomp and ceremony as the House of Parliament and the birth of our nation’s democracy as Ms Mc Dowall states.”

The ministry said “virtually every century” since building began in 1844, the Red House has been struck by some now-historic event.

“However, after extensive renovation managed by the Urban Development Corporation of TT, it is now ready to own the valuable title and designation as a Grade 1 listed heritage site on the Heritage Asset Registry of the National Trust of TT Council.”

The ministry explained that registered as a listed heritage asset under designation Grade 1, is defined as a “property in which there should be no change, nor alteration to its shape or form, nor in or upon any material object, plant or other thing that may deform or deface the property.” This prevents future redesigns or alterations to be conducted on the building.

The ministry said the Government, in alignment with TT’s National Development Strategy, Vision 2030’s Theme II: Delivering Good Governance and Service Excellence, and in relation to Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, has made a commitment to secure the nation’s heritage assets for future generations.

The ministry explained that in its bid to protect those heritage assets that are fundamental to communities and cities, some of the legislations and policies developed include: the National Protected Area Policy (2011); the National Spatial Development Strategy; the Town and Country Planning Act, which allows for the preservation of historical, architectural or archaeological structures of interest to be placed in development plans; and he National Trust, which has as its focus the improvement of communities through the safeguarding of the built and natural heritage and a mission to lead the efforts for the preservation of TT’s built and natural heritage.

It said it was in keeping with those, policies, “under the stewardship of the Office of the Prime Minister,” that the Government phad renovated five historic buildings in and around Port of Spain: the Red House, Castle Killarney (Stollmeyer’s Castle), Mille Fleurs, President’s House and Whitehall. It said four have been completed and are in full use, and Mille Fleurs is almost complete.

Both Houses of Parliament were relocated to Tower D, International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain in2011 to allow for restoration work on the Red House. The cost of the work by Udecott was approximately $441 million.