T&T Speaker: New paperless Parliament by 2015
(Trinidad Express) Speaker of the House Wade Mark says the Parliament “wants to get into serious discussions with” Chief Justice Ivor Archie about “the future” of the Port of Spain Magistrates’ Court.
The discussions are to centre around long-term plans for what is being called a “companion” building for the Parliament located north of the Red House.
The building, which Mark says would be “14, 15, 16 storeys” high, is to be built on the block where the Ministry of National Security building, a Regiment post and the Port of Spain Magistrates’ Court as well as a law firm are currently located.
In addition, MPs are to receive iPads—the touch screen tablets (portable computers) that are being used by many instead of laptops.
The Speaker made the disclosures in a TV6 News three-part special report aired last week on the future of the Parliament as it plans for life after the 50th anniversary of this nation’s Independence on August 31.
The Parliament is now housed in Tower D at the International Waterfront Complex in Port of Spain, as its original home—the Red House—undergoes a $241-million-dollar renovation.
A Joint Select Committee of the Parliament (JSC) chaired by Tourism Minister Stephen Cadiz recommended the construction of “a parliamentary companion administrative and business centre” in a report adopted by the end of the second session of the Tenth Parliament in June.
The companion building is estimated to cost TT$205 million. The Speaker explained the long-term vision for the upgraded Parliament which will not only affect the nearby national security offices.
“So it’s not only the restoration of the Red House. It is also a companion building which could be 14, 15, 16 stories high given the circumstances of our needs,” Mark said. This means the future Parliament, as envisioned by the Speaker and the JSC, would include the Red House and the entire block across the street bordered by Knox Street to the south, Abercromby Street to the east, Duke Street to the North and St Vincent Street to the west.
A proposal under the People’s National Movement administration for a new Parliament building to be located at that site and for the Office of the Prime Minister to be relocated at the Red House was never implemented.