(Trinidad Express) PARTS of the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) have been shut down as they were deemed unsafe by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism Lincoln Douglas confirmed yesterday.
Douglas, who is currently in Tokyo, Japan, told the Express he intends to take a note to Cabinet for a special allocation, which could run into hundreds of millions, to address the “fundamental problems” at NAPA.
NAPA was constructed under the former People’s National Movement (PNM) government administration at a cost of approximately TT$500 million.
In April, Douglas had told Parliament NAPA was showing some “significant signs of deterioration” because of the low-grade type of materials and workmanship.
He said tiles were falling off the building, plumbing was failing due to inferior-grade sanitary ware and fittings, and the foundation was failing, in terms of its design and filtration system.
He said the moving stage showed major defects and support stands for the stage were crumbling.
Douglas said further, there were leaks appearing around the steel pipes, indicating a breakdown of the wall of the pipes, on the assumption inferior pipes were used by the contractor.
Since April, the problems at NAPA have escalated, resulting in some of the areas being shut down.
Douglas said the issues are being addressed.
He said there were serious problems with design and infrastructure and, also, the lack of maintenance.
“It is quite a significant effort to bring that whole building into compliance. We have been working on it,” he said.
“I have asked the PS (permanent secretary) to continue a full study into all of the issues for us to take a note to the Cabinet to deal with that building. We are talking about hundreds of millions to bring this building into compliance,” he said.
He said when the building was constructed, there was no long-term maintenance plan in place and over the years, it deteriorated.
“Some of the floors are not even fixable. There are fundamental problems that need to be addressed,” he said.