City Hall is a national treasure, one of our most elegant and beautiful buildings, admired by all who visit.
After many efforts and pleadings, the government made available $20 million in 2012. The Mayor consulted knowledgeable persons and asked the administration to do likewise. When the work started, the City Engineer was advised that the method being employed was not appropriate. Let us seek expert advice and follow the example of restoration works in nearby Trinidad and Suriname.
In any event, we asked the City Engineer to consider starting with the roof; his response was that $20 million was insufficient.
However, as is the pattern, the City Engineer and Town Clerk are required to report directly to the Local Government Minister.
When the administration, nevertheless, purchased windows not suitable for an historic building, the Mayor invited knowledgeable persons, including senior members of the National Trust, to see it; they all agreed it was an abomination and I made it an issue. The result – since the Town Clerk and City Engineer could not have their own way, and my appeal to the Minister proved fruitless, they had the work stopped, and eventually the money was returned.
All of my letters in this matter were copied to the Minister and are available to those interested.
Thanks to the interest of concerned citizens, the Mayor had a team of experts examine City Hall; they were excited about saving this landmark, and made recommendations to prevent its further deterioration. These were forwarded to Town Clerk Sooba – not all have been implemented.
I have appealed in writing to our Head of State, to do what is necessary to save City Hall.
I pointed out to him that if the concern was that the restoration of the building may bring credit to the incumbent Mayor and Councillors, then since City Hall belonged to the nation, I, the Mayor, and Councillors, need not be involved – but save City Hall.
Everywhere else, governments are involved or supportive in the business of preserving and restoring historic buildings. Why are we different? Where is our pride?
Editorials have dealt with this matter but now that we are in the Budget season, this is a good time to revive interest; I ask the media to help.
City Hall could collapse in a matter of months. Let this stain not be on all of us. I know that as a people, we have not lost our soul.
Save City Hall come what may. We owe it to our ancestors and our descendants.
Delay is dangerous.