Local ‘foodie’ fans went into a feeding frenzy last week (pun intended) at the news that Anthony Bourdain, the world-renowned chef, author, and television personality, was in Trinidad.
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$1.5bn to finish Government Campus
It seems that the Government Campus Plaza in Port-of-Spain, which has stood largely unoccupied since the Patrick Manning administration demitted office in 2010, will finally see completion in the next 18 months at a cost of $1.5 billion.
According to Finance Minister Larry Howai, work on the Government Plaza, which is situated between Richmond Street and Wrightson Road, will take another “15 to 18 months to complete.”
Last week, two e-mails were sent and a call was made to the communications department of the Urban Development Corporation of T&T (Udecott), which promised to consider doing an interview with the Business Guardian. However, up to press time on Tuesday, no interview was facilitated.
Howai told the Business Guardian by e-mail two Mondays ago the approximate cost to complete all the buildings is $1.5 billion.
“This includes Customs, Legal Affairs, BIR, (the Ministry of) Education, etc. I accelerated this process with the help of Udecott and the funding has been approved and I understand that the process of tendering has started,” he said.
Last May, following the appointment of a new Udecott board and Jearlean John’s reappointment as chairman, she told the media at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad hotel in Port-of-Spain that construction of the Government Campus Plaza was estimated to have cost $3.2 billion.
A September 2013 Guardian report said that according to the State Enterprises Investment Programme (SEIP), between October 2011 and March, 2012, $1.3 billion had already been spent on the buildings, and in the months between April 2012 and September 2013, a further $779.5 million was allocated under “projected expenditure.”
In the 2014 SEIP, the total cost of the project dipped to $2,419.96 million, but actual and projected expenditure totalled $1,069.61 million.