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No answers from Dookeran on T&T embassy makeover
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran says he is unable to answer questions about renovations to T&T’s embassy in Washington DC but believes they were carried out “a few years ago.” He said the renovations would not have been done last year as a US magazine would have the public believe. Dookeran spoke in a brief interview shortly before yesterday’s ceremonial opening of Parliament.
The embassy is featured in the July/August issue of US architectural magazine, Home and Design. The article said Ambassador Dr Neil Parsan “quickly turned his attention to renovating the embassy” after taking office in February 2011. Dookeran said permanent secretary, Margaret Parillon, was working on responses to questions posed by the T&T Guardian to the ministry two days ago.
Those questions to Parillon’s office and also to the Foreign Affairs communications director remained unanswered up to late yesterday. There was also no response to e-mails sent to Parsan. The Home & Design magazine said renovations to the embassy included custom-made 200-pound mahogany doors and “colourful artwork and luxurious gold silk window treatments” according to the article.
In addition to the creation of offices, the embassy now has a private guest suite, kitchenette and bath, gathering and conference rooms. Parsan was quoted as saying “We wanted it to be functional in orientation but maintain the integrity and originality of the architecture.” The embassy, on Embassy Row, at 1708 Massachusetts Avenue, Washington, DC, was also outfitted with “a hand-carved, inlaid wood base and a quartz-stone top that matches the stone floor.”
These are some of the renovations noted in the article: “an overhaul of the ground-floor foyer with a newly-designed reception area; a renovation of the second floor to accommodate the Ambassador’s office and create a ‘gathering room’ with an attached kitchen for less formal events; a repurposed third floor (formerly home to family bedrooms) that would house two offices and a private guest suite, kitchenette and bath; and the creation of offices on the fourth floor.”
The T&T Guardian learned that the embassy building at Massachusetts Avenue was purchased in 2009 to provide additional space for staff. The embassy currently operates in two adjoining buildings.
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