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St Clair fence is a Lee Sing plan
Port-of-Spain mayor Louis Lee Sing apologised yesterday to the St Clair Medical Centre and to a T&T Guardian reporter for giving what he described as misleading information. Lee Sing, in a telephone interview with the reporter on Tuesday, said a concrete fence was being erected around a car park used by St Clair Medical at King George V Park, St Clair.
In fact, as Lee Sing told the T&T Guardian yesterday in another telephone interview, the fence is being constructed by the Port-of-Spain City Corporation itself as part of its upgrade plans for the park. St Clair Medical Centre, a private nursing home, rents the southeast corner of the park and uses it for staff and visitor parking.
The mayor apologised to St Clair Medical Centre and to the reporter for the information he gave in the first interview, when he said he did not know who was responsible for putting up the fence. The only information he had at the time of the first interview, he explained, was that the car park was being enclosed, which prompted his concern.
He said yesterday a children’s play park is being constructed by the corporation and is part of the corporation’s $2 million-plus plan for the park. “We intend to have a children’s play park and all of the rules governing a children’s play park. A four-block fence is being constructed with wrought-iron on top of it to protect the children in the play park,” he said.
The upgrade will include three playing fields, including two football fields of international size, a hockey field, a 100-metre running track, two to three small-goal pitches and a pavilion with bathroom facilities below, for which patrons would have to pay so that it could be maintained.
Deputy mayor Keron Valentine, when asked why the mayor did not know his corporation was building the fence, said: “What happened, we know the folks at St Clair Medical were having their own proposals for the site. They wanted to enhance the car park space and pave it, which we told them we could not approve.
“So within the whole heat of getting numerous calls, maybe we jumped the gun and thought St Clair Medical was trying to enhance the car park space.” The concrete blocks and steel, he said, perturbed the public, and the memory of the Lapeyrouse Cemetery incident resulted in the mayor’s pre-emptive statements.
Last year part of the wall around the Lapeyrouse Cemetery was plastered without the mayor and the city council’s consent and caused an outcry because of the wall’s historical significance. Valentine said when he received phone calls about the fence he tried to contact CEO Winifred David but she was unavailable.
Then he contacted chief building inspector Raj Ramthal who told him the fence was being constructed by the corporation. Valentine said he estimated the upgrade would take at least two months.
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