Shame: President’s Roof Collapses

Top Floor of West Wing, President's House Collapses
Top Floor of West Wing, President's House Collapses
Shame, Shame, Shame

By Rhondor Dowlat and Andre Bagoo
Monday, May 17 2010

A LARGE section of the top floor of the West Wing of the President’s House in St Ann’s, directly above the visitor’s entrance, came crashing down on Saturday morning owing to the dilapidated nature of the Official Residence of the country’s Head of State/Commander in Chief.

Newsday was told that following Friday’s heavy showers, the roof and wall facing the Botanic Gardens, collapsed. No one was reported to have been injured and there was no confirmation, up to late last night, on whether or not President George Maxwell Richards was on the compound at the time of the incident.

In fact, what is amazing, is that there has been no official statement from the Government on what can aptly be described as a national shame and disgrace. For several months, President George Maxwell Richards and his wife, Dr Jean Ramjohn-Richards, have been living in a cottage near to their Official Residence.

Not too far away from President’s House is the posh Prime Minister’s Official Residence and Diplomatic Centre at La Fantasie.
Full Article :

Minister of Works, Colm Imbert Inspects the Damaged President's House
Minister of Works, Colm Imbert Inspects the Damaged President's House
Max’s roof caves in

Imbert: Structure old

By Jensen LaVende
Monday, May 17th 2010

PART of the roofing of a building located on the compound of President George Maxwell Richards’s official residence – President’s House, St Ann’s – collapsed yesterday morning.

The collapse is said to have occurred around 1.30 a.m., according to sources at the residence. The source added that crashing sounds were heard coming from the area where the roof caved in during the course of the day on Saturday, indicating that ’things were falling off the shelves’.

President Richards and his wife, Dr Jean Ramjohn-Richards, were said to have been fast asleep and did not venture out of their home, located to the back of the building, during the incident.
Full Article :

23 thoughts on “Shame: President’s Roof Collapses”

  1. Lets face it we are all responsible for this roof collapse. We decided to support Manning to build his lagacy that rediculous monstrosity of a hosay he lives in, and white elephant the Performing Arts Center so we look cultured like him rather than spend a much smaller amount of money to fix a much better archetectural gem to protect the pres. Our bad judgment as voters is here to haunt us.

  2. Was not this building slated for repair for some time now? Roofs of old structures collapse all the time. What would be a source of shame would be if every appropriation for the repairs was voted down, or if some obstructionist refused to approve the contract. Repairing an old building is not the same as building a new one, the technology is quite different. Look how much scaffolding is holding up the Red House, which looks like a much stronger buildingthn the old President’s residence.

    What the government needs to do is insure these old teasures with Lloyd’s of London, so that they would HAVE to be maintained for the policy to be valid, and when mother nature deals us a blow, there is insurance money to put it right.

    I have lived through two hurricanes, Hugo and Ike, as well as Tropical Storm Allison. In every case, Insurance repaired the damage, and where it was not my house, as in Hugo, compensated me for the loss of furnishings.

    Part of our national appropriations should be disaster insurance. Please do not choose any fly by night jumped up insurance company.(My money is frozen in CLICO) Lloyd’s of London was the absolute guarantor in all my cases. I was promptly paid and the new roof put on.

    They say I think like a North American, but I have lived here half my life, and the other half there.I have benefitted from both.

    Meanwhile, official receptions can contiue at the Diplomatic Center. The Archbishop of Port-au_Prince was INSIDE his cathedral when it collapsed on him during the Haitian earthquake. Another act of God.Our president is lucky.

  3. This is a disgraceful situation especially given the hundreds of millions spent on the Prime Minister’s residence. There was no urgency to take care of our Head of State.

    If Mrs. Kamla Persad Bissessar wins the election she could allow His Excellency Professor George Maxwell Richards and his family to take up residence at the Prime Minister’s House at La Fantasie, St. Ann’s. She could of course get one of the many mansions in Federation Park.

    1. Well Christine, Kamla seems to be listening to you! She announced tonight that she will ask Max to move into the Palace after Tuesday. I do agree with your (and Kamla’s) sentiments.

    2. Well Christine …………….. Mrs. Bissessar stated that very thing on the platform a few days ago.

      Once she comes into power she will allow the president to occupy the Prime Minister’s resident.

      Also to add to it she stated the the Ministers will take a pay cut to put into a fund for the country.

      I am not sure if Manning is willing to copy that since they copy all the adds, posters and talks on the platform.

  4. To allow a building steeped in history to run to the ground speaks to the depth our government has taken this wonderfull country of ours.I want the Prime Minister to explain this one away,SHAME,SHAME ON YOU MR.PRIME MINISTER.



    1. yeah its a hoax ………………. everything is a hoax in this place.

      Do you see with happened at the St Joseph Park. They literally welded on pieces or BRC to cover the public entrance. Wow the extent of these people.

      God do not sleep he sees everything with an open eye

  6. Is there a more immature , confused , and often comical people in the entire world as dem Trinis? A few dollars to refurbish the PM’s residence brings out the wrath , and outrage ,in many , as if we are one of those tin pan , pseudo democratic Third world country in parts of say Asia , Africa ,Middle East, or Latin America, where the leaders are privilege pass on his official resident to his ancestors.
    At the same time we allow the President resident to fall to waste , so that he was nearly killed due to this collapse , and the government is accused of gross negligence , even if the building was around since Henry V111 , was raping and beheading his 10 wives , en route to creating his own church .
    Make up your mind folks , for we conspiracy theorist might begin to put on our thinking caps. Too many coincidences – murder of Opposition candidate in a PNM strong enclave, kidnapping of Kamla Granpa car and driver, and now this ?
    “Lord put a hand, and if you can’t put a hand ,then please put a foot!”
    Ah tell you , Naipaul you , and similar pseudo Europeans / Yankee/ Canadians, could despise this country as much as you like ,for that’s your right, but I love it real bad, bad, bad! As cousin Funny said in song “when ah dead , just bury me , in the center of the city,” yes?

  7. All diatribe, no accountability as usual! Does historical preservation mean anything in the WI? Probably not, since it was all built by the colonial imperialist that made us and have us the way we are, pathetic humans, not our fault. Ever heard of building codes, annual preventive maintenance or just plain ole responsibility? Does government engineers there have to have a PE to get hired? Fire someone quick, start with the highest paid, work downwards until the root cause is removed like cancer. Make a few heads roll for not doing their jobs and ah bet outcomes and expectations would vastly improve. New asphalt pavements for the constituents to make they way to the voting booth, no running water, power outages, crime rampant…Doh forget every vote counts and yuh cah complain if you choose not to vote.

  8. The government did not think it was important to repair the President’s House because Patrick Manning was busy preparing to become the Executive President. In other words, the current functions of the president would have been merged with that of the prime minister’s which would have given Patrick Manning a new level of authoritarian power.

    When Patrick Manning moved into the prime minister’s house, he inherited a building that was recently renovated, at a cost of several million dollars, when Basdeo Panday was Prime Minister. This was widely publicized. It is not like Patrick Manning inherited a residence that was in a state of disrepair, which would have given him cause to rebuild it. But tearing down and building a new prime minister’s house to the magnitude that was done, around $300 million or so, was about indulging Manning’s fantasy of a grandiose residence befitting of the Executive Presidency (hopefully for himself for life).

    The President’s House was a different case. The general public does not have access to the President’s house so many may have been unaware of its state. There were no widespread reports of its dilapidated condition. But some people were aware and were urging the government to commence the restoration of the house. The President should have insisted that this issue be addressed. The point I am making is that the general public cannot be faulted too much for not putting pressure on the government to ensure that the President was safe, within the walls of his residence, that is.

    However, given statements from Colm Imbert that the government had plans to repair the house, the Prime Minister and other ministers were in fact aware of the state of disrepair of the President’s house. If it were not for Manning’s obsession with grandeur for himself, he would have seen that the repair of the president’s house was an urgent priority that required speedy redress.

    This situation could have been avoided. This is Patrick Manning’s and the President’s disgrace.

  9. Max to stay in PM’s Residence
    UNITED National Congress (UNC) chairman Jack Warner last night drew loud cheers from a large crowd at the party’s political meeting in La Brea, when, predicting a victory for the People’s Partnership, he said as prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar would invite President George Maxwell Richards to stay at the multi-million-dollar official Prime Minister’s residence at La Fantasie.

    Jack: Max to live in PM’s house
    After UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is named Prime Minister next Tuesday she will invite the President to occupy the Prime Minister’s residence until President’s House is restored, UNC chairman Jack Warner said last night.

    UDECOTT to Repair President’s House
    The next Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago will not be sworn in by President George Maxwell Richards at President’s House, St Ann’s as, almost ten years after the building was first condemned as structurally unsound by the Ministry of Works and Transport, Minister of Works Colm Imbert yesterday advised Richards to vacate his staff from the building “with immediate effect” after a portion of the roof collapsed on Saturday.

    Collapse a national disgrace
    The fact that part of the roof of President’s House, one of this country’s most magnificent heritage buildings, has been allowed to collapse must be a source of huge embarrassment for the Government.

  10. Is this picture of the official residence or is it the buildin to the back of it, closer to the zoo that was used as an administrtive office? I ask this question because in the picture i can see a part of the grand building , while this ne looks like the office building to the dside. Are any media people being deceptive here? There is no doubt that some build collapsed, but was it the official residence or the administative office? Someone living in TnT should go get a picture from near the gatehouse on the Savana Road, and show us the truth.


    Media Release
    18th May, 2010

    The Office of the President wishes to give the public the assurance that no one was hurt as a result of the collapse of the roof on the western end of The President’s House, which took place around two o’clock in the morning on Sunday 16th May, 2010.

    The Office wishes further to clarify that, contrary to the front page headline: ‘President Moves Out’ which appears in the Newsday of today, Tuesday 18th May, 2010, the issue of the President moving from The President’s House, as implied in the headline, does not arise as His Excellency did not occupy The President’s House.

    Functions usually held at The President’s House will, in future, take place at a location to be confirmed.

  12. Max: We didn’t have to move out
    Functions previously held at the President’s House will now be hosted at another location. President George Maxwell Richards and his wife Dr Jean Ramjohn-Richards did not have to move out of the President’s House since they were not staying there, a statement from the Office o the President said yesterday. Contrary to a Newsday headline and story yesterday, Richards did not occupy President’s House, the statement said. Richards has been staying at a cottage behind the President’s House.

    Shame over President’s House
    WE were not at all surprised at the news that the roof at President’s House had collapsed on Saturday. The surprise is that it had not happened sooner, after years of neglect by the Government.

    Respect buried in the rubble
    The collapse of a substantial section of President’s House and the consequential forced evacuation of the premises by President George Maxwell Richards reflect at least two things: one is a lack of national pride in historic buildings; the other is self-interested prioritising.

  13. Atc least we have one honest media-savvy person in this mess. It is his Excepllency, The President. As a former university man, veritas is important to him. I am proud to be a UWI graduate, thought I left long before his tenure. He, at least,knows how NOT to politicise an issue, thus taking some of the bile out of the bite of the critics. This is why we, like Canada and Britain, will continue to need a nonpolitical president/head of state. I salute you, Your Excellency, for pouring oil on troubled waters.It is what educated people do.

  14. I am going to part company with you Madam L, and put the blame squarely on the broad carnival mass loving shoulders of President Max, and the reason is clear. Her Majesty , and Trini much adored Queen ,would not have allowed her official residence Buckingham Palace , to fall into this state of ghastly disrepair, so as to enable the people’s Queen to be placed in any possible disaster of this magnitude,like having a chunk of concrete strik her and Prince Phillip on their respective heads ,while both were reading the British solicitous daily tabloids -in the Royal Bed -about the sexual exploits of young Prince Williams and his numerous gold digging ,girlfriends.
    Far from being this sophisticated statesman as you give him too much credit for , “me think” this was part of a deliberate anti ‘Panman’ plot that was concocted during the recent public Vat19 drinking session ,that occurred between these two nepotistic political leaders, that was geared to hasten the demise of equally adored President Max .
    This would have ensured that he Max R. be replaced by Manning as the new executive President , while Basdeo was expected to lend his support to that cause, en-route to being the second Hindu PM of the region.
    There it is folks , yours truly doing my patriotic duty of enlightening the usually comatose Trini masses.Now to you our so called friends in the sleeping corporate 4th estate/media, if I could figure this out, then why couldn’t you?
    Much luv, and let’s keep ‘dem’ honest.


  16. Mr. Prime Minister Manning, apparently there was nothing of importance on your agenda. Just look at this piece of disgrace. What a damb Blasted SHAME…. Tsk, tsk, tsk!!!

Comments are closed.