PM’s mansion climbs to $244M

By Andre Bagoo Monday, March 2 2009

Trinidad and Tobago News Blog

Prime Ministers Residence
Prime Minister's Residence

FIRST it was estimated to cost $40 million. Later, that rose to $148 million. Last September, the figure was revised to $175.3 million. But Udecott documents obtained by Newsday reveal that the cost of the Prime Minister’s Residence and Diplomatic Centre as at December last year was an estimated $244 million. According to a dossier on the project which was submitted by Udecott lawyers to the Uff Commission of Inquiry, the cost estimate for the project, as at December 31, 2008, was $243,961,819.

The dossier contains a cover sheet which breaks down the costs of the project, contrasting estimated costs as at December of last year with earlier budgeted costs as at December 15, 2006.

According to the cover sheet, back in 2006, the total estimated cost of the project was not $148 million as had been previously stated, but rather $179.9 million. This figure included a “construction contract sum” of $148 million. But that $148 million excluded other relevant costs such as $7.1 million in consultancy fees to Udecott, $1.3 million in “miscellaneous” expenses and $23 million in VAT payments.

These pushed the 2006 estimated cost up to $179,990,958, according to the documents. But additionally, by December 2008, the contractor for the Udecott project, Shanghai Construction Group (SCG) incurred $38 million in project “variations” which—as was reported in an exclusive Sunday Newsday report yesterday—included a $6.5 million (VAT exclusive) furniture bill, and a $2.6 million (VAT exclusive) bill for drapes and blinds, as well as other costs.

Among the other costs were: the construction of an “administration building” at a cost of $6.1 million (VAT exclusive); equipping a commercial main kitchen at a cost of $2.5 million (VAT exclusive); landscaping design and construction at $2.6 million (VAT exclusive); the building of a boundary wall at a cost of $4.9 million (VAT exclusive); an “additional” garage for $3.6 million; cable removing for general power supply at $1.1 million (VAT exclusive) and an additional lounge room for drivers at a cost of $1.6 million (VAT exclusive).

But in addition to these $38 million variations, utility works and the outfitting of a media room also racked up a $6.3 million (VAT exclusive) bill which added to the project’s estimated cost.

Additionally, VAT exclusive payment to consultant Genivar was estimated at a cost of $467,267 in addition to a revised fee of $9.6 million for Udecott. By December 31, 2008, the budget for “contingency” expenses ballooned dramatically to $5million, while the budget for “miscellaneous” expenses shrank from $1.3 million to $290,365. There was also the matter of budgeting for taxes. The estimated total for VAT for the project in December last year was $30.7 million while the total for import duty was $5.4 million.

All of these additions brought the estimated cost of the project to $243.9million as at December 2008, according to the documents. On September 9 last year, in response to a question filed by Opposition Senator Wade Mark, Minister in the Ministry of Finance Mariano Brown said the cost of the PM’s residence rose from $148 million to $175.3 million due to project variations. “As far as I know that is the final construction cost, but as you are aware when one moves into a place and undertakes functions, things come up from time to time,” Brown said. He gave no details of the consultancy fees or the cost of utilities for the project and said the total project variations amounted to $27.3million. He did not disclose projected VAT costs to be incurred by SCG specifically for the PM’s residence at La Fantasie, St Ann’s.


“Construction contract sum” $148million

Variations (including drapes and blinds;

furniture, kitchen and bedclothes) $38million

Utilities, landscaping, media room $6.4million

Consultants (Genivar, Udecott) $10million

“Contingency, miscellaneous” $5.3million

VAT and import duty $36.2million

TOTAL $243.9million,95958.html

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19 thoughts on “PM’s mansion climbs to $244M”

  1. Allyuh’ “PNM till ah die”up in Laventille living on corn soup, bread and milk, I hope yuh’ payin’ attention.This man is out of control.He lives like a king and his adoring masses are told to tighten their belts. If alyuh’ tighten yuh’ belt any more yuh’ spine go break in half. But then yuh’ could get two URP wuk.

  2. come on people it is time to tell manning he cannot live a high life with our money,our money,all homeless must march to your mansion and pickup residence their.throw out manning and his family back to san fernando and take back your country.just remember the dog cannot wag the tail,that is wat going since the pnm is in power,so it is time to put them out.

  3. Is the prime minister’s house like the white house in the US. If there is a change in goverment after the election, will mr. Manning allowed to reside in the mansion?. Please respond.

  4. These pointless anti- mansion rants are useless, if the monies that might be saved from spending less on construction are not used for the benefit of the nation at large.
    Shows clearly that most of these critics and obvious phonies are mere ant- Manning/ PNM, as opposed to pro people in their agenda. As such they should be disregarded.

  5. Corruption sank the UNC government. Look like it is keeping the PNM government afloat.

  6. PM for life, how much is he paying those fools in the opposition parties to keep him there?

  7. Spending big
    SO, the cost of the Prime Minister’s Residence and Diplomatic Centre now stands at $244 million – up from an initial $40 million, rising to $148 million, and then to $175 million by last September, and now to $244 million.

    $1.2M for moat at PM’s residence
    UDECOTT approved a $1.2 million proposal for the installation of a moat as well as landscape lighting at the Prime Minister’s Residence and Diplomatic Centre, according to Udecott documents submitted to the Uff Commission of Inquiry.

    PM’s moat has own lighting

  8. Neal, what are you blind or stuck on stupid – do you not see that he is taking the money out of tax payers pockets to build this abode….

    Tell me something Neil, IF the UNC would have done something like this, would you have said the same thing, I DOUBT IT..As such, I would say that it “Shows clearly that most of these critics and obvious phonies are mere anti-UNC, as opposed to pro people in their agenda. As such they should be disregarded.” So you should be disregarded

    Come on people, stop following the good ole U S of A…they DO NOT GIVE TWO SHILLINGS ABOUT YOU…

    Read the Express this morning,, people are starting to see

  9. I don’t like de Newsday dey too bloody anti PNM!
    How come de good ole Guardian eh seh notin bout cost ovahrunn..?

  10. Why must we always lable people as anti government, in this instance, anti PNM. How does one conclude such? I am always at a lost to understand this, because we must be free to criticise things and people and not be labeled as anti.

  11. Darren Maharaj:
    “I don’t like de Newsday dey too bloody anti PNM!
    How come de good ole Guardian eh seh notin bout cost ovahrunn..?”

    -> No wonder you like Manning.. Shows in your spelling abilities.

  12. Ahh it’s good to be back after a few days respite in warm and sunny Texas . Sorry T&T you ain’t the only game in town it seems. Carnival , Cura lime and Store bay boat race certainly cannot be the carrot to lure one home yearly to spend , wine ,and dine. I promised that in 2009 I ‘ll begin to am follow some of my fellow national country haters ,and fine a new region, and country to love. Seriously, what we have here , a tin pan pseudo African that decides to take pot shot at yours truly – an authentic patriot – by depicting me as some PNM fanatic ? Now which hole did cousin Oumbundi emerged from,? Is he so dumb to think that I’ll support a political party that has perennially rode the backs of suffering , lower working and middle class children of slavery , gave them absolutely nothing in return while ensuring that others are elevated and obscure policies and useless colonial traditions remain intact?
    How about this Nate ,let’s do like your ,politically oriented , corrupted ,military Muslim friends and cousins in Nigeria have done since wrestling power from the savage British decades ago . I suggest that we try to resurrect Brigadier Skerrette or his ghost , encourage respected elder statesman and roving editor Mr. Shah of Sandhurst fame to put down his pen ,take up his sword / uniform, and garner together a few of the boys from Tethron and finally finish the job they started in 1970 and 1990, since you obviously do not believe in the democratic process.
    It is jokers like yourself led by the infamous Makandal Dagga and other fringe lunatics like Loyd Best , and the divisive political dinosaurs devoid of ideas that have hijacked the ULF/ UNC for decades , that ensured that Manning , Chambers , and the self opinionate Dr. Williams -aka father of the nation – to be around for so long.
    Get your collective acts together my friend, learn what political coalitions and alliances are all about and you will be able to halt the political goals of the nepotistic king himself Patrick Manning. Hopefully when you assume power along with cousin Panday then in his nineties ,you would encourage him to leave his thirst for revenge aside this time around , and stop putting his hands into the coffers of the country’s financial kitty and go about to finally encourage meaningful cross- sectarian/ ethnic national land reform and equitable distribution of wealth for all citizens. Should I hold my breath? What phonies ! perhaps I should throw in immigration reform as well , Hmmmm?

  13. Me wrote
    -> No wonder you like Manning.. Shows in your spelling abilities.

    Yeah ah pride meh self on meh spellin is de furst ting peopel does see, yuh no furst impresssions an all!


  14. come on all citizens of t&t stop being beaten by a stupid stick,it is plain and simple,take back your country,just have one big protest on all the days of the summit.let the government know they cannot have corruption in all departments they control and get away with it. just remember you are not asking them for somthing,it is yourrrrrs,so go and get it,do not let live life to the fullist while you catching your a**. stand up and fight for your rights.

  15. I would not stop there Randy, you country hating fraud. Let’s show that we are really serious about the debilitating effects of runaway political and corporate corruption in Rainbow Country T&T by demanding firstly that during this period, our local Law Lords start the much delayed trial of the elusive and cunning Basdeo Panday our esteemed Opposition Leader.
    Secondly, we’ll give the authority to our former Chief Justice Satnarine Shama to begin a comprehensive Commission of Enquiry into what really took place at the recently demised Hindu Credit Union and the role of Sat Maharaj and other rabble rousers in probably enticing and duping poor , desperate, citizens of life savings and pensions so as to build the fiefdoms of dishonest foreign diplomats, and CEO bandits such as Harry Harnarine with mansions in Miami Florida. These two actions would send a wonderful subtle message t the world , as if anyone really cares outside of Couva, Chickland , Fyzabad , or Bagatelle road .
    I would encourage our grand UWI Engineering department to finally bring forth that special technological piece of invention machinery that they’ve being working on since snotty nose Erica Williams was running around the PM residence in pony tails. Sorry guys to breech National Security by letting this well kept secret out of the bag for the edification of the nation. I am referring to the one that can smell a phony national as he tries to sneak through immigration ,into good old Trinidad on one of his numerous vacation escapades . It places a prominent T on their passport and foreheads , publicly screech out their names, and encourage officials to use their discretions to arrest, hold them in a smelly Toco pig farm for a month , then deport them permanently back from whence they came after first ensuring the confiscations of all inherited pristine lands across the nation.
    Can’t believe that you are so naïve to really believe that Third World politicians cares about public protest, as a means for genuine social and economic and political development or changes. To compound it , you are requiring the impossible -namely the coming together for a common noble cause by a people that prefers remain divided by so -called racial and ethnic differences for 362 days per year with the exception of paltry pretense come Carnival Mondays and Tuesdays.

  16. Ahh, Neal, you are back good good! I just came back from TnT after spending some time with my Indian family celebrating phagwa and my african side family just catching up on old times

    I’ve read your entire gum rushing and I realized one thing, man, you did not anser the question, maybe you really are stuck on stupid.

    I asked you to say yes or no – would you have the same reaction to this bloggers comment if it was the UNC that was doing this spending? Be direct and dont be scared…and stay away from the whole sons of slaves garbage, you, I and my father’s african family knows that slavery started way before Europeans and you arab brothers came in, you know that AFRICANS OWNED SLAVES ALSO!!!

    Neal, why dont you just say you dont like indian people and those who are mixed wit indians, huh? When Patrick Manning is building these mansjons and going to spa resorts, who do you think is paying for it?? The people are man, come on now. And get off the who immigration thing, there are born and bred africans who fall under this topic also, dont be blind, open up your eyes and see through the lies..

    And the only pseudo is your view on everyone else BUT africans/blacks/sons of slaves

    I am mixed and I see both sides and both sides get along quite well..Dhoti or Dashiki, makes no difference..

  17. Nate you are obviously mistaking me for someone else. I am pro people. Again , if your conclusions after reading all that I have written on this blog within the past year is that , I am anti Indian , anti UNC , and somehow only pro black , African , sons of slaves , and most disgustingly pro PNM , then you are even dumber than I thought.
    That’s serves you right Neal. Didn’t you promised not to engage in any deep intellectual discussions with delusional young people that grew up in an orphanage due to daddy running back to his African harem , and did not benefit in an education beyond ABC in backward Penal or La Siva mountains Maraval?
    You are correct about one thing , I should not only be obsessed with this immigration thing as you aptly described it . I should advise our Ministry of Education and Health to pay attention to all those crooks like your Dad from Nigeria that presents daily these phony degrees while pretending to be medical doctors and Phds to stupid gullible Trinis, still enamored with some elusive fantasy of Africa. Nigeria , has 400 million people , 3000 tribes, and perhaps two University of any worth , but everyone of these jokers that enters our port is a doctor . Go figure.
    Who does this clown with the stupid name think he is talking to , as he gush with glee about “spending some time with my Indian family celebrating phagwa.” The only way someone like yourself would be tolerated near a Phagwa calibration this century is to clean up the colorful Abir from the ground after the joyous celebrants have long past.
    I and the rest of the nation would finally begin to give the UNC the attention it truly deserves, when a comprehensive trial begins that leads to the obvious conviction of Mr. Panday the crook. If this is what it takes to finally remove him from political power , and produce a more viable , honest ,and less vindictive leader , then so be it. The party that the progressive Mr. Raffique Shah helped build deserves better , as well as our country , as many eagerly anticipate an authentic challenge to the policy dormant , and often arrogant PNM with their growing self- opinionated hierarchy.

  18. PM residence stage costing $10m

    It’s an outdoor stage, not concert hall—Imbert
    The new structure being built on the compound of the Prime Minister’s official residence is an outdoor stage—and not a “concert hall” —and is going to cost approximately $10 million, Works Minister Colm Imbert said yesterday.

    Imbert: If figure is correct, it’s value for money
    ONE day after Sports Minister Gary Hunt confirmed that the real cost of the controversial flag at the Hasely Crawford Stadium is $2 million, Works and Transport Minister Colm Imbert was reluctant to tell the media whether or not, the cost of the new building being built at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s was $10 million.

    Media lounge, drivers’ lounge for Diplomatic Centre


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