Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar is offering to sell her Phillipine home to San Fernando East MP Patrick Manning for $30 million. This figure is in stark contrast to the $150 million that Manning has alleged the two-storey structure is worth. Persad-Bissessar openly made the challenge to Manning during an exclusive interview with Sunday Guardian yesterday, where she vehemently denied the allegations made by the former Prime Minister in Parliament on Friday.
Describing the allegations as "mischief," Persad-Bissessar said: "Who would believe a house could cost $150 million. In fact, if he gives me $30 million for the house right now I would sell it to him. He does not have to worry about the balance. Give me $30 million now and take it... "It is totally false and designed to bring me into disrepute. So far, I have only spent $3 million on that house; to complete it may cost around $500,000."
Kamla house facts
Probing by Sunday Guardian has revealed that PMs home at Phillipine has been under construction since 2002–some eight years now.
�2The house, which is situated on three acres of land, comprises six bedrooms, inclusive of a master suite, five bathrooms, kitchen, dinning room, living room, two study rooms, laundry room, porch and a splash pool.
�2�Further probing revealed that two parcels of the land were purchased in 1990 at a cost of $85,000 per acre from former assistant Transport Commissioner, Walter Archibald.
�2 The third parcel of land which adjoins the two-acre parcel, Sunday Guardian understands, was purchased in 1995 from owner of Paramount Transport Keith Lutchmansingh at a cost of $110,000.
�2 Information obtained by Sunday Guardian has revealed that deceased attorney Wendell Kangaloo executed two deeds on December 4, 1990 for the two acres of land. The deed numbers are registered as 198110 of 1990, while the property assessment numbers are listed as 3zn-231 and 3zn-232.
�2 The third acre of land was purchased on June 12, 1995. The deed number 10428 was executed by Persad-Bissessar and the property assessment number is listed as 3zn-36.
Persad-Bissessar confirms deed information
Confirming the information yesterday, Persad-Bissessar said: "I have my deeds as proof when I purchased the parcels of land. I challenge Mr Manning to make those statements out of Parliament. Desperate people do desperate things." Persad-Bissessar further revealed that on March 5, 2001 approval for construction of a dwelling house was granted by retired certified engineer, Vasco Lorielle and building inspector, A Beux. The San Fernando City Corporation granted further approval on April 8, 2002. "At all times materials, all assets, income, liabilities have been declared on my Integrity In Public Life forms, including the land and building," the Prime Minister declared.
'I have my WASA bill'
The Prime Minister further denied the allegation that her Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC) and Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) connection were illegal. Quoting the account numbers–798571-697073 (T&TEC) and 0378970e (WASA), Persad-Bissessar said: "I have a copy of a WASA bill in my possession right now. If I had an illegal connection would I be able to pay my bills?
My husband Gregory has been a doctor for over 30 years and I am an attorney for over 25 years, we have sacrificed and worked hard for what we want. It is our hard earned income over the last years that is being used to build that house. If Mr Manning did not call snap election construction would have been continuing still. It is totally offensive because it did not happen overnight; not in six months... It is mischief."
The PM's Diplomatic Centre and residence in St Ann's. Photo: Andre Alexander
The entertainment centre at the PM's Diplomatic Centre, taken yesterday. Photo: Keith Matthews
Former Prime Minister, Patrick Manning claimed that PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar's house in Phillipine cost $150 million and is larger than the PM's residence in St Ann's.
About the Diplomatic Centre and residence
�2 Former Prime Minister, Patrick Manning built the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann's at about $175.3 million.
�2 The final cost of the official residence was $41, 952,091 million and $63,478,403 million for the diplomatic centre. Other costs of $42,584,639 million were also incurred for design of the facilities plus construction of external structures including security, a pool and "additional water features."
�2 Browne confirmed the additional facilities included an administration building, a multi-vehicle garage, a drivers' lounge for drivers of visiting dignitaries and additional public washrooms.
Diplomatic Centre features
�2 Two conference rooms, guest, sitting and dining rooms, prayer room. The remaining area provides additional meeting/reception areas, including sleeping accommodation for visiting VIPs, plus security and service requirements. Space allocated for the living quarters is 557 square metres.
In the aftermath of the May 24 general election, Persad-Bissessar moved into the PM's official residence after the one-month anniversary of her victory. Persad-Bissessar had said on the campaign trail she was not interested in living at the Prime Minister's residence and had raised concerns about the multi-million-dollar project, which was built by the Shanghai Construction Company Ltd. Instead she had offered the house to President George Maxwell Richards to use after a part of the roofing at President's House collapsed. He declined the offer.