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Sucesos de Venezuela | Actor VS Angel gigi russian//
‘Only for official duties’

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‘Only for official duties’

President’s House has been restored at a cost of $89 million and features a presidential suite, but President Paula-Mae Weekes will not be moving in.

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Weekes will continue to live at her private residence, the Office of the President (OTP) confirmed ­yesterday.

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In March 2018 when she was sworn in, Weekes declined to take up residence at the cottage located on the grounds of President’s House, saying she would remain at her Diego Martin home to care for her elderly mother.

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She has been provided with presi­dential security at her private residence since that time.

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President’s House was officially handed over to the Office of the President during a ceremony on Tuesday night, where Weekes as well as other officials and dignitaries celebrated the restoration of the historic building with a cocktail ­reception.

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Weekes said there the accommodation for a president must befit the status and dignity of the office.

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But a release from the OTP yesterday said Weekes will not be living at President’s House and will only use it for official duties.VS Angel gigi russian

Due to limited office space, the day-to-day business operations of the Office of the President will continue at the nearby office block, the OTP added.gigi russian model

Weekes will, however, utilise the residential quarters at President’s House for periods in between office hours and official engagements.gigi russian modelo

Green with envy

The president was criticised by many on social media yesterday, in the wake of her comments at the opening ceremony on Tuesday night, where she admitted being jealous of the accommodation of other heads of state.gigi modelo rusa

She said while some citizens feel as though the money spent on renovations could have been allocated to public services, the restoration of national pride must also be a priority

“In October, I paid a courtesy call to my counterpart, the Governor General of Jamaica, and my brown eyes turned green with envy as I ­beheld his stately colonial dwelling,” she said

She noted Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo visited Trinidad and Tobago in June, and he was met in a “cramped and inappropriate” setting, as there was no suitable ­venue

“Early in the planning stage, I was requested to consider hosting a State function—either a dinner or some cultural event—and I ­despaired when I learnt that there was no available external venue for either type of function on the dates then under consideration,” she said

“Certainly it could not have then been held at President’s House. That was neither a desirable nor acceptable state of affairs,” she added

She said it was important for holders of high office to be provided with suitable accommodation, which would lead to improved national pride

Memories for Hassanali

Criticism also came from environmental activist Gary Aboud, who said the $89 million renovation cost was an insult and a slap in the face to all the flood victims

Aboud said while he agrees ­national pride needs to be boosted, with so many people living in poverty, the Government should be ensuring value for money. He called the decision to spend $89 million on renovations a “national disgrace”

The wives of two former presi­dents have, however, voiced their support for the restoration of Presi­dent’s House

They are Zalayhar Hassanali, widow of former president Noor Hassanali; and Dr Jean Ramjohn-­Richards, widow of former president George Maxwell Richards

Hassanali and ­Ramjohn-Richards were present at the official opening of President’s House on Tuesday night

Speaking with reporters, Hassanali said she felt a sense of pride to see the historic building restored to its former glory

Hassanali lived at President’s House for ten years from 1987 to 1997 while her husband served as president

She said seeing the building restored brought back many fond memories. “I feel a sense of pride. It is so beautiful with all the chandeliers… it is lovely,” she exclaimed

“We lived here for the full ten years and we did a lot in this house while we were here, so it brings back a lot of memories for me and of course I am thinking very much of my husband, Noor.”

Hassanali reminisced on days where heads of state and royalty from all over the world were ­entertained at President’s House. She added that during her time there, members of the public were often allowed to come in and experience it

“We tried to bring as many people as we could so that they can develop that sense of national pride when they walk into the house,” she said

But Hassanali’s memories ­weren’t all positive, as she noted it was while living at President’s House that she injured her foot

Termites had eaten the floorboards, causing her to lose footing and injure her ankle, she said

Nevertheless, she said the restoration of the building would indeed help to restore national pride

“I know everybody is happy that the building has been restored,” she said

Richards’ choice

Ramjohn-Richards expressed similar sentiments, although she had never lived at the building while her husband served as president from 2003 to 2013

By then, the building was too dilapidated to occupy, even before the earthquake that caused severe damage to the structure in 2007

“We never occupied this house. When we came in 2003 and we looked upstairs it was very dilapidated, so my husband and I decided we were not going to live here and we went back to our own home in Maracas, St Joseph,” she said

“And then they said they would renovate the cottage. It took about two years and we moved into the cottage,” she said

Ramjohn-Richards said the cottage suited her and her husband’s lifestyle, as it was small and homely and her dogs could be allowed to run around freely

In 2010, a large part of President’s House collapsed during a bout of bad weather, while Presi­dent Richards and his wife were reportedly asleep in the cottage at the back of the compound

Upon winning the 2010 general election, former prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said she had offered Richards use of the Prime Minister’s Residence, which he declined

Richards and his wife then ­returned to their St Joseph home

Though she never had the opportunity to live at President’s House, Ramjohn-Richards she said she was happy to see the historic building restored, as it puts T&T on par with other countries

“We have travelled a lot, and you go to different countries and you see their buildings, you see their president’s houses, they invite us to the presidential palace, and when you look at it you feel so upset that our place was so run down

“But I am very happy now. I hope the president will enjoy this new place. It has really been brought back to exactly what it was before,” she said

Carmona’s controversial housing allowance

Former president Anthony Carmona and his wife, Reema, were not at the official opening on Tuesday night

Carmona served as president from 2013 to 2018, and stayed at the cottage on the grounds of Presi­dent’s House from May 2015 until he demitted office. Prior to that, the Carmonas had been provided accommodation at Flagstaff Hill

This matter became the subject of an investigation into why Carmona had been paid a $28,000 monthly housing allowance from Ju­ly 2013 to May 2015, de­spite al­so be­ing pro­vid­ed with State ac­com­mo­da­tion at Flagstaff Hill

On Tuesday night, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley celebrated the completed renovations of Presi­dent’s House, saying the largest “jewel” in T&T’s crown had been restored

He lauded the work of the architects, managers, labourers and those involved in the restoration effort

Rowley said he felt a sense of pride, as “after years, we are able to do business at the house of the ­president”

With the Christmas season in full swing, Rowley said the opening of President’s House could not have come at a better time