Port of Spain

Call made to preserve local heritage

Posted on

Opening Remarks
Dr Kris Rampersad, Chair of the National Commission for UNESCO at the Community Based Inventorying Workshop, Trinidad and Tobago, June 22, 2013.

 On behalf of the National Commission for UNESCO greetings and welcome to this the third in a series of Caribbean based workshop in Trinidad and Tobago, Belize and Jamaica, funded by the Government and people of Japan to help our societies safeguard for future generations our intangible living heritage.

This is of course one of several capacity building exercises in which the National Commission is engaged to help develop national capacity, whether it is in creating classrooms like this or sending nationals to benefit from UNESCO training and capacity building opportunities elsewhere.
In this, today we are one step closer to safeguarding our intangible cultural heritage through the mechanisms and provisions of the in Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention – often referred to as the 2003 Convention
It is one of several conventions, quasi legal instruments promoted by UNESCO, to capture, preserve and share the rich diversity of our lifestyles and cultures with each other and promote peace and understanding among our communities and between societies.
This is an exercise to empower our communities and practitioners and knowledge holders in retaining and transmitting knowledge, skills and practices as much as it is in strengthening the mechanisms for researching, documenting, archiving, inventorying for the benefit of future generations.
We think of and lament loss of those knowledge holders who have taken stock of knowledge with them: like Peter Harris who died recently with much of his research and knowledge of prehistoric societies of Trinidad and Tobago passing with him without our realisation of how such knowledge could enrich our understanding of ourselves and of our societies and for our future generations. We must move quickly to capture the accumulated knowledge and experiences these knowledge holders have and let that be part of our thinking when we think of drawing up our inventories – who are some of the most critical sources of knowledge that we should reach before we lose them and irretrievably, too, lose their knowledge.
We are here to strengthen identification of who and what we are; to quote a popular calypso  – how we does walk, how we does talk, how we does cook, how we does lime and wine, key elements that place us among representatives of the sea of humanity that is the UNESCO community.
The focus of this convention on intangible cultural heritage is on the living expressions, knowledge and skills and traditions in the performing arts, oral traditions, practices, beliefs, festivals
Though intangible, we know that they are pivotal to holding the diverse fabric of our social tapestry together, to help intercultural dialogue among ourselves and with communities similar or different elsewhere to promote and, encourage mutual respect for one another.  This exercise is part of the mechanism to particularly address what is a common cry among us; to define and promote inclusivity, to make communities feel represented, understood and respected in the national milieu.
We will find in this process much that we are doing well, and we would want to table these and inventory them among the best practices we would want to share with the rest of the world.
In other areas, we can use the help, particularly in developing infrastructure, systems and processes to respect and value what we have.
A most significant element of this convention is the importance and value it places on communities as central to the smooth running of state apparatus – a fact that sometimes get lost within our bureaurcracies and macro based policies and positioning.

(From left) Discussing safeguarding national heritage at the opening of the workshop on UNESCO Convention for the safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage are: facilitators Rieks Smeets, Chair of the Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO Dr Kris Rampersad; Minister of Arts and Multicultralism Dr Lincoln Douglas, Ambassador of Japan Yoshimasa Tezuka, facilitator, Harriet Deacon, and culture specialist in the UNESCO Jamaica regional office, Hima Gurung. Photo courtesy Kris Rampersad

Call made to preserve local heritage
http://ctntworld.com/cnews2/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5505:call-made-to-preserve-local-heritage&catid=137:c-news&Itemid=707
“We cannot allow our unique traditions to die out with the older generation.” That was the message delivered on Saturday by the Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism, Dr. Lincoln Douglas, who said our cultural heritage must be preserved for future generations.
He spoke at a Workshop on Intangible Cultural Heritage at the Kapok Hotel.
In keeping with the guidelines laid out in the UNESCO’s 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, many local cultural practitioners participated in the workshop.
The Minister said the store of knowledge, which is passed down from generation to generation, is fading and must be collected and documented.
Dr. Kris Rampersad, the Chairperson of the National Commission for UNESCO, said although this country is small in size and more vulnerable to external influences, we can become a strong counter-cultural force if we are secure in our cultural identity.
She said a greater focus on local content on television is needed to promote culture.
The Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism is the keeper of the flame and Minister Douglas said the “Remember When Institute” will serve as a storehouse of the collective cultural conscience for generations to come.

Inventorying of living heritage builds momentum in Trinidad and Tobago


20 June 2013 – Community practitioners, government officials and members of non-governmental organizations are mobilizing themselves for a national workshop on inventorying of intangible cultural heritage to be held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago from 22 June to 1 July 2013.  
Organized by the Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO, the Ministry of the Arts & Multiculturalism of Trinidad and Tobago and the UNESCO Kingston Cluster Office for the Caribbean, the workshop marks a significant step in safeguarding the living heritage of Trinidad and Tobago. It will focus on community participation in the identification and inventory of intangible cultural heritage, organization and management of information, and hands-on experience in preparing field work. The field activity will be reinforced by a pilot inventory activity to follow in proceeding months.
Funded by the Government of Japan, the workshop is part of a sub-regional project being implemented in Belize, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago within the context of UNESCO’s global strategy on capacity building to safeguard intangible cultural heritage. It will be conducted by two experts from the UNESCO facilitators’ network: Harriet Deacon and Rieks Smeets.

Advertisements

Diplomats enjoy stimulating LiTTour of Trinidad’s CiTTyscape through LiTTscapes

Posted on

While Charlie King Junction in Fyzabad South Trinidad was reliving the labour struggles of the early 20th century that preceded Independence, Ambassadors, diplomats, their spouses and other enthusiasts enjoyed a simulating CiTTyscape LiTTour – Journey Through the Landscapes of Fiction of Trinidad and Tobago based on the book: LiTTscapes – Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago by Kris Rampersad.

The tour, which began at the Lady Young Road, circumvented through Barataria, the Beetham, Port of Spain and the Queen’s Park Savannah to give a rare glimpse of the island and its capital through the eyes of fiction writers and fictional characters. The group explored the city landscapes, mindscapes, institutions, festivals, and the islands’ history, politics, economy, culture and society from the perspectives of a range of writers and thinkers from as early as 1595 to present day. The tour covered a range of fictional vision and works of writers as Samuel Selvon, Lawrence Scott, CLR James, Alfred Mendes, Michael Anthony, James Isaiah Boodhoo, Earl Lovelace, VS Naipaul, Derek Walcott, Ismith Khan, Lakshmi Persaud-Seetaram. Sir Walter Raleigh, and many others of the some 60 writers and more than 100 works represented in LiTTscapes.

Among those who participated were Excellencies, Ambassador of Japan Yoshimasa Tezuka and Mrs Tezuka; Ambassador of the Republic of Korea Wonkun Hwang and Mrs Kumdan Hwang; Jan Karlsson spouse of the Ambassador of the Netherlands; Anke Kessler, spouse of the Ambassador of Chile; members of Alliance Francais, musicians Katy Gainham and Eleanor Ryan; Ben Gilbert, son of the Security Adviser to the UN Department of Safety and Security for this region; artist Wendy Nanan and Alliance Francais Marie and Frank Abdullah.  The tour was facilitated by author and educator in Caribbean literature, culture and heritage

Dr Kris Rampersad in conjunction with the Public Transport Service Corporation Know Your Country tours. . Custommade LiTTours by request on any theme, subject, author or district through email lolleaves@gmail.com. For details see www.kris-rampersad.blogspot.com
 
 Above:CiTTyscape LiTTour enthusiasts aboard the bus for the Journeys Through the Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago inspired by the book LiTTscapes – Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago.
Below:  Author/Educator in Caribbean Literature, Culture and heritage Dr Kris Rampersad, musician Katy Gainham and wife of the Ambassador of Chile, Anke Kessler discuss LiTTscapes – Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago.
    

  

Special LiTTour Port of Spain as never seen before June 19

Posted on

Special LiTTour to Port of Spain. June  19, 2013. From 9 am. Duration 3 hours. By Invitation Only.
Experience Trinidad’s capital as never before through the eyes of fiction since 1595 by some 60 writers of more than 100 books.
Email your requests for information and details Call 1-868-377-0326 or email  lolleaves@gmail.com. Read/Listen to review by Professor Al Creighton, Head of Guyana Price for Literature Professor Al Creighton at:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151238027306800.519613.686406799&type=3

LiTTour and LiTTscapes in Spotlight – Final 2 days of Special LiTTour offer

Posted on

LiTTour and LiTTscapes in spotlight as Bocas LiTFest Begins Thursday
Last 2 Days for Free LiTTour Offer: Register Now! call 1-868- http://goo.gl/pcZxm
see also:
http://www.trinidadexpress.com/featured-news/Bocas-Lit-Fest-begins-tomorrow-204384801.html

Bocas Lit Fest begins tomorrow

 At the third annual NGC Bocas Lit Fest which starts tomorrow at the National Library the very first Bocas Henry Swanzy Award for Distinguished Service to Caribbean Literature will be awarded to Trinidadian John La Rose (posthumously) and Sarah White for their own exemplary work publishing and promoting Caribbean writers.
In the 1940s Henry Swanzy was the editor in what is now the BBC World Service of the weekly Caribbean Voices programme that featured creative writing from the English-speaking Caribbean. It became pivotal in shaping the development of the region’s post war literature, now regarded as the Golden Age of Caribbean writing. 
The programme helped launch the careers of many writers who achieved international fame: Trinidadians Sam Selvon and Nobel Laureate VS Naipaul; the other Caribbean Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott from St Lucia; Kamau Brathwaite and George Lamming from Barbados; Jamaicans Gloria Escofery, John Figueroa and Andrew Salkey; Guyanese Edgar Mittelholzer, Wilson Harris and Ian McDonald; and EM ‘Shake’ Keane from St Vincent. 
Between 1943 and 1955 when Swanzy left, 400 stories and poems along with plays and literary criticism had been broadcast by 372 contributors. On Swanzy’s departure the Times Literary Supplement wrote “West Indian writers freely acknowledge their debt to the BBC for its encouragement, financial and aesthetic. Without that encouragement the birth of a Caribbean literature would have been slower and even more painful than it has been”. Naipaul noted that Swanzy brought to the programme ‘standards and enthusiasm. He took local writing seriously and lifted it above the local’. 
John La Rose migrated to Britain in 1961. With his partner, Sarah White, he founded in London in 1966, New Beacon Books, both a pioneering publishing house and a specialist bookshop focusing on writers and writing from the Caribbean. For him publishing was a vehicle to give independent validation to one’s own culture, history and politics, a way of achieving cultural and social change. They published works by writers such as Wilson Harris, Andrew Salkey, Errol Hill, Dennis Scott, Erna Brodber, Mervyn Morris, and numerous others. 
La Rose co-founded with Andrew Salkey and Kamau Brathwaite, the Caribbean Artists Movement, providing a platform for Caribbean artists, poets, writers, dramatists, actors and musicians. In 1982 he co-founded and directed the International Book Fair of Radical Black and Third World Books until 1995. The George Padmore Institute, an archive, library and educational research centre housing materials relating to communities of Caribbean, African and Asian descent in Britain and continental Europe, was established in 1991.
On Thursday at 5 p.m. Horace Ove’s film on La Rose Dream to Change the World will be screened, followed by a short talk by Sarah White on the work of the late John La Rose and presentation of the inaugural Award. 
Every year the NGC Bocas Lit Fest and the National Museum and Art Gallery partner to invite an artist to create a limited-edition work of art. The first numbered piece becomes part of the unique Festival Art Collection of the National Museum and Art Gallery. Funds raised from the sale of the signed, numbered works go to the Lit Fest.
The 2013 festival artist is Wendy Nanan whose piece for this year’s event was unveiled on the First floor of the National Museum and Art Gallery, Frederick Street, Port of Spain. Born in Port of Spain in 1955, she obtained the BFA (Painting) in the UK and currently lives and works in Port of Spain. She has been exhibiting regularly since 1985, including shows in France, Britain, Canada, and the Dominican Republic.  
Transmission pursues Nanan’s interest in the book form, and the idea of the transfer of knowledge.  
A special tour of Port of Spain through the eyes of award winning fictional writers and famous characters began last Saturday.
Based on the critically acclaimed LiTTscapes – Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago by Kris Rampersad, the LiTTour starts 8 a.m. by prebookings only, leaving from the South Quay compounds of the Public Transport Service Corporation, through the capital city: landscapes and lifestyles; institutions, cultural life, politics, architecture and will be free to persons who, until tomorrow, purchase, a copy of LiTTscapes – Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago. 
LiTTscapes presents Trinidad and Tobago through some 60 writers in more than 100 works since 1595. Head of the Guyana Prize for Literature, Professor Al Creighton described LiTTscapes as a work of art; a documentary, a travelogue, a critical work with visual and literary power.  It takes us on a tour of the country, giving some exposure to almost every aspect of life. 
In conjunction with LiTTscapes and LiTTours, launched last August, Rampersad has also introduced LiTTributes – events in tribute to Caribbean cultures and creativity which have to date been staged in Guyana, Antigua and Trinidad and Tobago and soon in the UK and USA. They are meant to promote literacy, creativity and interactive appreciation of the global multicultural milieu Trinidad and Tobago.   
Customade LiTTributes and LiTTours based on district, theme or body of literature are available on request. For details contact 377-0326 or email lolleaves@gmail.com and visit: http://www.kris-rampersad.blogspot.com.
The NGC Bocas Lit Fest is free and open to all. It runs from April 25-28 at NALIS.
Free, secure weekday parking is available in Queens Park Savannah with a free hourly shuttle service to NALIS and back. For more information about the Festival programme, visit http://www.bocaslitfest.com.
The 2013 NGC Bocas Lit Fest 
Schedule for Thursday
The 2013 NGC Bocas Lit Fest officially kicks off!
Writers vs. Politicians 
with Martin Daly, Paula Gopee-Scoon, 
Sunity Maharaj, and Ralph Maraj
Looking ahead to our Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference debates, local luminaries read portraits of politicians — hilarious, ironic, tragic — from classic and contemporary works of Caribbean fiction by Jamaican John Hearne, Barbadian Austin Clarke, Trinidad-born
Monique Roffey, and Guyanese Pauline Melville
9–10 am • Old Fire Station
WORKSHOP
Getting started
with Marlon James
For new writers: how to find your subject and voice, and break through the barrier of the opening line
10 am–12.30 pm • 1st Floor Seminar Room
FATHER FIGURES
Colin Grant and Hannah Lowe
chaired by Ruth Borthwick
Prose and verse portraits of Jamaican fathers, by the authors of Bageye at the Wheel and Chick
10.30–11.30 am • Old Fire Station
POETRY
Marion Bethel and Cyril Dabydeen chaired by Nicha Selvon-Ramkissoon
Readings by poets from the Bahamas and Guyana
10.30–11.30 am • AV Room
NEW TALENT SHOWCASE
Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné
The first of our New Talent Showcase writers reads from her poems and discusses her work
12–12.45 pm • Old Fire Station
PERFORMANCE POETRY AND OPEN MIC
Lunchtime jam
A selection of performance poets take their vibe to the streets of the city. Plus a chance for budding
writers to share their work
12–1 pm • Abercromby Street Arcade
FILM
Barbado’ed, dir. Shane Brennan and Paul Arnott
The poorest community in Barbados is the Redlegs, the direct descendants of Scots transported to
Barbados in the 17th century.
Scottish author Chris Dolan discovers what they know about their roots, and what their prospects are
12–1 pm • AV Room
FORGOTTEN STORIES
Andrea Stuart and Chris Dolan
chaired by Margaret Busby
Forgotten parts of the history of Barbados, retold by the authors of Sugar in the Blood and Redlegs
1.00–2.00 pm • AV Room
WORKSHOP
Length matters
with Cyril Dabydeen
There are stories that need a few dozen pages, and some that need a few dozen words. An introduction to short-short fiction
1.30–4 pm • 1st Floor Seminar Room
DISCUSSION
Beyond a Boundary at 50 with Deryck Murray and Arnold Gibbons, chaired by Kenneth
Ramchand C.L.R. James’s great book on sport, politics, and society celebrates its half-century in 2012. A panel of sportsmen and scholars discuss its continuing relevance
1.30–2.30 pm • Old Fire Station
MUSIC
Lovey and Co.
with John Cowley
The first Trinidadian musicians ever to be recorded were Lovey’s Original Trinidad String Band, in 1912. The author of Carnival, Canboulay, and Calypso tells the story, and discusses Lovey’s legacy with Trinidad Express features editor Deborah John
2–3 pm • AV Room
FICTION
Courttia Newland and Ifeona Fulani
chaired by Ryan Durgasingh
A reading of new fiction by the authors of The Gospel According to Cane and Ten Days in Jamaica
2.30–3.30 pm • Old Fire Station
FICTION
Kerry Young and Diana McCaulay
chaired by Giselle Rampaul
Jamaican family histories transformed into fiction by the authors of Pao and Huracan
4–5 pm • Old Fire Station
SHORT TALK
Alison Donnell and Michael Bucknor talk to Barbara Lalla about the Routledge Companion to Anglophone Caribbean Literature, and our evolving literary canon
4–5 pm • AV Room
ONE-ON-ONE
Marina Warner
The British author of Alone of All Her Sex and Stranger Magic talks to Lawrence Scott about myths, history, and stories
5–6 pm • Old Fire Station
FILM
A Dream to Change the World: A Tribute to John La Rose, dir. Horace Ové, CBE
A documentary about the life of the late John La Rose, poet, essayist, publisher, trade unionist, cultural and political activist, and founder of New Beacon Books and chairman of the George Padmore Institute in London
5–7 pm • AV Room
BOCAS HENRY SWANZY AWARD
The presentation of the inaugural Bocas Swanzy Award, recognising distinguished service to Caribbean letters, to John La Rose (posthumously) and Sarah White of New Beacon Books
7–8.30 pm • AV Room

Special LiTTour to Celebrate Port of Spain

Posted on

Special LiTTour to Celebrate Port of Spain

 A special tour of Port of Spain through the eyes of award winning fictional writers and famous characters fiction will be offered to citizens and visitor to Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday April 27, 2013.  Booking Form LiTTour April 27 2013. Deadline April 25: 2013

The LiTTour is an offspring  of the critically acclaimed LiTTscapes – Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago by Dr Kris Rampersad.
It will celebrate Port of Spain as a creative city like no other. It takes place on Saturday April 27, 2013 from 8 am by prebookings only, leaving from the South Quay compounds of the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC).
 This LiTTour is a special collaboration with PTSC’s Know Your Country Tours to expose the capital city as seen through the eyes of authors in its raw, real and pulsating states as one of the most creative cities in the world, of Trinidad and Tobago.
We hope to renew and heighten appreciation of our capital and understanding of the literary and creative imaginations that have been representing and reflecting us, and our city: our landscapes and our lifestyles; our institutions, our cultural life, our politics, our architecture. We hope such appreciation can defray violent and negative practices that misrepresent who we are as a people and encourage young people into creative activity and away from lives in crime.
The LiTTour will be free to persons who between now and April 25, 2013, purchase, a copy of LiTTscapes – Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago. For details contact 1-868-377-0326; email lolleaves@gmail.com and visit:www.kris-rampersad.blogspot.com.

LiTTscapes describes through descriptions and photographs how some 60 writers in more than 100 works have portrayed Trinidad and Tobago in literature from as early as 1595 to present day. It is designed by Sonja Wong. Head of the Guyana Prize for Literature, Professor Al Creighton described LiTTscapes as a work of art; a documentary, a travelogue, a critical work with visual and literary power. It takes us on a tour of the country, giving some exposure to almost every aspect of life, at the same time exploring the literature to indicate how the writers treat the subjects, what they or their fictional characters say, and how they are used in the plots. Photographs are accompanied by the descriptions and literary excerpts of the capital city, other towns, streets, urban communities, villages, historic buildings and places, vegetation, animals, institutions, culture and landscape. There is considerable visual beauty, what Derek Walcott calls “visual surprise”.

In conjunction with LiTTscapes and LiTTours, launched last August, we has also introduced LiTTributes – events in tribute to Caribbean cultures and creativity which have to date been staged in Guyana, Antigua and Trinidad and Tobago and soon in the UK and USA. They are meant to promote literacy, creativity and interactive appreciation of the global multicultural milieu Trinidad and Tobago.

Customade LiTTributes and LiTTours based on district, theme or body of literature are available on request.

For details contact 1-868-377-0326; email lolleaves@gmail.com and visit:www.kris-rampersad.blogspot.com; https://www.facebook.com/kris.rampersad1; https://sites.google.com/site/krisrampersadglobal/; http://caribbeanliterarysalon.ning.com.
Booking Form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1m5OdAF9aek29CLOfVp8xgkNc9kJtFAgjXm7I_jMQ-gk/viewform

State of Heritage measured in $

Posted on

Revolution through reading /saving the magnificent seven We as citizens who pass by the Magnificent Seven everyday; we have even have stopped noticing them, or their magnificence, because they conjure up only a lament – not just the painful past of colonialism, but the sad testimony of the state – or lack thereof, of our development; to disguise our pain that we have allowed them to deteriorate into oblivion. But are we not all responsible in some way for this – it’s not just someone elses’ fault. It has to start with what am I not doing?  Excerpt from speech at launch of LiTTscapes:

So … giving us a chance to show what can be done if we open up these buildings to the public to capture the creative synergies they can exude, so our people can appreciate them as part of the public patrimony; as part of the inheritance of the blood, sweat and tears of history, and of our spirit of survivalism that neither slavery nor indentureship nor alien rule could defeat….

Trinidad and Tobago’s Newsday : newsday.co.tt :

Millions to fix ‘Magnificent Nine’

By Miranda La Rose Thursday, February 7 2013
click on pic to zoom in
HUNDREDS of millions of dollars are needed to preserve the historical “Magnificent Nine” and other architectural heritage in Port-of-Spain, and a sustainable way has to be found for their restoration and maintenance.
Of particular interest, following Monday’s announcement by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar of Justice Anthony Carmona as the Government’s nominee to be this country’s fifth President, will be the repairs which need to be done on President’s House in St Ann’s.

Incumbent President George Maxwell Richards, who demits office on March 17, has lived in the nearby Presidential Cottage and not President’s House. Shortly after the People’s Partnership Government assumed office in May 2010, then Works and Transport (now National Security) Minister Jack Warner promised to repair President’s House so Richards might reside there before his term expired this year. Persad-Bissessar even offered the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s as a possible residence for Richards but the President declined that offer.

“This will have to involve Government, and private partnerships including the churches. The State alone, will not be able to bear the costs,” Minister of Tourism Stephen Cadiz said during a tour of the century-old Magnificent Nine buildings that faces the Queen’s Park Savannah (QPS) on last Wednesday.

“Restoration is not just only about tourism. It is about the country’s history and heritage. For too long we have overlooked that. We have allowed a number of heritage buildings – whether it was old residences, or, Government buildings like the Red House to go into a serious state of disrepair.” When the buildings are restored, Cadiz said, “they must be part of a museum infrastructure.”

Initially only seven of the buildings Stollmeyer’s House also known as “Killarney”, Whitehall, Archbishop’s House, Ambard’s House also called “Roomer”, Mille Fleurs also known as “Prada House”, Hayes Court and Queen’s Royal College were referred to as the “Magnificent Seven” of Port-of-Spain. In recent years the National Trust added the President’s House also found in the vicinity of the QPS and Red House — the official seat of Government in downtown Port–of-Spain to the list of magnificent buildings referring to the nine as the “Magnificent Nine of Port-of-Spain.”

With the exception of President’s House, originally known as Government House built in 1844, and Red House – the foundation of which was laid in 1844, the others were built in or around 1904. They are all European-designed with distinct works of art that include stained windows, imported materials including limestone, marble and wood from Barbados, Europe and Guyana blended with local materials that have braved the elements over the years.

While Knowsley Building, and Boissierre House (also called the Gingerbread House) are found in close proximity to the Magnificent Seven, and are not listed among the Magnificent Buildings, the National Trust has listed them as important architectural heritage. Knowsley building is State-owned and is one of the better kept buildings, however, Boissiere is privately-owned and is currently in a state of disrepair. According to the National Trust the first Prime Minister Dr Eric Williams’ grandmother, worked with the Boissiere family. The National Trust has identified a total of 341 heritage buildings countrywide for preservation.

Of the Magnificent Buildings, Cadiz said, “These are high maintenance buildings, designed and built since 1904. There is going to be constant work and funds required in keeping them up.”

At Queen’s Royal College, Principal Lennard Hinkson said that a unique way has been found to assist in the preservation of the oldest part of the school complex..

“The first formers were placed on the ground floor of this building deliberately,” he said, “because they are the most innocent and they will take care of it. The sixth formers are the most matured and they too will take care of it.” The forms in between are placed in newer parts of the school buildings.

Though the oldest block looks well kept, Hinkson said that it was in need of repairs.

“Sadly, my many letters and phone calls to the Ministry of Works,” he said have not been responded to.

Hayes Court is owned by the Anglican Church. It is the official residence of the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of TT, but Bishop Claude Berkeley does not live there because it is in a state of disrepair.

During the tour Berkeley appealed to the touring team (that included representatives from the Ministries of Tourism, Works, Arts and Multiculturalism, and the National Trust) to make representation on his behalf for assistance from the State to have Hayes Court restored to its former glory. In 2009, a structural survey revealed that some $25 million was needed for its restoration.

In the past, he said the church had been told that it was private property.

At present, Berkeley said that a dilapidation survey was being done to determine the priority needs, and a committee was in place seeking funds to begin restoration works. Berkeley has a home in Tobago and has to commute regularly to Trinidad. “We hope to correct that in the not too distant future to continue the work begun here over 200 hundred years ago,” he said.

Mille Fleurs is among the most dilapidated of the buildings around the QPS. “It has been left without repairs for too long,” Cadiz said noting that “Udecott (Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago) will conduct a structural survey of Mille Fleurs, then we will know what to do. It can be salvaged and in the short space of time we will see Mille Fleurs return to its original magnificence.”

Ambard’s House is privately-owned by the Roodals family and is also in dire need of repairs.

Stollmeyers Castle, now owned by the State is under repairs. Work began in March 2010 and is due for completion in March this year once funding is released on time Udecott officials on site told Newsday. Once restoration is complete it will be handed over to the Ministry of Works.

Tenders to contractors for the restoration of the nearby Whitehall, first official office of Prime Minister Eric Williams are due for advertising during the first quarter of this year. Some work had been done on it in recent years, but according to a Udecott official that work “was compromised.”

The Archbishop’s House, residence of the Head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of TT, is fairly well kept. In 1968, $147,000 was raised to carry out major repairs on the buildings. It is currently the home of Archbishop Joseph Harris.

The President’s House is also due for restorative works. In May 2010 a section of the roof of the President’s House caved in 2010. During this fiscal year’s budget debate in October 2012, Works Minister Emmanuel George announced that funding was allocated for the repairs to the President’s residence. Construction is yet to begin.

Applauding the tour, Michelle Celestine, spokesperson of Save the Magnificent Seven, a sub-group of the Citizens for Conservation (CC) told Newsday it was time that Government pay some interest in the buildings. “Government after government have sat by and let them fall into disrepair. It is a disgrace that in (TT) we have tourists seeing the buildings – works of art and beauty, constructed by skilled nationals, falling apart.”

Once restored, she said, “they could be put to meaningful purposes, as art galleries, and museums. They will create jobs and places of interest in our capital city.”