Trinidad and Tobago ongoing restoration of its heritage sites has been a long and expensive process, but the recent revival of these national buildings has been met with both praise and criticism.
The rehabilitation of the Red House (the traditional seat of the country's parliament), for example, and Mille Fleurs, which is one in the row of Magnificent Seven buildings bordering Port of Spain's Queen's Park Savannah, have taken years to complete. The works to the Red House have the longest time frame — 20 years in the making.
The extended time frame is due, in part, to the massive scope of the projects, and the fact that some sites have been neglected to the brink of demolition. The Red House was reportedly in such a poor state that restoration was the only alternative.
Many of the projects remained in the planning stages under various political administrations. It is only within the last five years that the necessary funding was committed and work was able to begin.
Some of the sites that have benefitted from this restoration thrust include Killarney (also known as Stollmeyer’s Castle), Whitehall (also called Rosenweg) and the President's House.
At a Ministry of Finance function in October 2019, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley told the audience that not only did the buildings need to be saved because of their relevance to the country's history, but that the construction work that was being carried out created employment as well.