The Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) Government says it has secured additional funding to enable it to construct the new building for Parliament later in the year.
Addressing a recent sitting of the Senate, Leader of Government Business, Kenny Lalsingh informed the house that Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Business, Nickolas Steele was successful in securing the $3 million dollars that was needed to construct a permanent facility for the country’s Parliament.
“Our Foreign Affairs minister has been able to secure possible funding for the Parliament building … the project that sat there waiting on additional funding”, said Lalsingh who added that, “very soon we will have the additional funding so that the project can be started”.
Lalsingh did not say who was supplying the money.
The New Today contacted Clerk of Parliament, Raphael Donald who indicated that the NNP administration has “a solid pledge” of some $3 million for the Parliament project but indicated that he did not know the source of the funds.
The former Congress administration of Tillman Thomas also announced while in office that it had received a commitment of $US 2 million from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the Parliament building project.
Grenada’s original Parliament building located at York House in the town of St George was destroyed during the passage of Hurricane Ivan in September 2004.
Since its destruction, the Grenada Trade Centre at Morne Rouge has been used to facilitate meetings of Parliament.
The previous NNP government of Dr. Mitchell, which demitted office in 2008, and the subsequent government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have both given commitments to secure funds to restore the dilapidated facility for government’s use and to construct a modern building to house Parliament.
In the 2011 Budget Presentation, Finance Minister Nazim Burke told the nation that, “the preparatory works will continue having received re-assurances from the Government of Australia that it is still committed to provide US$5 million for this project.”
In the 2012 Budget Presentation, Burke announced the signing of a grant agreement between the Government of Grenada and Australia with the receiving funds slightly higher.
“Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to note that the grant agreement between Australia and Grenada for A$5.2 million was signed by our Prime Minister in January of this year. This sum will go a long way to finance the new parliament, which is estimated to cost US$7.5 million. Government is actively pursuing additional grant financing for the entire project cost.”
In the 2013 Budget, new Prime Minister Mitchell in his capacity as Finance Minister told the nation that the new building to house the Grenada Parliament “will cost appropriately $30 million and be funded with significant grant assistance from the Government of Australia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) … “
In October 2012, the Caribbean Office of Cooperates Architecture (COCOA) was awarded the contract for the designing of the New Grenada House of Parliament building.
The next steps towards the realisation of Parliament Building would be the completion of the designs then the short-listing of contractors, tender submissions by the contractors and the contract award.
Construction is anticipated to start by the end of the second quarter of this year.
The site for the new Grenada House of Parliament building will be at the Governor General’s Property at Mt. Wheldale.
During the sitting of the Senate, Lalsingh also addressed the construction of the Bus terminal of the Greater Grenville project.
He claimed that the project has halted due to “unnecessary” interference from the administration of former Prime Minister Thomas.
“Mr. President, first phase has been completed, the second phase should have started and we are told by the CDB (Caribbean Development Bank) that we cannot access the loan right at this point in time because of two reasons, one is that government was defaulting….”, he said.
“… We have started taking care of that aspect, secondly it takes a process to take place so that we can access the funds and we are doing just that. Grenville needs the bus terminal, so, Mr. President, we would have to make a decision as to what exactly we will do in respect to the bus terminal.
“It’s very clear that if a project is on and we must never let that happen, and it is interfered with unnecessarily, you will have delays and so like the Grenville market and the bus terminal, these projects should have (been) completed three years ago.
“The Grenville market will be completed shortly, but the bus terminal, we have to access funds for the second phase. The Abattoir is almost completed, and soon the two members would travel to St. Kitts for the necessary training so that they can operate the abattoir and maintain it properly”, Lalsingh said.