HOUSING Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal said yesterday Government cannot complete the outfitting of One Alexandra Street in Woodbrook because of difficulties acquiring approvals from the relevant building authorities.
Moonilal said a Cabinet decision to lease the property, which had been leased by the previously sitting People’s National Movement (PNM) government for $866,000 per month for five years, came in 2010 just before the last general election and after the State had taken possession of it.
The draft lease submitted by the owner, NJ Nahous Investment Ltd, stated the company had been “dealing” with party Public Relations Officer and PNM current senator Faris Al-Rawi, Moonilal said.
Government was criticised earlier this year for paying close to $1 million in rent on the empty building, an agreement to which it remains obligated until November of this year.
“We have had problems with outfitting that Mr Speaker because of the delay in approvals,” Moonilal said, shortly before the House took an early tea-break to take in the World Cup match between Brazil and Colombia.
Moonilal said the Ministry of Local Government had at the time of the acquisition expressed “serous reservations” about the transaction.