Ongoing restoration work at the Red House, Port of Spain may have to be suspended pending an official report on the discovery of bones and artefacts found in the foundations of the building, a UDeCOTT source has said.
One week ago a number of bones and Amerindian artefacts were found at a depth of seven feet in two foundation pits at the building. The Express learned that Dr Valery Alexandrov of the Forensic Science Centre has confirmed that the bones are similar to human bones, but he was not in a position to confirm whether they were Amerindian or otherwise.
Arrangements are being made to send the bones to France for further analysis. Some of the bones found resembled jaw bones with teeth, as well as bones in the lower region of the human body.
Meanwhile archaeologist Peter Harris has confirmed that the receptacles found in the pits are similar to those used by the Amerindian. Further investigations as to the origin are also under way by a team from the University of Trinidad and Tobago.
In order to carry out the necessary restoration work on the Red House, the Parliament building had to be moved to Tower D, International Waterfront Centre, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain while work is in progress.
The existing building is the second to be erected on the same spot. The first was in 1844 and the second in 1907.
The Express learnt that during construction in 1844 land fill from nearby Laventille was used in the foundation. “That is the first lead we have concerning the discovery,” said a source.
History of renovations
In 2011, the People’s Partnership Government announced that taxpayers had spent over $200 million over an eight-year period on the restoration of the historic building. During that period the project was managed by the National Insurance Property Development Company (Nipdec).
In 2012, Government announced that it would have to spend an additional $200 million to complete the restoration, bringing the figure to half a billion when work is completed in 2015. Ad-hoc renovations over the years had led to a number of problems which included modifications of the original design, leaking roofs, insect infestation and deterioration of the original structure.
The restoration led to Parliament being relocated from the historic location at the heart of the city to Tower D, International Waterfront Centre, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain in September 2011.