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Minister: Minor repairs keeping back South NAPA opening

By Sue-Ann Wayow

THE delay in opening the National Academy for Performing Arts (NAPA) South Campus, is the result of minor infrastructure problems.

This according to Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism, Dr Lincoln Douglas, who toured the site yesterday. He said the campus would be opened soon.

Douglas visited the facility at the corner of Todd Street and Rienzi-Kirton Highway, with San Fernando Mayor Navi Muradali.

He told reporters, "I am pushing very hard that between our Republic celebrations and our (50th) Independence, we will have the opening of NAPA. I don't want to give you all an exact date."

Muradali, in response to Douglas's remarks, said "The city of San Fernando would love to have NAPA South Campus opened as an Independence gift to the people of the city of San Fernando and the nation."

Douglas said the Shanghai Construction Group, the Chinese firm responsible for the construction of the building, handed over responsibility for the facility to the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT) several weeks ago.

He said there "were a number of things to be fixed" and work was now being done. 

He said the additional work was being done to prevent problems similar to those at NAPA's campus in Port of Spain.

Some of the issues included proper stage flooring and lighting, he said.

Douglas said, "All the moving parts and various segments of the building, they are minor infractions that could be big things for the performers themselves. Those are the kind of things we are trying to rectify."

He said a contracting and engineering company was hired by the ministry to check the electrical and physical aspects of the building and a report was submitted last Friday.

He said a team consisting of several people from different committees was also formed to "set a timetable for the official and formal opening".

Another team was formed to make recommendations concerning management and staffing of the facility, bookings and pricing, as well as to plan what Douglas called a "soft opening".

The teams were given two weeks to submit their first report. Douglas said a tentative date would be set for the opening and that would depend on the completion of the work of the teams.

A "soft opening" means that prior to the official opening, events would be held at NAPA South.

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