San Fernando mayor defends $1m spent to refurbish council chamber

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Newly refurbished San Fernando City Hall – Photo by Lincoln Holder

San Fernando mayor Junia Regrello has defended the $1 million-plus spent on refurbishing City Hall.

During a cocktail reception on Wednesday evening, when Archdeacon Edwin Primus blessed the restored council chamber, Regrello said the building, which dates from 1931, is important to the people of San Fernando, and sometimes it is not the money that matters, but the value. He said it was money well spent.

He compared San Fernando and Port of Spain, saying the capital has the Red House, Whitehall and the rest of the Magnificent Seven, plus other historic buildings.

“We have very little in San Fernando. This is all we have. This is very special to us.”

San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello, shows off a 200-year-old bell on display at the newly refurbished chamber at City Hall. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

Noting the criticism that too much had been spent, he recalled when he took office in 2016 the upper floor of the building was termite-infested, the walls were falling down, the roof was leaking and under the carpet, the wooden floors were also termite-infested.

“We had to make some decisions –and thanks to council members for understanding the vision and investing in this –we went through the process, which took some time.

“We persevered, and today we celebrate the refurbishment of the council chamber. “

He said it was the first major overhaul since the building was constructed.

“We have invested well, and this is something San Fernando can be proud of. Sometimes it is not about money, it is about value.”

San Fernando City Councillors took their seats in the newly refurbished Chamber during a media tour of the facility. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

Referring to the construction of a wall around the building before the start of its interior, Regrello said it was the first step to protect the people who work there.

He recalled the storming of the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 by insurrectionists, “who almost assassinated a whole council (sic).

“Last Christmas, a young man seeking employment walked straight into my office and threatened me about employment.

“We need some form of protection. It would take nothing in this crazy time we live in, for some madman to walk into City Hall and get rid of the entire council because we made decisions that did not favour him or her.

“We have a responsibility to protect ourselves, and this is the first step.”