What started off as a renovation project of an old post office has ended up as the region’s first building of its kind and is the new multimillion dollar home of the Division of Finance and Enterprise Development.
The Victor E Bruce Financial Complex, named after Tobago son and the first local Central Bank Governor, is a green building and opened Monday (June 18).
“The project started at $28 million and is now $103 million plus,” Managing Director of HL Construction Heron Lewis said. “It went from a one story or a story and a half building, which was priced or estimated at $28 million dollars. You are now seeing, standing out there a project that is at least six times the size and five stories up.”
Construction of the financial complex began in 2005 and was done by HL Construction. “There were issues, there were challenges, which we had to deal with,” Lewis said. “If you can recall, the project started very simply. The old post office that was supposed to be renovated.”
The new home of the Division of Finance and Enterprise Development is located in Market Square, Scarborough. The Division’s staff previously worked from three locations, including Glenn Road.
“It’s a green building and it’s the first of its kind in the Eastern Caribbean” Lewis said. “I will like the end users to take care of the building, cherish it, treat it as it is your home, because it will be your home as long as you are here” he said.
THA Chief Secretary Orville London urged Tobagonians to take pride in themselves and what they have achieved. “We’re not just providing a workplace which meets the minimum requirements. We’re supplying a workplace for maximum productivity and optimum delivery,” he said.
He told those in attendance that the complex was about developing Tobago in a special kind of way. “This is not just about developing the building. It’s about developing the people.”
London said Tobagonians had to develop in their own space. “What happens to the people of Tobago will depend on the people of Tobago.”
He referred to the name of the building and what it symbolised. “I want you to remember the quality of the man whose name is on the building,” London said.
Secretary of Finance, Dr. Anselm London, said the “structure is a symbol of the perseverance and strength of the Tobago spirit.” The project received less than 20 percent of its parliamentary allocation from the Central Government. Dr. London told those in attendance the project “is a testimony to the special people that we are in Tobago and our capacity to overcome.”
Secretary of the Division of Infrastructure and Public Utilities Hilton Sandy said “This could not have happened at a better time, now that we are celebrating 50 years of independence and 30 years of the Tobago House of Assembly.” Sandy said the project was the largest building ever built by an administration in Tobago and was a result of “prudent financial management.”
“All of us should be justly proud,” he said as the audience applauded.
The amenities of the complex include a sick bay should any member of staff become ill and a supervised study room for children of staff members to receive help with their homework after school while their parents work. The Division of Finance and Enterprise Development has 250 staff members and 10 departments that will now operate from the new complex.