Charlestown, Nevis – ‘Damaged but not destroyed.’ That was the expression used by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Colin Dore as he chaired the official opening ceremony for the new Treasury Building. The brief but impressive ceremony was held in front of the impressive building, on the afternoon of Thursday 30th January.
The chief coordinator of the restorative project warmly welcomed all present and also gave an overview of the project. The former Treasury building was burnt to the ground, in the early hours of January 17th, 2014. He noted that a total of 11.2 million dollars was used in creating the new building.
Deputy Comptroller at the Inland Revenue Department, Mrs. Neva Manners-Limonta, in giving brief remarks, referred to a call she received during the early hours of the day of the fire. It was her boss, Mr. Dore, at the other end of the line, as he shared the sad news, her workplace was on fire. She did not hide her emotions of elation, on the significant day, when the new building was being commissioned.
‘This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!’ she exulted.
Chairperson of the SIDF fund, Dr. Robertine Chaderton, expressed her joy at the eventual outcome and noted that her agency had contributed to the Nevis Island Administration, 6.5 million dollars towards the completion of the building. She also pointed to other significant sums given by her institution, to fund several other major projects in Nevis.
Premier of Nevis, Hon. Mark Brantley, in his remarks, noted despite the fact that there were several major players involved in the creation of the building, he wanted to single out two: Hon. Vance Amory, former Premier of Nevis, for his insightful vision and Mr. Colin Dore, who led out in making the project reality.
Hon. Vance Amory also gave a brief overview of his initial dealings in restoring the building to the same site. He stated that he is convinced ‘that the fire that destroyed the treasury was an act of treachery’
He related to several dicey meetings with the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society and explained that they wanted a vacant space left where the old building was burnt and they further insisted on certain specific architectural designs, in keeping with the general architecture of Charlestown. He, however, noted that there were already enough spaces in Charlestown and so the building was created on the original site and he further stated that the building has certain features of the general Charlestown outlook, but not in totality.
Premier Amory also referred to an approach to the Nevis Credit Union with what he considered to be a ‘reasonable offer’ for rental space and his administration was turned down, as the Board at that institution, asked for more. He thanked Mrs. Albertine Pinney and Mr. Oscar Walters and the Horsfords group of companies, for providing rental space for the stranded workers, in the interim.
He opined that the new building was definitely not the reason why the proposed Charlestown world heritage project was not approved.
The vote of thanks was delivered by Mrs. Marcia David, Treasurer. The building was officially blessed by Rev. Christopher Archibald and the ribbon was cut by Her Honour, Deputy Governor-General, Mrs. Hyleta Liburd. A plaque was unveiled by Premier Mark Brantley.
The sizeable audience was then treated to a tour of the building.