Big bill for building lease

BIG MONTHLY BILL: The Ministry of National Security building along Mucurapo Road, St. James, which houses offices of the Citizen Security Programme
BIG MONTHLY BILL: The Ministry of National Security building along Mucurapo Road, St. James, which houses offices of the Citizen Security Programme

PORT OF SPAIN – Cabinet agreed on December 30, 2010 to rent a building from Jack Warner’s son, Daryan, to accommodate the Ministry of National Security Citizen Programme.

Warner, who was at the time works and transport minister, subsequently became national security minister.

Warner resigned from Cabinet in April and is now Chaguanas West MP and interim political leader of the Independent Liberal Party.

The building, inclusive of 24 car parking spaces, is located at 63A Mucurapo Road, St. James, and owned by DW Property Holdings, of which Daryan is the president.

The lease/rental agreement is for a period of three years at a monthly cost of $95,738.95 plus VAT of $14,360.84.

Negotiations for the lease/rental of the building had started under the former People’s National Movement administration and continued when the People’s Partnership Government assumed office in May, 2010. It ends in December, 2013.

The decision for lease/rental of the building was taken on December 30, 2010 by way of Cabinet Minute No 1874 (2nd session) of December 20, 2010.

It was headed: “Lease/Rental of the Building located at No 63A Mucurapo Road, St. James to accommodate the Ministry of National Security.”

At the time, Brigadier John Sandy, who is now the Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to the United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland held the national security portfolio.

He was sacked on June 22, 2012 and replaced by Warner.

According to the Cabinet Minute, the decision was subject to the receipt of the report of Chief Designs Engineer of the Ministry of Works and Transport, the same ministry Warner headed.

The Commissioner of Valuations initially classified the building in the executive value range at the sum of $94,000 plus VAT of $14,000.

The price was estimated at $11.78 per square foot as average rental for office buildings in the Diego Martin/St. James area range from $10 to $12.

The Commissioner of Valuations, in a February 22, 2010 letter sent to Permanent Secretary Sophia De Souza at the Public Administration Ministry, stated: “Please be advised that a re-calculation was done and a revised monthly rent of $94,000 represents a fair estimate of the current market rent of the subject premises comprising 742.14 square metres of office accommodation.

“Please be advised that the monthly rent above includes an amount allocated for the entertainment area on the rooftop, but this has not been included in the area as it is not office accommodation, as well as reserved parking for 24 cars.”

Subsequently an independent valuation was sought.

Quantity surveyors Brent Augustus & Associates Ltd was approached and the fair estimate of the current open market rental was valued at $150,000 plus VAT $22,500.

However, following protracted negotiations between Daryan Warner and Property and Real Estate Services Division, it was agreed that the sum of $95,738.95 plus VAT of $14,360.84 would be accepted for lease/rental of the building.

Attempts to get a comment from Warner and Daryan went unanswered yesterday. (Express)

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