Govern­ment to seek Di­as­pora fund­ing for Par­lia­ment build­ing

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Paul Clarke/Gleaner Writer

PRIME MIN­IS­TER Andrew Hol­ness yes­ter­day in­di­cated that he would be turn­ing to the Di­as­pora to help fi­nance the con­struc­tion of a new Par­lia­ment build­ing at Na­tional He­roes Circle in Kingston.

Hol­ness, who was ad­dress­ing the of­fi­cial launch of the Houses of Par­lia­ment De­sign Com­pe­ti­tion in Kingston yes­ter­day, said that tapping into the Di­as­pora could be an ap­pro­pri­ate way to bring over­seas Ja­maicans into the “creation of the sov­er­eign build­ing”.

“When we think about Ja­maica now, we must think about Ja­maicans liv­ing ev­ery­where. We have to find a way to fi­nance it (new Par­lia­ment build­ing), and I be­lieve that is a way in which we could in­cor­po­rate the Di­as­pora,” said Hol­ness.

Renowned Ja­maican-born ar­chi­tect Gor­don Gill was se­lected as pa­tron for the com­pe­ti­tion to de­sign the new Par­lia­ment build­ing. Gill heads an ar­chi­tec­ture and de­sign firm in Chicago, Illi­nois, and is re­spon­si­ble for the de­sign of a num­ber of breath­tak­ing build­ings, in­clud­ing the FKI Tower in Seoul, South Korea; the Bei­jing Wal­dorf As­to­ria in China; and the Jed­dah Tower in Saudi Ara­bia.

Hol­ness called the de­vel­op­ment “his­toric and trans­for­ma­tional”, not­ing that dis­cus­sions about a new Par­lia­ment build­ing had been on the ta­ble for more than 50 years and rea­soned that “this is the far­thest we have pushed the nee­dle in 60 years”.

“There is no doubt that this Houses of Par­lia­ment De­sign Com­pe­ti­tion will stir na­tional pride among the ar­chi­tects who will be en­ter­ing the com­pe­ti­tion. I am also sure that the com­pe­ti­tion will give up­com­ing ar­chi­tects the im­pe­tus to be the best, whether cur­rently study­ing or look­ing to start the jour­ney,” said Hol­ness.

“Let me take this op­por­tu­nity to give you an even bet­ter con­text and per­spec­tive. Ja­maica has not had a pur­pose-built,

de­signed Par­lia­ment build­ing in the 52 years of its po­lit­i­cal in­de­pen­dence,” the PM said.

Giv­ing a his­tor­i­cal con­text to his state­ment, Hol­ness said that at the time of In­de­pen­dence in 1962, the coun­try’s leg­is­la­tors moved out of the Head­quar­ters house, which was then the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly build­ing, lo­cated on Duke Street, and into the newly con­structed Gor­don House, which was ad­ja­cent.

“But Gor­don House was de­signed and built for meet­ings of the Mu­nic­i­pal Coun­cil ... . So, ac­tu­ally, Ja­maica’s Par­lia­ment is res­i­dent in the par­ish coun­cil build­ing. Let that sink in,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to Hol­ness, the idea of con­struct­ing govern­ment of­fices at He­roes Circle be­longed to Nor­man Manley, who was Ja­maica’s Premier in the 1950s. Manley out­lined plans in the King Ge­orge VI Me­mo­rial Park Act, which states in Clause 7 (1) that “the Min­is­ter, af­ter con­sul­ta­tion with the Coun­cil of Kingston and St Andrew Cor­po­ra­tion, may by or­der pub­lished in the Gazette de­clare any land in the Park to be vested in the Com­mis­sioner of Lands, to be used for the con­struc­tion of par­lia­ment build­ings and such ad­min­is­tra­tive and other build­ings as the Min­is­ter may con­sider nec­es­sary, and such land shall vest in the com­mis­sioner of lands by virtue of this sec­tion and the pro­vi­sions of the or­der and with­out fur­ther as­sur­ance”.


Speak­ing at yes­ter­day’s cer­e­mony, Suzette Adams Rickards, the Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion’s (UDC) project ar­chi­tect, said that she had been in­spired by the pos­si­bil­ity of a project of this cal­i­bre and na­ture de­spite the spir­ited dis­cus­sion sur­round­ing it.

“In the end, Ja­maica will have its own Houses of Par­lia­ment, con­ceived, de­signed, and built by Ja­maicans. This should be a proud and defin­ing mo­ment in any ar­chi­tect’s career,” she said.

The de­sign com­pe­ti­tion will have two phases. Stage one is the launch and invitation to ar­chi­tects. At the end of this phase, the top five sub­mis­sions will move on to the sec­ond phase, pock­et­ing $2 mil­lion each.

The ar­chi­tect se­lected to be the win­ner of the sec­ond phase will re­ceive an ad­di­tional $5 mil­lion, with sec­ond-place win­ner tak­ing home $4 mil­lion. The ar­chi­tect se­lected in third place will re­ceive $3 mil­lion.

The Houses of Par­lia­ment De­sign Com­pe­ti­tion and the de­vel­op­ment of the Govern­ment oval project is be­ing im­ple­mented by the UDC.


Yal­lahs Pri­mary School stu­dents Lata­nia Lawrence (left) and Kristine Gor­don play a game af­ter the for­mal­i­ties were con­cluded at the of­fi­cial launch of the Houses of Par­lia­ment De­sign Com­pe­ti­tion held at the Na­tional He­roes Cir­cle in Kingston, yes­ter­day.


Prime Min­is­ter An­drew Hol­ness signs the un­veiled poster of the Houses of Par­lia­ment De­sign Com­pe­ti­tion. Look­ing on is Min­is­ter of Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ho­race Chang (left) at the of­fi­cial launch of the com­pe­ti­tion held at Na­tional He­roes Cir­cle in Kingston...

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